Below are some choice outtakes:
ROLLING STONE: What was, for you, the first indication that something was gravely amiss in Ohio?
Jesse Jackson: There were no long suburban lines. There were no long rural lines. All these long lines were in the cities or on campuses.
RS: Do you believe that the 2004 election was stolen?
JJ: Ohio was more thievery than in Florida. I was amazed and astonished in Florida and Ohio about Democrats’ unwillingness to fight back, to fight to the hilt. It’s beyond my capacity to comprehend why you should score a touchdown and not fight for your points to be counted.
RS: So you believe that John Kerry was wrong to have conceded?
JJ: Kerry won in Ohio. And Gore won in Florida. And neither was willing to put it all on the line to demand a full and fair count. I cannot explain the gutless factor. I cannot explain this desire to look presidential and not be president. Kerry gave up and wouldn’t come back to Ohio and fight. Gore gave up and wouldn’t come back to Florida and fight. That’s inexplicable to me. They chose order over justice.
RS: I’ve spoken to John Kerry. His argument is that the official margin of Bush’s victory gave his campaign no legal recourse to contest the election.
JJ: It seems that some Democrats’ will to win —even by the rules — is not great enough. Republicans want to win at any cost, by any means. Watergate now seems minor compared to these two elections.
In 2000, we were asked by the Gore campaign to withdraw from fighting. While we were trying to fight, Republican staff members stopped the count in Miami/Dade. Went in like thugs and just —remember that? —just stopped the count.
RS: Should voters be concerned about the November 2006 elections?
JJ: Those who stole in 2000 became more adept in 2004. I expect they will have honed their skills more in 2008. Election reform needs to be the centerpiece of the Democratic agenda.