The reason our republic is in crisis is not that we have a ruthless, criminal administration in power; it is not that the press is controlled by self-serving corporations; it is not because rampant bribery has overtaken the Congressional agenda; and even the massive program by Republicans to subvert democracy is inadequate explanation for the crisis. The reason our republic is in crisis is that we have no opposition party.

Why have the Democrats lost their voice at this crucial moment? Why are they doing so little to retake their position at the helm? I have begun to suspect that there is more going on here than incompetence or cowardice or disorganization. Perhaps the Democratic party has been infiltrated.

It is awfully convenient for the junta in charge that mainstream Democrats are not screaming, “Crisis! Crisis!” In abandoning a great mass of disaffected voters on the left to pursue a tiny sliver of swing voters at the ever-shifting right, the Democrats have forsaken their majority status. With their silent acquiescence to election theft, they have helped Republicans hollow out the foundation on which democracy is built. All this behavior runs dramatically counter to the Democrats' self-interest. In whose interest are these policies being pursued? Perhaps the Democratic party has been infiltrated.

How many of the weak candidates that run and win in Democratic primaries are posing in this role in order to subvert the party? How many trusted advisors to the most powerful Democrats in America are double agents?

There are paid ideological proxies of the Right posing as journalists (Armstrong Williams, James Guckert) as scientists (global warming is a myth), posing as economists (deregulation; supply-side stimulation) and as policy theorists (the dangerous neocon notion of American world hegemony). Why would they not pose as Democrats, too? Infiltration of the Democratic party is easy, legal, and cheap compared to these other strategies. And how dramatically effective! They can blunt opposition to Right-wing agenda, and promote weaker candidates to oppose Republicans. They can whisper in the ears of prominent Democrats, warning them that they risk losing support in the “political center” every time they call a spade a spade.

We have read about Theresa Le Pore, the butterfly ballot lady whose Republican loyalties were discovered too late to save the Florida election. Harris Miller is a former Diebold lobbyist running for US Senate from Virginia as a Democrat. Tom Reilly is running for governor of Massachusetts on an “inclusive” platform, despite the fact that Democrats hold solid majorities throughout the state. When Katherine Harris ran for Congress in Florida, her “Democratic opponent” was a Republican running a sham campaign. Henry Cuellar found a place in Congress as a Democrat after the infamous DeLay redistricting of Texas, and has supported the Bush agenda ever since. Denny White, the chairman of the state Democratic party when Ohio played its crucial role in Bush’s re-election, was a lifelong Republican before he assumed this position. No sooner had Bill Daley completed his duties as Gore’s campaign manager, advising him to give up disputing the 2000 election “for the good of the country” when he accepted a plum sinecure at Electronic Data Systems, joining James Baker and replacing Dick Cheney on the board of this Texas-based company with a long history of Republican ties.

But what if these examples are only the tip of an iceberg? There may be many more “Democratic” candidates whose only interest is in tugging the party to the right for cold cash. Perhaps the likes of Hilary Clinton and John Kerry are getting advice from people who wish them no good.

Perhaps the Democratic party has been infiltrated.

We don't know that this is true, but it's a hypothesis that fits the data. If you have stories of “Democrats” who have behaved suspiciously, let’s share them! In the meantime, it will be important to lend our support to true and outspoken progressives within the Democratic party.

Josh Mitteldorf does computer modeling at the U of Arizona Dept of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and contributes statistical research to support demands for integrity of our election systems.