Monday, May 30, 2016

Were our troops really fighting for this kind of "democracy"?

On this Memorial Day, we tend to talk big game about the "greatness of American democracy" that our troops died fighting to defend. But what kind of great American political system are we talking about? John Oliver had a great segment on this last week, which points out how our system of choosing a president doesn't exactly boil down to "one person, one vote." (yes, in typical Oliver fashion, it is NSFW in places)

And while this system seems about 100-200 years behind the times, at least it evolves occasionally. Just last week, Minnesota decided to join the 20th-21st Century and both parties agreed to dump their presidential caucus for a primary in 2020.

I don't anticipate any of the craziness in Nevada to happen at Wisconsin's Democratic Party convention in Green Bay next weekend, as the DPW has a relatively orderly way of choosing its pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Philly (I talked about the 2nd Congressional District one that I attended in this post). But the state does have superdelegates, and as Oliver mentions at around 8:20 in the piece
they are party-obsessed widely-resented, and untethered from all responsibility.
John Oliver on Dem supedelegates
Oliver is also correct at the end, when he points out that the winning side in this system often shrugs and says "Too bad, so sad," and moves on instead of doing something that would get him/her significant support- DEMANDING CHANGES IN THIS SCREWED-UP SYSTEM. And not just on how delegates and a presidential candidate are chosen, but also in the absurd amount of time and money it takes to choose such a candidate. It's bad enough that tiny, unrepresentative states like Iowa and New Hampshire get so much precedence and attention under this system, but let's also remember that they voted NEARLY 4 MONTHS AGO. Hillary Clinton's big wins in Southern states were nearly 3 months ago, and you have to wonder if those results are representative of the state of play today.

Yet those results from Winter are being used a evidence that she is the choice of Democrats for the Summer and Fall 2016. Ironically, that is one of the few reasons that superdelegates may makes sense, as things may well have changed from the time of the vote in a state to the National Convention in the Summer. And while I don't have a lot of belief that party hacks and elected officials looking for a Clinton Cash kickback Clinton-supporting superdelegates will decide not to vote for Hillary, maybe they should waver if they realize that she's the candidate that presents the best chance for the horrifying outcome of a Drumpf Presidency becoming reality.

And by the way, they don't have to flip their vote to Bernie, if they have reservations about him. Instead, the supredelegates could deny both the nomination and choose someone else that might increase Dem enthusiasm, better represent the values of the Democratic Party's members, and boost the party's chances of winning big in November for both the White House, and downticket (cough-ELIZABETH WARREN-cough). Call me crazy, but that is what I thought a political party was supposed to be all about.

As we honor our troops this holiday weekend, we should ask ourselves a question that may prove troubling. With this less-than-democratic presidential selection process and the increased (and slanted) restrictions on voting, are these the ideals we want our flag and our troops to represent in 2016? If not, we need to work to change them, both during this election season, and in the hard work of social awareness and legislation afterwards.

EDIT- Here's a great cartoon from Tom Tomorrow at This Modern World. I especially like the next-to-last panel.

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