Congressional elections.

The Congress of the United States is composed of two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate represents the states and the House represents the population according to its distribution among the states. Each state is guaranteed at least one representative in the House. The remainder are apportioned among the states according the population. There is now, roughly, one representative for every 380000 people, but no two congressional districts have exactly the same population.

The Senate of the United States is composed of one hundred members, two being elected from each state. Senators are chosen for six years, one-third retiring or seeking re-election every two years. Two senators from the same state never finish their terms at the same time, one of them called “Senior Senator” and the other — “Junior Senator”. Theoretically all citizens of both sexes over 21 years of age have the right to vote, but in fact this is not so.

An estimate of the number of American legally barred from voting by the residence laws based on 1960 Census figures on population mobility, indicates that 5.4 million, or five per cent of adult Americans were unable to vote in 1960 because the residence requirements in some states the payment of taxes (called “poll-taxes”) is necessary for getting the right to vote. In some southern states voters are required to give a reasonable explanation of what they read. In some states the ability to read (usually an extract from the Constitution) is required. In Alabama the voter must take an “anti-Communist oath” and fill in a questionnaire to the satisfaction of the registers. As a result of this millions of people are deprived the right to vote. At the same time it is well known that Americans are less disposed to exercise their right to vote than just about any other nation. The percentage of voters in the potential electorate (the adult citizenry) is about sixty-five per cent. One of reasons for nonvoting, is the two-party system. In the United States there are two major bourgeois political parties, the Democratic and the Republican (also called G.O.P. — “the Grand Old Party”). Both of them represent the interests of monopoly capitalists and there is no clear-curt difference between the two parties, between their policies and their party machines, but there is a difference between their bosses and their rank and file members, common people who lacking a third choice have to vote either Democratic or Republican. For many years, the mainstay of the Republican Party was a block of industrialists and financiers of the Northeast and midwestern farmers. The membership of the Democratic Party was no less curious, for two of its most important components were southern landowners and northern industrial workers — two factions apparently irreconcilable because of differing economic and social objectives.

The area in which one lives is still considered an important factor in determining one’s vote, though sectionalism appears to be of decreasing importance. Until recent years, the South was “solid” for the Democrats, while New England was “rock-ribbed” for the Republicans.

The great cities of the United States show a strong tendency to vote Democratic while suburban areas have become Republican bastions in many parts of the nation.

Blue-collar workers and racial minority groups are concentrated in cities. Since this groups tend to vote Democratic, the party they support has great strength in cities. On other hand, those who belong to the high-income groups and usually vote Republican are concentrated in suburban areas.

The party machines of both Republican and Democratic parties are run by party bosses closely associated with different monopoly groups and these two main political parties in the USA are parties of the monopoly capitalists. The Republican and Democratic parties have monopolized political life in the USA. Their monopoly of political power creates difficulties in the struggle for democracy. While the reactionary groups operate easily within each of this two main parties of capitalism, promoting their interests, the working class and the mass movements are denied such an opportunity. This is especially felt in the elections. The American big business and progressive forces in the country and isolate the Communist Party.

The Communist Party of the USA was denied its rights as a political party by legal and extralegal means. Anti-Communist “loyalty oaths” by candidates required by some state laws were used as an additional against the Communist Party and other progressive organizations. Because of the bipartisan system of the elections the majority of the nation, its working class, poor farmers and seasonal workers have no other choice but to vote either for the Democrats or the Republicans. Though major sections of the working class, the Black people and other popular forces, still remain in the political grip of the Democratic Party, there is little doubt that many voters see nothing to choose between the Tweedledeeism of the Democrats and the Tweedledeeism of the Republicans. Lacking a third choice, they fail to choose at all. The central objective towards which all forces of the Left are striving is an independent electoral policy, and the Communist Party of the USA calls for united effort of labour membership, civil rights movement, advocates of peace, so that they could present meaningful alternatives to labour and minority of their needs and interests.


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