Superdelegates = entitlement politics

Ballot-Box

Stop the printing press!

I’m working on a deadline, trying not to let myself be distracted by Facebook.  Thirty years ago, the distractions were young children running around in the house, or the radio blaring, or the damn telephone (not cellphone). Today the distractions come whenever I hear that signal beeping from my “smart/stupid” phone alerting me to the fact that a new email has arrived, or someone has posted on my Facebook or Twitter.

I must now stop writing my ALR (for those in the legal business, ALR will ring a bell) and turn my attention to responding to a provocative comment that a former elected official (Lt. Gov.) of state government wrote in response to my Facebook post.

My original post sets the context.

If the HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton] campaign claims tomorrow [Tuesday, June 7, 2016] that she is the Party’s nominee, based on Superdelegates who haven’t voted yet and prematurely exclaimed their support before the electorate had a chance to cast their ballots, then I’m announcing my withdrawal from the Democratic Party.

This generated responses from many people, but the one that really lit my fire is the one from the former Lt. Gov. (a Democrat) —

“I personally resent your aspersions on the superdelegates who have all worked hard for the Party, to run for office, to be a part of the party, to represent their constituents, and been dedicated to the Principles of the Party.( for the most part) You are — totally drinking bernie’s establishment kool aid. They [meaning the super-delegates] have actually earned their right to have a say in the Party’s nominee thru many years of activism…Bernie is asking those people to vote for him although he has been a party basher for all of his career until now and it is unfortunate. I am surprised with your attitude that you don’t take some humbrage that Bernie is now lying to his supporters about his ability to win. He may resent the fact that HIllary is smarter and actually had a solid plan to win the nomination but the facts are the facts. Hillary is winning fair and square. Hillary has EARNED the superdelegate votes, not just by her huge majority in the popular vote, winning 8 of the last 12 primaries, but thru her years of service and hard work on behalf of the Party and yes, the country. If the party has left you by supporting gay marriage, a woman’s right to her own decisions, support for equal pay, against gun violence, climate change initiatives that protect the planet, penalties on Wall Street and big banks, then It would be interestsing to see what Party you will join. Don’t be so weak that a “process” and not a policy is your grounding stone to your new party…whatever it is.”

Now there’s certainly alot to take issue with in this response, but I’ll stick to only one glaring problem, which actually represents the biggest problem within the Democratic Party.

The one and ONLY way a candidate earns the right to be President of the United States is by convincing Americans that he/she can do the best job and then earning their votes, the hard way …. at the ballotbox. In a democracy, that is how it’s suppose to work, and before Citizens United, many of us believed that was the way it actually worked.  Since 2010, we’ve faced the reality that PACs and special interests with big pocketbooks can legally buy the elections, and voters are understandably fed-up.

Now comes a candidate without PACs and big money to support him, without the Party machinery to grease the wheels for him, and shows all of us that good ideas can prevail despite the odds against him. Instead of running as a Third Party candidate (which I presume he decided would hurt the Dem ticket and get the Republican candidate elected), he is running as a Democrat, playing by the rules of the game as established by the party bosses.

So why do the comments of the Lt. Gov. ….  “Hillary has EARNED the superdelegate votes ….  irk me so much?

Because the Lt. Gov. has exposed the ugly underbelly of the Democratic Party. It’s not our votes (your vote, my vote, the votes of the next generation) that count. Rather it’s the votes of the superdelegates and their belief that they and their cronies have an entitlement to the position simply by playing the inside game — the voters be damned.

This isn’t just Presidential candidates, but all politicians in the Democratic Party. They feel they are OWED something — reelection term after term in gerrymandered districts, best retirement perks in the country, and the right to sway elections if they are superdelegates.

This sense of entitlement makes me angry. If  HRC earns the majority of the  popular vote,  and  if  she earns the majority of the  pledged delegates,  AFTER ALL OF THE VOTES HAVE BEEN CAST, then I say “more power to her.”  Then, and only then, does she deserve to be the next President. 

But the Democratic Party machinery needs a good kick in the butt if it truly wants to be the Party representing the progressive values of the next generation.

And my short response to the Lt. Gov. who doesn’t get it ….. “Yes, process matters.”

 

 

 

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Filed under Elections, Uncategorized, US Policy

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