Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Not exactly a super ending to the Dem race

Thanks to MAL for mentioning this article from Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept (the online site started by Wisconsin's own Jeremy Scahill). I can accept that Hillary Clinton will very likely be the nominee of the Democratic Party, and I'll vote for her over Drumpf this November, assuming it comes to that. But as Greenwald mentions, the way certain news organization named her the winner was so telling- via backroom deals with superdelegates, and not through earning a victory at the polls.
This is the perfect symbolic ending to the Democratic Party primary: The nomination is consecrated by a media organization, on a day when nobody voted, based on secret discussions with anonymous establishment insiders and donors whose identities the media organization — incredibly — conceals. The decisive edifice of superdelegates is itself anti-democratic and inherently corrupt: designed to prevent actual voters from making choices that the party establishment dislikes. But for a party run by insiders and funded by corporate interests, it’s only fitting that its nomination process ends with such an ignominious, awkward, and undemocratic sputter.

None of this is to deny that Hillary Clinton — as was always the case from the start — is highly likely to be the legitimately chosen winner of this process. It’s true that the party’s governing rules are deliberately undemocratic; unfair and even corrupt decisions were repeatedly made by party officials to benefit Clinton; and the ostensibly neutral Democratic National Committee (led by the incomparably heinous Debbie Wasserman Schultz) constantly put not just its thumb but its entire body on the scale to ensure she won. But it’s also true that under the long-standing rules of the party, more people who voted preferred Clinton as their nominee over Sanders. Independent of superdelegates, she just got more votes. There’s no denying that...

That the Democratic Party nominating process is declared to be over in such an uninspiring, secretive, and elite-driven manner is perfectly symbolic of what the party, and its likely nominee, actually is. The one positive aspect [Clinton being the first female nominee of a major party in U.S. history], though significant, is symbolic, while the actual substance — rallying behind a Wall Street-funded, status quo-perpetuating, multimillionaire militarist — is grim in the extreme. The Democratic Party got exactly the ending it deserved.
And make no mistake, it was Hillary's connections with superdelegates that gave her a dominant position in this race, and not her connection with voters. Making deals with hundreds of superdelegates before a single vote was cast and gobbling up big money likely drove some capable candidates out of the race, leaving Bernie Sanders as her only declared opposition by the end of the Iowa primary. Maybe Hillary was the best Democrat out there to be president in 2016 (not named Warren, who would have won in a walk), but the current system and the favoritism of DWS and the DNC made it a whole lot easier for Clinton.

This system has to be changed. The Democrats in Wisconsin seem to agree, as they voted over the weekend to demand that superdelegates vote in proportion with the state's voters, or ban them entirely. I actually see a point to having superdelegates, as the circumstances when people voted in February and March could be very different than the circumstances at the convention in July (the absurd length of these campaigns is another issue that should be addressed). But they need to come into the equation AFTER ALL STATES HAVE VOTED.

So how do you do this? Simple- have all superdelegates not be chosen until June, when all of the states have voted. Then choose the superdelegates at a party convention through secret ballot, or through a committee where both candidates are represented. It could be done in a similar style to how Dems in Wisconsin chose their pledged candidates, which took a while, but it seemed to work well without chaos or hard feelings. It also would end the perversion of the vote that happens when superdelegates like Tammy Baldwin come out and say she's gonna vote for her girl Hills regardless of what the voters say, and also prevents a candidate from having a false meme of "leading" when no votes have been cast.

There's a better way, and this arduous process in 2016 has illustrated just how far away we are from having the "best democracy in the world." Let's get to work on it, and get back to something more democratic and sensible in 2020, shall we?


  1. How many vote-counting "errors" were due to "provisional" pres. election ballots in CA?

  2. she just got more votes. There’s no denying that...

    this is the absolute truth of the matter...besides Greenwald is a right wing shill

    1. I accept that truth that she got more votes, and Ill vote for Hillary in November.

      But I also think the constant meme of "Hillary is up hundreds of delegates" due to supers pledgung support last year helped slant coverage, and the votes of people who want to associate with a "winner."

      As for Greenwald, he's more anti-Middle East and security state than anything else. And he's on more than he's off, regardless of who it hurts. He's a positive.

  3. I'm also happy to vote for Hillary over the alternative. And I agree -- the superdelegates system needs revising. I like your idea, of delegates being chosen by secret ballot at the state party, but I also think a system where superdelegates don't affect the outcome unless a certain threshold number of them believe they need to could be entertained. Say a candidate like Trump hijacks the Dem primaries -- if two-thirds of Democratic superdelegates agree, then their superdelegate votes could count toward the total delegate count. Those are just my thoughts, randomly contrived during a short break at work. :-D

  4. "And make no mistake, it was Hillary's connections with superdelegates that gave her a dominant position in this race, and not her connection with voters."

    Speak for yourself. This voter feels plenty of connection to Hillary, for better or worse. And thinks she's the best candidate for President to be found in either party, based on her ability, experience and temperament. Perfect? No, but her heart's in the right place and she will listen (to the other side as well, so here's hoping the liberals and progressives make their best case and don't just assume a win in November is a win for the next four years). And she's tough. She takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. Maybe my standards have slipped a bit in the last eight years but I think I'm ready for a solid, unsexy, reliable Timex presidency for a change. With peace, justice, civil rights, green energy, educational opportunity, an economy that works for people instead of the reverse and a return to progressive taxation on income *and* wealth. For starters, year one :-)

    As for super delegates, I don't see a problem with people who have put in more time, effort and attention to the Party and politics in general having more say. Your idea that they be elected bears some consideration, but to my mind they should always be uninstructed -- voted in for wisdom, common sense or long service, not bound to a particular candidate. They should be the buffer against mistakes like Trump -- the Senate to the House of Representatives (in the original plan, at least) or the Judiciary to the Legislative and Executive, if you will. Vox populi can be as mistaken in its' passions as everybody else. IMO.

  5. You may be right on Hillary, and my misgivings about her lack of a central message or value system (other than "pay me and vote for me") might not matter. A steady, solid presidency could well be just enough to tip things the Dems' way for good, especially as bitter old white men die out. She definitely knows how to craft her message against Drumpf, and make the Donald look like a pathetic little fool.

    I think being able to work behind the scenes for endorsements and superdelegate pledges gave Hillary an advantage before any vote was ever cast. It also slanted news coverage her way, and encouraged a small but sizable-enough group that always wants to vote for the leader/winner.
    I just wish superdelegates came in at the end of the game, instead of the start. It's supposed to be tie-breaker or safety valve, and not something that sets the agenda and impression of who is winning. It is the opposite these days, and it stepped on what should have been a resounding victory for Clinton last night (if we assume the results would have been the same, which granted is an if).