Land of the Elite and Home of the Rich? by Roshan Muhammed Salih: Critics say that history proves the US president is always a rich white man who governs the country on behalf of moneyed special-interest groups rather than the American people.

Critics say campaign contributions are a form of legalised bribery and make it inevitable that candidates will represent the interests of those who fund them. They point to alleged conflicts of interest such as the award of lucrative Iraq contracts to oil-services company Halliburton, formerly headed by Vice-President Dick Cheney and a major Republican party donor.

Or the political power wielded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), whose board members contribute significantly to campaigns and political committees, and which includes top fundraisers for both Kerry and Bush.

… Around 50% of Americans will not bother to vote in November’s elections because of the alienation they feel from the electoral process. In the 2000 presidential elections, only 54% of potential voters cast their ballots, with George Bush winning after receiving the backing of only 27% of the voting-age population.

Global Exchange’s Ted Lewis says voter apathy is a major threat to US democracy. “People don’t vote because they feel detached and they don’t feel that voting will make a difference,” he said.

“It is usually the poor and desperate who don’t vote while the wealthy vote in very high numbers.”