Bern Victims; supporters of Bernie Sanders who are accused of being unrealistic. It seems an unfair criticism, as if staunch Democrats had not said the same thing before about Obama. Sanders has kept things civil, yet Hilary is talking to his voting age supporters as if they are children and she is their mother goose.
The 2016 Presidential Race is well underway. A glance to the right and I am almost packing my bags to emigrate. A look to the left and it seems America may be able to find her center again.
The Democratic National Convention and their ilk are seeing yet another incursion from the far-left. Reminiscent of a Russian tragedy as the Napoleons and Hitlers just keep charging in, but they continue to prevail. Of course, the Democrats already have their defense mechanisms ready for such a phenomena, like having their own voter base become too hopeful, revolutionary, or naïve. This is where we have to remember to re-learn ourselves about super delegates for the blue nomination. The Party is wary enough to fear itself, but not democratic enough to fear Fear itself.
To avoid another embarrassing defeat the DNC have learned to station their super delegates wisely. Just this month when Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire with 60% beating Hilary’s 39% we got a glimpse of where these super delegates are leaning. In the end candidates tied for delegates taken from the Granite state. Some see this as an unfair advantage, while others consider these delegates that operate outside the democratic influence to be a necessary tool for the cause. After only two states Clinton led Sanders by 350 delegates. Shaun King points out that; “since March 7th, 473 superdelegates have publicly proclaimed who they are voting for and 451 of them have chosen Clinton and just 22 of them have chosen Sanders. In other words, even though Sanders has won 42% of the states and 42% of the delegates from those states he’s only received 4.7% of the superdelegates.”
This has led to many Sanders supporters arguing for the super delegate rules to better reflect the popular vote. MoveOn.org has called for some super delegates to wait until the end to cast their votes or to match the popular vote in a closer race. However, loud their progressive cries are they have yet to tear down the party establishments walls. Bernie has not become David of this story yet, but he may soon find his sling shot and take on this Clinton Goliath.
For the DNC super delegates answer the question of how to balance between regular open participation and establishment influence. Somehow they are there to add political insight while at the same time never directly changing the outcome for a nomination. But how could having more delegates earlier in the race not push other voters to think they stand a better chance at winning the whole thing? The main goal here seems to be to avoid a grass-roots candidate that might not fare well on the other side of the voter spectrum. This is where activist passion and heart lose out to cold academic theoretical politics. There will be no revolutions if they can help it. If they can avoid this whole topic the better. But already online petitions have gathered thousands of signatures asking democratically for democratic change in the Democratic Party. After talking about the party so much I can’t help but recall Orwell’s last lines in 1984.
“As he looks up in admiration at a portrait of Big Brother, Winston feels he has at least ended his “stubborn, self-willed exile” from the love of Big Brother – a love Winston happily returns.”
This is what I imagine being a hard-line stalwart Democrat is like. My life for the Party, when the party does not exist to benefit my life, but simply to continue on its rampage of institutional existence. I would hope the Democratic Party is not that far gone.
The Bernie bashers like to claim that he has only naïve millennial support. Even though polls continue to show that he outpaces Clinton against possible Republican rivals. Now I agree that losing to Nixon certainly garnered some response by the establishment but that was almost 50 years ago. The internet and other new media have changed the game when it comes to the campaign trail, as seen with Obama in 2008. These people are massing an online Bernie Army. They are now pestering super delegates directly! They are campaigning for like-minded progressive candidates in the House and the Senate. And I like the sound of that, directly deterring democratic delegates. There should be less steps between me and my representatives in a democracy. Every layer of bureaucracy added muddles the intention of the constituency. And though we understand the intent of the Founding Fathers to be wary of the emboldened majority and have institutional tools to protect the minority there needs to be more transparency. The internet may be able to help fix that. Democracy online is here whether we like it or not. Reformers see it as a step towards better democracy but the old guard sees this as a negative. The youths today are the biggest users of technology and new social media. Bernie has an advantage here when you acknowledge that voters under 30 prefer him to Clinton by a substantial majority. Ages 30-44 also go for Bernie and yes the geezers are for Clinton. I don’t blame them, they don’t know any better. All they know is the Cold War. Us against them and Red vs Blue. It is not a healthy mindset to have in the 21st century market capitalist world, not by a long shot, not with what we know today.
The craziest is the part where super delegates must actually think that Sanders doesn’t stand a chance against Trump. The man is literally the antithesis of Sanders, yet many are worried that some Clinton supporters might be so bitter as to vote for the man with the tan. The whole idea of elect-ability is important but we should not compare Trump to Nixon, or Sanders to McGovern. If you are so bent on Democratic historical analysis go back a little further and listen to the man who was shot after winning California.
“A revolution is coming – a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough – but a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability.” RFK.
This inevitable revolution is the one that the Democratic Party has been fighting since the 1968 loss, flickering out but still burning if you will. Money in politics has violently dragged our democracy kicking and screaming across the room to the right side of the political spectrum. If you look at the rest of the world, in most parliaments our American democrats would be sitting in the conservative wing. We are one of the very few countries on earth that even has a party that would deny climate change. Again we are one of the few developed nations still without affordable health care and higher education. As Sanders points out we are no longer number one in the world and we need to work to get that respect back by seriously overhauling our institutions and how we conduct ourselves internationally.
If you still think super delegates are necessary remember that in 1968 Humphrey won the nomination (and then lost) in the absence of a great Democrat. To understand the modern Democratic Party one need look no further than the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility.