Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Super Delegates

Why? To what end? What roles do the super delegates play?

Never, in the forty years that I have been following presidential elections have I been so surprised about something. I didn't even know there were super delegates in 2004.

I have been a registered Democrat since 1976, which is the year I turned 18.

I followed the 1968 presidential campaigns on television after the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, I was ten years-old, and I haven't missed a campaign since.

In this year's run-up to the conventions, it became clear to me that the role of the super delegates is to ensure that those controlling the Democratic Party get to control who becomes the party's presidential candidate, irrespective of the actual voting by registered Democrats.

I was dismayed to hear that Hillary Clinton was basically conceding the nomination to Obama last night. I want Clinton to go to Denver and try to sway delegates to her side and make the convention a real old-fashioned convention with multiple ballots and real-life politicking. I think that is good for the part. It is bad for the media, but it is good for the country, and good for progressives, and good for the Democratic Party. And it is bad for the people who want to control the party from the back rooms, to bribe and cajole Democrats who are interested in participating in the democratic process.

I want Hillary to go to Denver as a candidate for the nomination.

All delegates to the national convention should be selected by state (or territorial) conventions. No member of the party should be seated as a delegate simply because they are rich, formerly powerful, or currently hold an elected position.

If a state has 100 delegates, they should choose 100 delegates at their state convention and send those delegates to nominate the presidential candidate. If a state chooses to include their elected officials and congressional delegation in their delegate count, then so be it. That should be in their state party charter. But no elected official should be given a delegates vote simply because he or she is in a position of power.

As we have seen during this election cycle, super delegates are bad. If the majority of registered democrats vote for a particular candidate, and their state delegations are instructed to vote the will of the citizens, then there would never be any discussion of that candidate being undermined by super delegates.

If the Democratic Party seats 4,000 delegates, then the first candidate to win 2,001 of those delegates should be nominated. It's really quite simple.

The Democratic Party is now as bad as, if not worse than, the Republican Party when it comes to secrecy, sneakiness, and under-handedness.

Perhaps it's time for all progressive Americans to abandon the DNC to the political operatives and join or form a different progressive party.

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