CHARLESTON, W. Va. — Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr. on Tuesday brought his message about the evils of power and wealth in politics to a state with soaring unemployment and a stagnant economy.
Addressing a riverfront rally and later a student assembly at West Virginia University, the former California governor charged that the campaigns of President Bush and Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton--his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination--are heavily influenced by wealthy contributors pursuing selfish agendas.
"The two-party system has become merged into a de facto one-party system," Brown told several hundred people standing in a cold drizzle on the levee of the Kanawha River.
He said the system was "dominated by the same powerful interests, the same static interests," whom he identified as people who give $1,000 individual campaign donations, the legal limit. Brown accepts no contribution larger than $100.
Already looking past his expected poor showings in the Indiana, North Carolina and District of Columbia primaries Tuesday, Brown told his audience that the race is not yet over.
"Clinton may think it's all over," he said. "Well, it's not all over. He's moving fast, but this campaign is an insurgency movement that is coming to this state to give you a choice. We're pushing ahead."
Brown repeated that vow at Washington's National Airport later, after the results of the primaries were apparent. Brown lost all three elections by huge margins--Clinton's share of the vote was no lower than 60%.
"I'd like to do better, but this is about a cause, about we the people," he said. "It's not about me. . . . I'm committed myself to staying in the race to the convention. . . . We are going to continue to give voice to those who have no voice."
West Virginia holds its primary next Tuesday, as does Nebraska.
In his West Virginia appearances, Brown contended that many of Clinton's contributors were among the top 1% of the wealthiest Americans who own more than the accumulated wealth of 90% of the remaining citizens.
"Whatever the rhetoric, whatever the promises, it's turning into more and more favoritism for the top 1%," he said.
Later, Brown urged a student rally to help "take back America. We need your help; we have to fight very powerful interests."
Referring to the Los Angeles riots--sparked by the not-guilty verdicts in the case of four white police officers accused of beating a black, Rodney G. King--Brown said many Americans feel "such despair and isolation that Los Angeles is just a foretaste of what lies down the road." He urged renewed federal aid for America's cities and its children.
Brown concluded his day by joining 1,200 mostly laid-off members of a local steelworkers union for their monthly potluck dinner.