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0 $20 enclosed for a one-year subscription A second Reagan administration will lock us into the death race until 1992 or 1993. We cannot know the future, but in the present human emergency we are morally required to act on our best judgment about where we are headed. I believe that if Reagan is re-elected the chances of nuclear war in the next ten years go over 50 percent. George McGovern holds this same view. You can put it any way you like. Robert C. Tucker, a professor of politics at Princeton and the biographer of Joseph Stalin, said to me that if Reagan is reelected, “I wouldn’t give a plug nickel for the prospects for humanity.” In the privacy of my own mind I believe this is an election on whether to have a nuclear war. This is the basis of my belief that the election of Walter Mondale should have the highest priority of all the causes of our time. Mondale is a decent, caring, authentic person who will make a strong, good President, but Mondale is not the question. The question is Reagan and nuclear war. All the other issues are child’s play compared to whether we will have any more time. Nothing is better for the other side than a defeatist on yours. Defeatism is the enemy. From time to time I have sought to remind our readers of Albert Camus’ thought that despair is the one sin we are not permitted. Now, defeatism about electing Mondale is just such despair. Tactically, defeatism is one of the most powerful psychological tools in politics because everyone loves a winner. It’s a hard thing to say, but nothing is better for the other side than a defeatist on yours. The most frequent source of defeatism is the polls. Now these polls, what are they? A poll is a vertical photograph of a process that is horizontal and highly volatile. Usually at the end of a story about the latest poll, we are told that the figures are subject to statistical error of 3 percent, 4 percent, or so. People are led by this to think, “Well, it must be right then; Reagan’s going to win.” But polls taken months before an election are never tested for accuracy by the election’s actual outcome. Only the last polls are so tested, and even then the pollsters fall back on “fast-changing public opinion.” No: a poll is a vertical photograph of a process that is horizontal and highly volatile. Anyone who accepts the polls on the presidential election as reason for defeatism has been taken in and does not understand the situation. Mondale is in a tight spot. He has the future of the human race on his shoulders. He has to win. He cannot lose. With the complicity of many Democrats, especially in 1981, Reagan created a budget crunch that guaranteed many years of pressure to cut federal spending. \(I believe he knew exactly had to fight his way through to the nomination of a party that has been Cartered, Straussed, Glenned, and Harted a party weakened not only by Reagan’s success, but also by opportunists who are delighted to adorn themselves in the flashy garbs of neoliberalism. The worst thing that happened was Hart repeating and harping on Reagan’s Alice-inWonderland accusation that Mondale is the candidate of “the special interests.” The popularity of the theme in the press intensified the damage. This is the difficult environment in which Mondale must win. So he runs on his new realism. He promises to cut the deficit; he shuns a “laundry list” of needed programs because he is hemmed in on every side by the trap that Reagan and Company and Hart and Company built for him. I do not know Mondale’s soul. Perhaps he is just like any other politician who makes compromises to win. I believe he is being about as liberal as he can be and still hope to defeat Reagan in the actual situation. I may not agree with each of his judgment calls concerning the blacks’ demand for a jobs program, I do not. But I want him to make the compromises necessary to win because I believe he must win. In the nuclear trap we are in, this may be our last chance. Mondale has been chosen to defeat Reagan, only he has been chosen for this role, and he has to act on his own judgment about the real environment. Bitching about him at this late date is like screaming at the driver who’s trying to avoid a head-on collision it’ll kill us all. The issue is not Mondale; Mondale is only an instrument of history for the defeat of Ronald Reagan. Defeatists about beating Reagan should be confronted for what they are doing. Spreading discouragement, dropping out of the fight saying it’s unwinnable this is the sin that is not permitted. Dr. Helen Caldicott, the activist against nuclear war, knows that people are busy with family, work, love affairs, shopping, TV, so she implores them to give just 10 percent of their time to the prevention of nuclear war. In Texas for the next two months that is the same thing as imploring people to give just 10 percent of their time to electing Walter Mondale. R. D. The 1984 Presidential series is really heating up, and we’d hate for you to be out in right field. For a spirited account of the players and strategies, thousands of readers from all over Texas turn twice a month to the Texas Observer. And you can be one of them. Here’s how. The Texas Observer 600 West 7th Austin, Texas 78701 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3