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It's the election...

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One year from this week, a president will be inaugurated on the cold, blustery steps of the U.S.Capitol. With this issue, we're beginning a campaign to do everything within our power to see that it isn't George W. Bush. And we're asking for your help.

The reasons are painfully clear: an unnecessary war and poorly conceived occupation sold with cynical lies in the name of fighting terrorism; a radical foreign policy based on the unilateral projection of force that taunts the rest of the world and inspires antipathy, not cooperation; an economic policy that rolls up humongous debt by reducing taxes on the rich while creating multinational profits, not jobs at home; an environmental policy that is frightening in its relentless reduction of protections for the benefit of industrial interests; an assault on civil liberties that threatens the most fundamental constitutional rights; a social policy that systematically eliminates services that allow people to help themselves; an education policy that threatens to destabilize public schools; and on and on.

It will not be an easy fight. The Bush machine has raised hundreds of millions of dollars from those whose financial interests it has vowed to protect. He has shamelessly changed the rules in Iraq so that an American withdrawal before the election will likely precede any of the democratic goals the administration set out to accomplish, leaving Halliburton in place but not foreign help to see through what we started. And he has created a jobless economic recovery that will give some voters false hope.

Despite all that, the race will be tight--half the country still doesn't want George W. Bush to be president, just as that many (or more) didn't want him elected in the first place. And that's where we--and you--come in.

It's too soon to tell who the Democratic opposition to Bush will be. But there's only one way that candidate has a chance to win, and that's by attracting people who don't ordinarily vote, who have traditionally ignored the process out of disgust or despair. We need to help convince them that this time they matter, and the result will make a difference in their lives.

Much has been made of the way Howard Dean has been doing it, using the Internet and attracting people, young and old. Some have likened his zealous supporters to those of George McGovern and Barry Goldwater, losers of infamous landslides. But I like the point Frank Rich made recently in The New York Times--that his use of the Internet is better compared to the way Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy figured out how to take a new medium--radio, then television--and turn it to their advantage.

The Internet is one way Dean (and others, notably Wesley Clark) are reaching new voters. We'd like to help find others. At our showing last month of "Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War," hundreds of people expressed the same frustration: What can we do to spread the word?

This week, we're introducing an election page that will run every week until the November election. It will include interesting election news and highlight damage the Bush Administration has done and is doing. We're calling it "It's the Election Stupid," after the famous Clinton war room message, to remind us where we need to remain focused. It will suggest ways to get involved and to get other people involved--things like registering to vote, volunteering, and tips for organizing. And it will touch on our upcoming gubernatorial and Senate races as well as the presidential race.

We hope you find it useful. If you have any suggestions, criticism or ideas for making it better, please write me at hart@indyweek.com. And maybe we'll celebrate the inauguration of a different administration a year from now.

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