How I Could Quit The Democratic Party

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Feb 08, 2008 at 16:27

I am a Democrat. I am my own local precinct captain, and I hold a seat on the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee. Over the past four years, I have helped raise millions of dollars for Democrats. I believe in the primary process and intra-party democracy as a means of resolving disputes within the American center-left coalition. I believe in endorsing whoever wins the majority support of the rank and file, no matter who that person may be, as long as it is the result of democratic deliberation within the coalition. The reason I do all of this is because I believe the Democratic Party is an essential institution that the American center-left must utilize in order to have all of its diverse voices heard and, after those disputes are resolved internally, to provide a united front against conservatives on the electoral stage.

With all that said, I also agree with this:

"If 795 of my colleagues decide this election, I will quit the Democratic Party. I feel very strongly about this," Donna Brazile told CNN this week. Brazile, who managed Al Gore's presidential campaign in 2000, is herself a super delegate.

If the institution that exists to resolve disputes within the American center-left does not operate according to democratic principles, then I see no reason to continue participating within that institution. If that institution fails to respect democratic principles in its most important internal contest of all--nominating an individual for President of the United States--then I will quit the Democratic Party. And yes, I am perfectly serious about this. If someone is nominated for POTUS from the Democratic Party despite another candidate receiving more poplar support from Democratic primary voters and caucus goers, I will resign as local precinct captain, resign my seat on the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee, immediately cease all fundraising for all Democrats, refuse to endorse the Democratic "nominee" for any office, and otherwise disengage from the Democratic Party through all available means of doing so.

More in the extended entry.  

Chris Bowers :: How I Could Quit The Democratic Party
This is not a negotiable position. If the Democratic Party does not nominate the candidate for POTUS that the majority (or plurality) of its participants in primaries and caucuses want it to nominate, then I will quit the Democratic Party. If you think this is somehow rejecting the rules and bylaws of the Democratic Party, you are wrong. The fact is that there is nothing in the bylaws of the Democratic Party that dictate how super delegates should vote at the Democratic national convention. In the absence of any legal dictation of how they should vote, I will hold them to the principles that make me a Democrat: as the democratic institution through which internal disputes of the American center-left are resolved. If the Democratic Party fails to respect those principles, and their "super" delegates nominate someone for POTUS other than the person who received the most support during Democratic primaries and caucuses, then I fail to see any reason to continue participating in the Democratic Party. If the Democratic Party is not a democratic institution, then to hell with the Democratic Party.

In this country, we have already had to suffer through more than seven years of a President who was not elected with either a majority or a plurality of popular support. The shame and destruction that presidency has brought upon my country would be unimaginable if it were not also real. In addition to everything else that has been said about George W. Bush, hundreds of thousands of people have died as the result of his assumption of the office of President of the United States, an assumption that was against the expressed, legal democratic wishes of a majority of the American populace. If the most prominent institution within America that ostensibly exists to oppose that Presidency shows equal disrespect to democratic principles, then I will leave that institution and find something else with which to oppose, and hopefully replace, the existing regime.

Democratic leaders in Congress claim to represent us. When they are unable to achieve the goals that we hoped they would when we elected them to public office, they throw their collective hands up in the air and say something to the effect of "elect us more Democrats, and then we will achieve your hopes." If, during the electoral process, they reject the popular choice of members of their own party for the most important office in our country, then it will be clear the entire process has been nothing but a vicious ruse. If they reject our popular choice for President of the United States, and decide instead to install someone else, then any notion that they actually represent us--or even care what we think about anything--can be put to bed once and for all. And, at that point, to hell with them. There could be nothing more American than rejecting that sort of tyranny.

Nothing legally binds super delegates to vote for the popular choice of Democratic primary voters and caucus goers. At the same time, nothing legally binds them from not choosing the popular choice of Democratic primary voters and caucus goers. Let us hope, just as they have always acted in the past, that they will uphold the American principles of democracy by supporting the popular choice of Democratic primary voters and caucus goers for President of the United States. Just like Donna Brazile--one of the most utterly partisan Democratic you will ever find--if such principles do not bind Democratic super delegates when making their choice for POTUS, then I will no longer live under their yoke. In fact, if this happens, I will urge as many people as possible to stop living under their yoke. My partisanship is dependant upon, and stems from, intra-party democracy. Upholding intra-party democracy is now dependant upon the decisions of Democratic super delegates.

Democratic super delegates may have the legal right to thwart the will of Democratic primary voters and caucus goers, but they do no not have the moral right to do so. Continuing to report their preference for the Democratic Presidential nomination in running delegate counts does little other than to ratify and provide consent to an eventuality when those super delegates summarily reject the will of Democratic primary voters and caucus goers. In other words, reporting super delegate totals in running delegate counts accepts that it is just fine for Democratic super delegates to thwart the will of Democratic primary voters and caucus goers. The moral truth of the matter is that such an eventuality is not acceptable. If Democratic super delegates reject intra-party democracy, then I reject their party altogether.

The decision to either uphold or reject intra-party democracy remains entirely within the hands of Democratic super delegates. Given that half a dozen Democratic U.S. Senators endorsed Joe Lieberman even after he lost the Democratic primary, and another half dozen remained "neutral," I am not naïve enough to think that everyone who is a Democratic super delegate shares democratic values in this matter. However, as long as a majority of Democratic super delegates do share these values, intra-party democracy will be upheld and I will remain a Democrat. The day that ends is the day when someone other than the popular choice of Democratic primary voters and caucus goers is nominated for President of the United States. That is the day when I will no longer be a Democrat.

Update: Since so many people assume that by arguing for democracy, that makes me a Barack Obama mouthpiece, you might remember that only a few days ago I argued that super delegates should adhere to the the votes of Democratic primary and caucus goers, and that the Michigan and Florida primaries should determine their pledged delegates at the DNC. And they will, of course, since that is how the Michigan and Florida Democratic parties will form their delegations, and almost certainly how they will be composed at the DNC.  

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What Standard Are You Using For Popular Choice? (4.00 / 5)
The candidate that gets the popular vote or the candidate that has the most delegates.  

Standard (0.00 / 0)
A 1% lead or more in pledged delegates from all 50 states and every territory. If it falls in between the plus or minus 1% range, I'll cut some lack. Otherwise, none.  

[ Parent ]
How do you count MI and FL? n/t (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Read my comment closer (n/t) (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
But he meant (0.00 / 0)
How do you count them?  Take the outcome as is?  Or caucus redo?  Or apportion them at the same percentage as the total popular vote?

[ Parent ]
I read it again and still can't tell (0.00 / 0)
Do you count Florida as part of the popular vote? I know Michigan is exceptional because of an incomplete ballot, but Florida looked to me like a popular vote, albeit outside of DNC rules.

ec=-8.50 soc=-8.41   (3,967 Watts)

[ Parent ]
Seems to imply (0.00 / 0)
that MI and FL have zero pledged delegates and therefore do not really count in the "all 50 states and every territory."  

Yes, yes. Wyoming and Utah should have more of a say than Florida. Nebraska counts more than Michigan. How Democratic.

Not to even get into the specifics with the formula of how delegates are apportioned to each state and district, but a much more reasonable way to base your decision on legitimacy would seem to be the national popular vote, including caucus votes (even though caucuses disenfranchise huge swaths of voters).  

[ Parent ]
If you wante dot do that (0.00 / 0)
you would at least have to rescale the caucus results so that you're measuring on the same scale, since actual numbers of voters aren't always reported for caucuses.

[ Parent ]
No (4.00 / 1)
The point is counting voters who actually show up to vote. No rescaling for population. That's my problem with caucuses to begin with. They disenfranchise people.  

[ Parent ]
I see (4.00 / 1)
Caucuses are undemocratic, but super delegates are not.

Whatever man. Stand up for democracy in all cases, or don't bother in any case.  

[ Parent ]
No (4.00 / 3)
Both are undemocratic. And both are part of the process right now.  

[ Parent ]
I see (4.00 / 4)
So one less than perfectly democratic aspect of the process makes all  non-democratic aspects of the process OK?

And seriously, whatever. You said you had a problem with caucuses. At the same time, you have defended super delegates. You are not defending both, or saying you have a problem with both.

And how did "the process" become more important than democratic principles, anyway?  

[ Parent ]
You're right (0.00 / 0)
Democratic principles are more important than "the process."

So count Florida and Michigan.  

[ Parent ]
And don't count the super delegates (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Sure- no problem (0.00 / 0)
For the sake of "democratic principle" exclude superdelegates but include FL and MI.

I do, however, legitimately disagree with you about the role of superdelegates. I have no problem with giving party leaders and activists a designated role in the nominating process, especially when said process includes such asinine things like the Iowa caucus which gets to happen first for absolutely no credible reason.

[ Parent ]
Um (4.00 / 1)
"I do, however, legitimately disagree with you about the role of superdelegates. I have no problem with giving party leaders and activists a designated role in the nominating process, especially when said process includes such asinine things like the Iowa caucus which gets to happen first for absolutely no credible reason."

You find the Iowa caucuses asinine, but you have no problem giving activists a greater role in determining the nominee than other voters? that just doesn't make any sense. I'm not sensing anything coherent from you on this matter at all.  

[ Parent ]
Just because you disagree (4.00 / 1)
Doesn't mean it's not coherent. I don't take huge issue with Democratic leaders having a role to play in who gets the Democratic nomination.  We're not choosing a president. We're choosing a Democratic nominee. Same reason I'm against open primaries. What is not coherent about that?  You seem to have some blinders on.  

[ Parent ]
Elections do not necessarily equal democracy (0.00 / 0)
Just blindly counting Michigan and Florida would be a joke.  You can't tell people that their vote will be interpreted in one way, and then turn around and interpret it in a different way.  

Something needs to be done about MI and FL, but just counting the vote is about as legitimate as the Chinese Communist party saying that the fact that they recieve the most votes of any party in the world = they are the most democratic.

[ Parent ]
That's ludicrous (0.00 / 0)
Let's take Michigan out of the equation, for now, since Obama made the very calculated strategic decision to remove his name from the ballot. Fine, set that aside.

Florida was a level playing field of the most pure sense. No money, no ads (except for Barack's cable ads).  People turned out in record numbers, and grassroots activists mobilized on behalf of both candidates. One candidate won a clear, overwhelming majority of the votes cast. What exactly is not legitimate about that?

[ Parent ]
Votes mean things (0.00 / 0)
if you are told you are voting in a beauty constest, you communicate a certain amount of information with your vote.  

If people who, for their own reasons liked the result of that vote then turn around and reinterpret that vote as if it weren't a beauty contest, then you would probably feel cheated.

[ Parent ]
This primary has presumed that they broke the rules. (0.00 / 0)
Both campaigns have (more or less) hewn to the DNC's word here. To suddenly insert their delegates into a process that has not taken them into account would be like adding "surprise delegates", and would have a massive spoiler effect.

They broke the rules. Simple as that. Reinstating them at this point would be nothing more than a politically motivated backroom deal of the pre-1972 kind.

[ Parent ]
NH broke the rules, AND (0.00 / 0)
kept its privileged status.  If rule breaking is a good enough reason to disenfranchise Democrats (voters) in Michigan while allowing independents and Republicans in NH and Iowa to pick the party's nominee, then NH Democrats need to be bounced too.  

Michigan's political leaders were disappointed not to be added to the first four but went along, expecting that other states would abide by the new calendar. When the dates started to shift -- and particularly when Gardner said New Hampshire would move up -- they considered the deal broken.

Levin and Debbie Dingell took their case to DNC Chairman Howard Dean last month, complaining that he was standing by silently as New Hampshire broke its promise. They asked Dean to urge Democrats not to campaign there.

"Someone," the two wrote, "has to take on New Hampshire's transparent effort to violate the DNC rules and to maintain its privileged position."

Instead, the DNC warned Michigan that any delegates chosen Jan. 15 would not be seated at next summer's convention in Denver, the same punishment that Florida Democrats are suing the party over. Rules and schedules are essential, one DNC official said, to ensure "fairness and predictability."   --snip--

Iowa and NH being one and two is most certainly predictable but not even close to fair.  Imagine the audacity of Michigan forgetting its proper place. What the Democrats did to MI is more akin to what Republicans did to the United States when daddy Bush's supreme court gave Jr. the Presidency.  

[ Parent ]
Someday I would like to get an answer to this question (0.00 / 0)
> es, yes. Wyoming and Utah should have more
> of a say than Florida. Nebraska counts more
>  than Michigan. How Democratic.

Someday I would like to get an answer to this question from those who claim that asking Michigan and Florida to follow the  rules agreed upon by a representative body of which they were members is "undemocratic":  when should the first primary have taken place?  January 1st 2008?  December 26th 2007?  September 1st 2007?  Because the current primary system is broken but it is what it is until it is fixed and there was no way in the world that IA and NH were going to allow anyone to move ahead of them.  So when exactly should the game of reverse leapfrog have ended?  When we had a defacto national primary in June 2007?  If not, then some state would have been left out (or so they thought; too bad MI and FL didn't keep their original dates now eh?).  Would that have been "undemocratic" for whichever state(s) that was?

Please be specific in your answers.


[ Parent ]
FL/MI are the real problems - what a mess (4.00 / 1)
Do you discard FL and MI?  That's hardly fair.

Do you give the delegates to Hillary pretending the rules didn't influence the count?  That's hardly fair.

Imagine the range of "reasonable" assumptions about how FL/MI would have split up in a standard primary without all the bull.

If some range of that imagination changes the "winner" we have problems.  Big ones.

Our only hope is that the pledged delegate count (ignoring MI/FL) ends up with Hillary ahead or the pledged delegate count (including MI/FL) ends up with Obama ahead.

The middle ground is going to be a leave the party moment for a lot of people.

It's time for a one-person = one-vote democracy.  I think we should start with the Democratic primaries.  No more delegates, no more caucuses, none of that.  Have the primaries, count the votes, and name the candidate.

[ Parent ]
For the record... (0.00 / 0)
I agree with the sentiment, however, after your post yesterday about 100 delegates, I am a bit surprised about the plus or minus 1% which would be a margin of only 18-20 votes.  I just was looking for a bit of clarification.

[ Parent ]
the 100 delegates (0.00 / 0)
takes care of Florida and Michigan.

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

[ Parent ]
Has anyone made a petition (4.00 / 2)
I would love to see this post developed into a position that all of us could sign and share with both the Clinton and Obama campaigns and the DNC.

Something to the effect that we, as registered Democratic voters, expect that the nominee of the Democratic Party be chosen to reflect the will of Democratic voters.

[ Parent ]
Curious (0.00 / 0)
Why do you say pledged delegates rather than popular vote?  

[ Parent ]
Perhaps (0.00 / 0)
Because caucus states don't generate popular vote counts. (?)

(A guess at Chris's reasoning.)

USA: 1950 to 2010

[ Parent ]
I agree with the idea wholeheartedly (0.00 / 0)
but it begs the question-- why do superdelegates exist at all?

why superdelegates exist (4.00 / 1)

They exist because in 1972 when McGovern won despite the efforts of party elders to nominate Ed Muskie.  The 1972 Convention was quite unruly and did not help the Democrats.  In response, the party elders instituted the superdelegates as a check on the young upstarts comprising the McGovern voters.

[ Parent ]
It Was A Police Riot (0.00 / 0)
The very elders were the ones who made the convention unruly, helped some of them probably knew, by Nixon's CREEPs.

The superdelegates are mostly Enron or Vichy Democrats. They would rather lose the election, than lose control.


[ Parent ]
What?! (4.00 / 1)
Superdelegates are every Democratic member of Congress, Democratic governor, Democratic ex-Presidents and Vice Presidents, former party chairs, former Congressional leaders,  and DNC members, along with additional party leaders chosen by their local parties or Gov. Dean.  

Yes - Sherrod Brown is a real Enron Democrat. How about Jon Tester.  Barbara Boxer?  Give me a break. What a ridiculous generalization.

As for the non-name brand superdelegates - most of them are just local Democratic Party chairs, donors, activists, or city council members.  Sure, some of them might be "Vichy Democrats" as you say, but a vast majority are not.  

[ Parent ]
Somehow I don't see the.... (4.00 / 3)
.... party picking a nominee many feel to be illegitimate. That said, if the race is close, legitimacy isn't exactly clear cut. How do you count Florida's and Michigan's votes? If adding in their contributions flips the popular vote from one candidate to the other, its a day at the circus. At that point, almost no solution exists.  

There is a better way. (4.00 / 2)
Stay in the party and help to transform the primary process to make it more democratic. Leaving the party means there is one less person pushing for primary reform. Not good.

Convention rules have changed throughout the years. We need to keep reforming them. Imagine how poor things would be today if reformers in previous generations had quit.

Stay But Fight (0.00 / 0)
No the party rules have accumulated over the years, with more and more of they thrown in to placate complaing minorities, not "minorities", just losers. That is "change" in the sense of moral collapse.

The rules are more than complex, they simply empower a clerical elite that interprets them for their own benefit so as to bewilder or deceive delegates who are treated like petit jurors.

As parliamentarians know, "convention rules" are the most arcane sort. But, Democratic Party rules are just economic discrimination sugar-coated to seem like "affirmative action" for poor, pitiful (fill in the blank) clients of some arrogant, parochial lawyer/lobbyist.  


[ Parent ]
How? (4.00 / 5)
How is it possible to transform a party whose leaders will not adhere to democratic principles?

If we stick around, and try to change the rules, who is to say that the party won't just ignore the new rules we have in place? If they don't respect democracy, then there is no way to change them through democratic means.  

[ Parent ]
Leave now then (0.00 / 0)
How is it possible to transform a party whose leaders will not adhere to democratic principles?

If you truly believe that the party is now a dictatorship (and this isn't just a rhetorical flourish on your part), then you should leave immediately, no?

I'm happy that our women's suffrage, Freedom Rider and abolitionist predecessors did not think as you do. No one said reform was easy.

[ Parent ]
Abolitionists? Are you crazy? (0.00 / 0)
I'm happy that our women's suffrage, Freedom Rider and abolitionist predecessors did not think as you do. No one said reform was easy.

Abolitionist? Are you crazy? Let me clue you in on something important. Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. The democrats opposed the civil war from start to finish. Does anyone NOT know that?

The "Copperhead Democrats", aka "Peace Democrats"
( ) opposed Lincoln bitterly, and did not find the causes of the Civil War worth fighting for.

Please tell me this is not the first time you've heard this.

[ Parent ]
Exactly. (0.00 / 0)
SuperDs trouncing the popular vote this time would be analogous to the FL Supreme Court trouncing the popular vote in Gore-Bush election.

If the most powerful will respect Democracy then they lose our support.

We won the Battle. Now the Real Fight for Change Begins. Join and fight for progressive change.  

[ Parent ]
Stupid typo (0.00 / 0)
That line should have read:
If the most powerful will NOT respect Democracy then they lose our support.

We won the Battle. Now the Real Fight for Change Begins. Join and fight for progressive change.  

[ Parent ]
Concept of statistical tie (4.00 / 1)
> If they don't respect democracy, then there
> is no way to change them through democratic means.  

I am generally in agreement with your overall point, and it makes me think of the entire Lieberman situation.

But as a person who has spent a lot of his professional life measuring things I have to say that in these discussions there is perhaps a lack of discussion of the principles of measurement theory and the concept of a statistical tie.  Even more so when you start talking about representative systems rather than direct democracy.  If the pledged delegates come out to

    Obama    1600 +/- 50
    Clinton  1600 +/- 50

I have a hard time seeing that as anything other than a tie to which some sort of tiebreaking rules will have to be applied.  1626-1624 is not a definitive choice as far as I can see based on the measuring system(s) in use.  If we want to change the rules to the Nevada system of one hand of 5-card draw that would be fine, but right now the superdelegates are the tiebreakers.


[ Parent ]
Bush v. Gore (0.00 / 0)
Would you consider 2000 a statistical tie? If so, by your logic, you should not be upset by the Supreme Court deciding the election. You make a good point, but I would argue that whatever specific method used to break the tie matters. Some methods are more democratic than others. So I don't see how your abstract argument alleviates the need to debate which methods are acceptable.

[ Parent ]
The 2000 comparision (0.00 / 0)
> Would you consider 2000 a statistical tie?

Within the Electoral College framework, yes[*].

> If so, by your logic, you should not be upset
> by the Supreme Court deciding the election.

Incorrect inference.

> You make a good point, but I would argue that whatever
> specific method used to break the tie matters

The Constitution specifies several methods for handling a tie, and to me suggests that most of those take place at the state level.  The injection of the Supreme Court into the process was not correct or Constitutional IMHO.


[*] Whether or not the Electoral College should be replaced, and if so with what, is a different question.

[ Parent ]
Yep .. (4.00 / 4)
but I also find the MI and FL decisions critical. If you change the rules after the game is played, you're not being democratic.

How many voters did not turn out thinking their primary was not a "real" one? What do we say to them if we then count the votes of those who "broke" the rules.

Indeed (4.00 / 4)
Mattw at My Left Nutmeg had a great post on FL and MI today:

I say this as someone who isn't deeply committed to Obama, and finds Clinton a basically acceptable candidate. It doesn't suit my preferences to promote the notion of factionalizing and splitting up the Democratic party, but I think it's crucial to illustrate to those who would rewrite the rules of the closest primary in generations to favor one candidate over another that they are toying with a Pandora's Box of political chaos on a scale several orders of magnitude greater than the difference between the two candidates. Clinton, Penn, Bartlett, and whoever else who wants to promote rule-breaking as a positive attribute inside our party should stop immediately.

[ Parent ]
This is the best blog I have seen in American politics. The mainstream news is quite poor. This blog a good estimate of the pledged delegates almost three days ago as did the Obama  campaign.

If the super-delegates vote according to their state pluralities in the primaries and caucuses, it would be a winner-take-all assignment of super-delegates. This would be a very natural way for super delegates to vote since they would be pressured by state politics. In fact, the governor of Maine has said he will do this.

So far, if you assign all the super-delegates of states which have held primaries or caucuses in this fashion, Clinton would have 246 super-delegates and Obama 178. So Clinton would have 68 more super delegates inclined to vote for her. This is remarkably close to her present lead in super-delegates of 71! So I think Chris Bowers' estimate of Obama needing to lead Clinton by 100 pledged delegates by the convention will indeed be sufficient to assure his nomination. Also, this is a worst case scenario for Obama. If super-delegates are distributed proportionately to the pledged delegates, Obama does much better.

The apportionment of delegates is so insane (4.00 / 2)
There are some aspects to our 200 year old system that I wish we could just do away with.

[ Parent ]
I agree, (4.00 / 1)
Interesting in Alaska it takes 31 people to get a delegate and in oh Ca for example it takes 10,452 for a delegate.

How about, Iowa 54 votes = 1 delegate and New Hampshire 12,077 votes = 1 delegate.

Interesting system we have.  

[ Parent ]
Well stated, but it requires a clarification (4.00 / 1)
When you talk about the popular choice are you referring to the actual popular vote or pledged delegates?  I hope/assume you are talking about latter, because given caucus turnout and the fact that they are running their campaigns for the purpose of winning delegates, popular vote would be unfair.  

That said, I think you are absolutely right.  We need to start two movements.  The first should prod super delegates to pledge to vote for the candidate who wins the most pledged delegates, even if they choose to endorse the other candidate.  

The second movement should be an online petition for regular people to pledge not to vote for the nominee if they have not won the plurality of pledged delegates (they don't have to vote for McCain, they can vote Bloomberg or leave it blank).  If we get enough signatures, hopefully, the super delegates and/or the candidates will realize that the nomination won't be worth anything if it is stolen.

A vote against Health Care Reform is a vote for ten 9/11s every single year!

I agree about clarification (4.00 / 3)
I find it very strange that popular vote, in CA, where I live, is compared against caucus votes with a tiny fraction of participants, who in some cases are mostly "insiders" for the small caucuses.

I think Obama's caucus strategy has been tactically brilliant, but I would have much more confidence in Obama if he had won big in primary states with a lot of turnout. The math of comparing Obama's and Clinton's support is mind-boggling, at best, and is further complicated by the fact the everybody doing the comparison has an axe to grind.

A simple question: is we add up all primary voter and caucus goers, and count their votes exactly the same, which candidate got more votes? Is that candidate the true "popular" choice?

ec=-8.50 soc=-8.41   (3,967 Watts)

[ Parent ]
An answer and a disagreement. (4.00 / 1)
The thing is... With all the population imbalances between CA and the smaller states, all the varying margins of victory and delegate allocations...  The popular vote (when including the early contests) has nearly the same percentage breakdown as the current pledged delegate count.  (ie. miniscule Obama advantages).  That's also without giving proper credit for caucus voters, since we can't count them properly.

In other words... Right now, the pledged delegate count actually IS a pretty accurate measure of the popular vote to date.  

I also don't quite get the argument about him not winning big in states with lots of turnout.  He won huge in GA and IL.  While CA and NY are important states, they aren't the only ones you can pay attention to when trying to make an argument.  And claiming he can't win a big state with high turnout is cherry-picking results rather egregiously.  If what you actually mean is "He makes me nervous because he didn't win CA, NY, and MA" then say that plainly.  If that's why you're nervous though - trust me, you can relax.  Either Obama or Hillary will win all three of those states in November - I think we can bank on that.

[ Parent ]
Designing an election strategy (4.00 / 1)
If you know there are caucuses and primaries - and delegates assigned based on certain conditions in each state - then you design your strategy to match that set of conditions. As an "insurgent" candidate, Obama's folks did not have the established party machine and name recognition which succeeds in large population voting areas (see NH for example) and so - at least it appears to me - designed a strategy to put what they assumed would be limited resources to work in the most effective way - target caucuses which non establishment volunteers can have a lot of influence, target CDs that you can win without entrenched machine support, etc. That's just smart - and working within the way the rules were set up.

To now complain about the caucuses as Clinton supporters are doing is just another line like the sudden concern for voters rights in FL and MI. I have not seen Obama complaining that there are too many primaries and should be more caucuses - instead his campaign is doing their best to be competitive based on the rules at the beginning of the game.

[ Parent ]
Insulting (0.00 / 0)
To now complain about the caucuses as Clinton supporters are doing is just another line like the sudden concern for voters rights in FL and MI.

As a Clinton supporter who's taken issue with caucuses in this thread, I find this pretty insulting.

I, like many on both sides of this primary, have always had a problem with caucuses. At first I thought they were just a weird foreign concept. Then, I realized just how plain disenfranchising they are.  I'd say that no matter who my candidate was, and I'll continue to say that until we replace caucuses with something better.

However, I don't think we should throw out caucuses midstream. No one is advocating that. Caucuses were part of the rules of the game, and all candidates knew that going in. Just like superdelegates were. Just like FL and MI's ridiculous disenfranchisement were part of the rules. Fine.

The only reason I bring up either FL/MI or caucuses, is to illustrate how absurd it is to define the majority's will ("democratic principle") by the number of pledged delegates.  Clearly the way we're allocating pledged delegates does not necessarily reflect the majority's will.  Therefore, I have no problem with superdelegates having the ability to sway the vote if the pledged delegates end up not reflecting that will.  That's all.

[ Parent ]
voters in primary states (0.00 / 0)
have an opportunity to participate, whether by vote or caucus and so have their preference count. If they chose not to caucus, they give up the right to have a say ... (with the exceptions of those who cannot caucus due to work, etc which is why the caucuses on the Strip were such a good idea).

Voters in MI did not have a chance to vote their preference - and voters in FL were told theirs would not be counted and therefore the results cannot be seen as reflective of preferences.

To say the following baffles me:

Clearly the way we're allocating pledged delegates does not necessarily reflect the majority's will.  Therefore, I have no problem with superdelegates having the ability to sway the vote if the pledged delegates end up not reflecting that will.  That's all.

To substitute the elite superdelegates "will" for the voters' is certainly not the way to increase people power.

[ Parent ]
The problem with your logic (4.00 / 1)
Is that assumes we have some access to knowledge about how a fully-enfranchised Fla and Michigan election would look.  We don't.  That's the problem.  The solution isn't to just "go with what we have".  The first step is recognizing that what we have is meaningless.  The decision, then, is between re-doing it to get a meaningful answer, or going forward without either.  

[ Parent ]
dear god (0.00 / 0)
please DONT vote for Bloomberg. Vote for a goat or some other farm animal first. Please, I beg you.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
Chris, thank you... (0.00 / 0)
...and I'm glad that you are coming around.

People powered is people powered.  Not party powered.  They will listen to what the people in the party have to say, or the party will lose.

On the other hand, if the people in the party are divided, then the party must be persuaded that we don't have eight years to wait until we have this discussion again.  

Turn the page...move forward.  The bridge was built.  Now lets cross it!

Clerical Democracy or Treason of the Clerks (0.00 / 0)
The superdelegates are self-perpetuating placeholders who have led this party to decrepitude and failure, but think they should be rewarded. Enron had a better Board of Directors. Look, there is a contested convention looming, and they don't have a clue how to run it.

Have you looked at the Call and Delegate Selection Plan? They will need a three-judge panel to interpret it.

They have failed as the opposition and are conspicuously unfit to rule. They are opposing Obama but dragging down Clinton with their death-grip on the party.

The GOP has actually overcome its problem, somewhat: extremists.

We have not overcome ours: zombies.



Nice. (0.00 / 0)
I'm not sure that I agree with this:

"The GOP has actually overcome its problem, somewhat: extremists."

But I do wit this...

"We have not overcome ours: zombies."

IMO, McCain has real problems with his base, and without the base the GOP never wins.  The Dem base is much more loyal, but 2000 shows that without them we lose too.

Our problem this year is not with the "base", but with who want to turn back the clock to the fights we had in the 1990's.

Let's cross that bridge!

[ Parent ]
One thing (0.00 / 0)
"The GOP has actually overcome its problem, somewhat: extremists."

The GOP right now is a party run by the extremists, with extremists of different stripes vying for control, whether they be

evolution-denying, 110% pro-life, anti-GLBT, God's Law social conservatives,


"The Banks are out to get us", government-destroying paleoconservatives,


supply-side, corporate-welfare-loving, actual-welfare-hating laissez-faire conservatives,


bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb Iran, the military is the economy, diplomacy is for DFHs, screw the UN ultrahawks,

the GOP's problem may be extremists but it's not solved, no no no, if that is the problem, then it's just beginning to fester.

[ Parent ]
Thanks for helping destroy the party (0.00 / 0)
Why do you f***ing men have to go immediately to "total destruction mode" every time you don't get your exact "f***ing way?

You are a bunch of little boys shouting "I will take my ball and go home" every time there is a situation where you might, just might, have to compromise. You guys are every bit as bad as Tom Delay, Mitch McConnell and all the rest of the SOBs on the far right.

All the respect I had for you is GONE!!! You are no better than them.

There is no compromise on democracy (0.00 / 0)
But I'm glad that your respect for me was dependent on me falling in line. And I'm also glad that you registered just to tell me this.  

[ Parent ]
Well ... (4.00 / 1)
that's a bit much and the potty mouth doesn't help ..... but basically I think you're right about this.

Sometimes when you don't get your way in politics, as in life, it's NOT necessarily THE MAN out to get you. It's just a whole lot of good people trying to negotiate a really complex, difficult process with a lot of strongly held opinions.

Part of the problem here is in how the Obama and Clinton supporters view this campaign. The Obama people see it as kind of the earthly manifestation of a glorious cosmic phenomenon -- a "movement" that no one better try and defeat -- whereas the Clinton people see it more as a traditional campaign, albeit with no less enthusiasm. It's true, someone better win this thing by Pennsylvania, because if not it's going to be very very ugly.

[ Parent ]
Well . . . (4.00 / 1)
The Obama people see it as kind of the earthly manifestation of a glorious cosmic phenomenon -- a "movement" that no one better try and defeat -- whereas the Clinton people see it more as a traditional campaign, albeit with no less enthusiasm.

The context is within a party establishment that has almost completely failed to deliver on the 2006 mandate against a wide range of Bush/Cheney policies.  Obama may offer hope and Clinton may call it soap, but to many people it is clear which candidate is most insinuiated into this defunct machinery.  

My point is that, while the call for critical reform is a call to difficult and perhaps even unlikely work, there's nothing supernatural about it.  Despite your miracle-tinged caricature, recent history provides plenty of empirical evidence to justify a campaign that would clean house within the Democratic Party.

USA: 1950 to 2010

[ Parent ]
I don't see it (0.00 / 0)
I don't think "Obama people" think no one had better challenge them any more than Clinton people or, hell, Gravel people.

[ Parent ]
Wow (0.00 / 0)
I don't understand how Clinton supporters can see any of this as optimal, in any circumstance.  This convention will be horrible, and when campaigning for the general election comes along, noone will stop talking about the primary and the mess that our party just went through.  As an Obama supporter, nothing about not counting the MI or FL delegates please me at all.  In fact, at this point, I really wished they had always been allowed to count.  That way, perhaps Clinton would've take some early lead and really just ended this.  But since that's not the case, I don't think there's anyway to just give Michigan to Hillary and give Obama the "other" votes.  As for florida, it's not a state Obama could keep close without campaigning in it, it certainly would favor Hillary in a fair fight now, then, and if it's a 'do-over'.  Now, I do want Obama to win, but I don't want my party to lose.  If Obama edges out Clinton in the pledged delegates right before the convention, and it gets taken from him, our party loses.  On the contrary if Hillary edges out Obama by one single pledged delegate, I would hope all his supporters would hold him accountable and force him to step down.  As someone who obviously wants Hillary to win this, and fairly, I'd assume that you would prefer her to win it outside of the insiders who's vote equals roughly 10,000 of mine or yours.

[ Parent ]
It's Still Too Early To Assume a Worst Case Scenario (0.00 / 0)
There are a lot of horrifying ways this could play out but I'm just trying not to think about the worst case scenarios until it seems closer to happening.  There is still an awful lot of time until the Convention.  One hopeful sign is that both campaigns seemed to step back from what looked like an ugly mess around the South Carolina vote.  Bill Clinton has been publically rather quiet lately.  If nothing else, bith Obama & Clinton are two cool characters -- neither seems like a hothead.  I wish I could say the same for key players in both campaigns.  Anyway, there is a good chance that we can avoid the truly awful scenario that Chris, quite rightly, fears.  It's 2008, not 1968.

"Ya can't always get what you want" (4.00 / 2)
(Gotta love the Rolling Stones)

What an interesting election cycle this has been.  I find all this borderline hysterical drama about candidate legitimacy - in BOTH parties - to be hugely entertaining. Lots of whining on both sides about the various perceived "injustices" and arguing about who's a real ___ and who isn't. As if its ever been any other way in politics.  

BTW, there's a reason I'm an independent even though I only give money to and vote for Dems.. besides them having no balls that is. Teh party apparatus sucks and it always has, IMO.  It was not designed to be "fair" but to be effective. And this goes equally for the Repugs.  If want to change that system ya gotta do it from the inside, and deal with the shit that entails.

Cheers!  Don't let the system get you down... party down instead!

Schul (0.00 / 0)
Yes, I mean a plurality in pledged delegates. Of course, if it were proportional to the pledged delegates Obama would be ahead in super-delegates as well. But there is no real mechanism to assure this sort of assignment. The winner-take-all mechanism is more straightforward.  

The alternative. (4.00 / 2)
I'm on the run, so don't have time to read others' comments until later, so apologies if this covers old ground, but the problem is that no matter how much this process sucks, if we lose to the Repubs the planet and our democracy die, and we probably end up in WW3 given McCain's extreme neo-con war tendencies. The scenario you lay out would truly suck, but the alternative is so much goddam worse.

thats a tired old argument (0.00 / 0)
sometimes you gotta follow your gut.  

[ Parent ]
It's different this time (0.00 / 0)
This isn't 2000. Mike's specifically referring to global warming and war.  Sometimes life vs death takes precedence over "following your gut."

[ Parent ]
its always different (0.00 / 0)
i am not buying it anymore.

[ Parent ]
And (0.00 / 0)
If one supports a corrupt primary process, why expect the results to be anything but the same time after time?

[ Parent ]
At the same time (0.00 / 0)
a very strong argument to the superdelegates for supporting the voters' wishes is if they know that if they do not, people will quit the Democratic Party and they will lose in November. Which makes it that much less likely that the scenario will ever come to pass.

This is a powerful means of exerting pressure. Maybe we should start a pledge?

[ Parent ]
Later, Dude (4.00 / 5)
I like your writing and blog, but if you aren't willing to at least refrain from pitching a hissy fit when the party's rules have backed it into a difficult corner, you and Donna can go start your own party.

I never wanted to kick Lieberman out of the Party because he was wrong on Iraq.  You can be wrong on positions and still be welcome.  I wanted to kick Lieberman out of the party because he couldn't refrain from jumping up on his high horse whenever he got a good chance to make the Party look bad.

The functionaries and minor officials who made the rules did the best they could.  Part of that has, historically, been the inclusion of super-delegates.  And no matter what may have been the origin of the super-delegate system, or what somebody on TGOS wrote about said origin, it has functioned well.  It gives those who live their lives around the clock for the Party a voice in the process.  In most cycles, what happens is that the people make clear which nominee they want, the super-delegates rapidly coalesce around that person once the people's selection is clear, and the nominee gets a majority that puts him over the top, the media stops focusing on our internal squabbles and poof! the whole thing's over and we can start marshalling our forces for the fall.

Didn't work that way this time, and we're going to have to make the best of the shape we're in.  Now please allow the officials, the candidates, and Dr. Dean to scurry off behind the curtain and try to find a way to put things right.  Having a bunch of screaming drama queens setting pre-negotiation absolute standards is not going to help.

And really, if you're not willing to do that, it's been real, and don't let the screen door hit you, etc. . . .

Totally excellent response! (4.00 / 1)
I very much enjoyed reading that... thanks!

[ Parent ]
I don't care (0.00 / 0)
I don't care about the process that led to the current DNC system. Or, at least I don't care about it as much as I care about the people in that system upholding the principles of democracy.

[ Parent ]
Oh? What principles would those be? (4.00 / 1)
The ones that say that no one who voted in Florida counts because the state party idiots decided to play chicken with the DNC and lost?

I'll get mad if the scenario you talk about -- one candidate leapfrogging the other with superdelegates -- ONLY if a fair (and let's be clear, that means pro-Clinton) solution is found for the Florida delegates. Michigan too, although that's not as clear and probably should be a more 50/50 split of delegates.

[ Parent ]
Principles of Democracy (4.00 / 1)
Hillary wins popular vote in Nebraska but Barack gets more delegates.

Bigger: Gore wins popular vote but Bush becomes president.

Of course these don't mesh with the principles of democracy. The point is that the system is fucked up and needs to be fixed. But I don't see how the superdelegates can bother you more than the arcane ways pledged delegates are being assigned.  If anything, the superdelegates are able to correct flaws in the pledged delegate count.  If we had superdelegates in the electoral college, maybe Al Gore would be president.

[ Parent ]
Are you Suggesting... (4.00 / 4)
Are you somehow suggesting that those of us who participated in the McGovern-Fraser Commission Process to reform the Delegate Selection Process in 1970-71 -- in the wake of a Chicago Convention that featured a Police Riot and blood in the Streets -- caused in part because the old rules didn't even permit a minority Platform Plank against the War in Vietnam to come to the floor for debate, were not concerned with Democracy?  

You know, my knowledge of party rules goes back to some old timers I knew in my youth who fought the old 2/3rds rule in the wake of 1932, and succeeded.  That took away from the Solid South a Veto on a Presidential and VP nomination based on States Rights and those lovely principles of Segregation.  

Then there was 1948 -- when ADA and Labor backed a floor fight on the Civil Rights Plank, causing the Dixiecrats and ole Strom Thurmond to walk out of the Convention.  Humphrey's Sunshine Speech, which won the day combined rejection of Racism, American Style, with a response to the Holocaust.  Good fight, and we won it under the old rules.

In 1964, as a Civil Rights Worker and a Party Activist, I was part of the fight before the Credentials Committee regarding the Freedom Democratic Party of Mississippi getting their delegation seated, as opposed to the party boss slate of all white segregationists.  Won a compromise, and promise of a rules change that would allow black participation in Delegate Selection in the Deep South, a year before we got a Voting Rights Bill.  

The McGovern-Fraser Commission was about clearing out the remains of bad practice, and carefully crafting the best possible system of proportional representation.  And yes, every four years the ongoing Rules Commission of the DNC examines everything, and fine tunes the rules along the lines of those principles.  The DNC did that in 2005 for this cycle, and the rules have been there for all to read since then.  

[ Parent ]
McGovern-Fraser (0.00 / 0)
Super delegates took on their current importance and numbers in 1982, not during McGovern-Fraser.

And, as I have made clear, my problem is not with super delegates per say. Just with super delegates who would vote against the majority of primary and caucus participants, and thus swing the nomination.  

[ Parent ]
And here is where we agree (0.00 / 0)
Where we disagree seems to be in the definition of "majority of primary and caucus participants."

The way delegates are being allocated does not reflect the majority's will. I'm not sure why you insist that the outcome should be based on the number of pledged delegates.  

[ Parent ]
Why (0.00 / 0)
Because of a 1 delegate disparity in Nevada?

You're going to equate that to a pile of party officials overruling the expressed will of the rank and file?

Look, caucuses are bad, but going into Nevada, there would be no one reasonably guessing that Obama would win more delegates even if he didn't get more supporters out.  It worked out that way.

Going into this superdelegate mess, it's pretty unlikely that the SD's will choose Obama if Hillary has more pledged delegates, but plausible they will do the reverse.

It's one thing to end up with a mildly undemocratic result through no plan on anyone's part, and one which could have favoured either candidate too, and a totally other thing for a small group of people to deliberately decide to thwart democracy.

[ Parent ]
No (4.00 / 1)
Because someone who wins 34% can get the same number of delegates as someone who wins 64% in some districts.  It's a system that plausibly, though not necessarily, can result in the winner of the popular vote not winning the most pledged delegates.  Similar to the electoral college.  

My earlier point was that I think it could be a good thing if the delegates would swing the outcome to the winner of the popular vote in the event that that winner does not have the most pledged delegates.  

[ Parent ]
What's the alternative? (0.00 / 0)
One of the problems I have with your reasoning is that I think it is setting the bar pretty high to make a decision to stay in a party based on the actions of a relatively small group of individuals. After all these are individuals who will each make up their own minds in the end. You didn't renounce the party when Lieberman was still in it. He sucks, but he's one individual. I'm not saying you shouldn't necessarily raise hell about the situation, just that you have more leverage from the inside.

My other problem is that your solution seems impractical. If you really want to see positive change, what is the alternative? It is functionally a two party system. I wish we had some form of instant runoff voting or proportional representation, but we don't. I think that in practical terms, your leaving would basically mean giving up. The undemocratic forces in the party would surely be gleeful at your departure. And your positive impact for future change will probably be diminished. But that's your decision. I have great respect for you, even if I disagree with your thinking on this.

[ Parent ]
That's all well and good (4.00 / 1)
But threats never work.  People just get their backs up, like I did.

Express your opinions.  In point of fact, I largely agree with your ideas about eliminating the super-delegate votes and seating Florida and Michigan, and I think that's an excellent starting point for meaningful negotiation between the parties.  But if you really want that to happen, loudly announcing that only a certain pre-determined outcome is acceptable is a terrible way to get there.

The necessary negotiations, for there will be negotiations, will proceed much more smoothly if less external pressure is applied.  Again, your ideas are good as a starting point; continue to publicize them.  Just don't demand them.  Demands are much more likely to invoke the kind of hostile energy you stirred up in this thread, and much less likely to invoke a receptive and open-minded audience.

What goes through people's minds when they hear the threats is that the party doesn't need prima donnas.  It's a team effort.  The party would love to hang on to your energy and smarts, but not if you're going to make loud trouble every time the going gets tough.

[ Parent ]
their best isn't very good (0.00 / 0)
what is up with this benevolence that is supposedly bestowed upon us by the highest powered party members?

"those who live their lives around the clock for the Party"

what is that? name one politician who is living her life for the party? there are some good politicians for sure, but only a few and even they are not living for the party. Electeds do not live some hardship in doing their job they asked for. They don't need a xmas bonus vote in our primaries. they get paid, they get a lot of secondary benefits, they can do their job and be glad if we approve and elect them the next cycle. otherwise they can shut up. we don't owe them a thing.

democracy blows, but it sure beats the alternatives, like a cabal of self appointed geniuses nulling the voice of the people.  

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
wtf (4.00 / 1)
What is it about Barack Obama that turns his supporters into whiny temper tantrum having brats?

If you are going to throw a temper tantrum because of superdelegates, you'd better accept the Florida and Michigan votes, because those were people's voices--if you're going to say that's your value, be consistent, or stfu.

I seriously think I am going to scream if I read another Obama person threatening to throw their bottle on the floor and cry if their hero doesn't win.

MI and Fl should count, but (0.00 / 0)
How do you call that democracy when Obama wasn't even on the ballot in MI (not sure about FL).  Flip the scenario, you don't think Hillary wouldn't be crying about this if she were in Obama's shoes.  Lawsuits would already be on file.    

[ Parent ]
Separate FL and MI (0.00 / 0)
They are not the same issue. In Florida everyone was on the ballot and no one campaigned. It was an absolute fair fight. Those delegates should absolutely count and Hillary has a completely fair point here. In Michigan only HRC was on the ballot, so not a fair fight. Although truth be told, it went down that way because Obama -- no one else --got all his fellow candidates except Clinton to boycott the state. So his fault, really. Nonetheless, I'd support a 50/50 split there.

[ Parent ]
I disagree (4.00 / 1)
Florida was fair?  That was a fair election?  A fair election is where all candidates have the oppurtunity to express their ideas and the voters get to hear those ideas.  

You didn't answer my point about Hillary being on the other side of this issue.  Can you honestly tell me that you would be ok with this if Obama had won those states.  

The whole thing stinks and the FL/MI votes should be heard, but I have yet to see anything that approaches being fair.            

[ Parent ]
And what about the fact that FL was considered a beauty contest? (0.00 / 0)
I get your points:

a. A LOT of people voted in Florida - magnificent turnout.
b. All names were on the ballot.

So in that sense, yes, those votes should count.

On the other hand,

There wasn't any ground game, there wasn't people encouraging their friends and neighbors to vote - in this case, Obama's people weren't involved.

Not, I'm pretty sure Hilar would have won anyway, but she would have won with a lesser percentage of the vote.

So what would you do about a skewed vote?

The only way to really handle this, is to have ANOTHER primary. That's the only fair way.  If people knew there would be a primary that COUNTED, you'd get even MORE people voting


The second best way, is to c

[ Parent ]
It's Florida, not the moon (4.00 / 2)
We do get national media here, folks, and those of us that were interested - likely primary voters - watched all the debates and the coverage.  And yes, we even talked to our friends and neighbors and encouraged them to vote.  We have Sen Bill Nelson, who, as much as I lament his not taking stronger stands on most issues I care about, has been a lion fighting for our delegates to somehow get seated. No Democrat I know thought this would be end up 'just a beauty contest'.  

We don't need candidates here in person to know what they are like and how they stand on the issues. It would have been great to go to an Obama rally or Clinton town hall, and I'm sure they would have changed some minds, but as long as the information we did have was balanced, I see no reason for a do-over.  I saw yard signs for Obama in my neighborhood, and Clinton elsewhere, so I assume there was some local campaign structure in place to get out the vote.  

The whole operation was just smaller than it would have been, and turnout lower, but a preference was expressed.  We always want higher turnout in all out elections, but that odes not mean that the people who do show up to vote should not count.

[ Parent ]
An election without a ground game (0.00 / 0)
An election without a ground game seems more representative to me than an election with a ground game. It's all a fair part of trying to win, but often the ground game amounts to things like which candidate can provide better transportation to the polls for their supporters. The ground game brings in money, churches, and other things that we seen the GOP leverage over the last 14 years.

ec=-8.50 soc=-8.41   (3,967 Watts)

[ Parent ]
A Better Way . . . (0.00 / 0)
In Florida everyone was on the ballot and no one campaigned. It was an absolute fair fight.


Why should prospective political leaders even stoop down into the muck of campaigning at all?  

It would be much more fair to choose our candidates based only on news reports from qualified journalists.

USA: 1950 to 2010

[ Parent ]
Don't forget their videos... (0.00 / 0)
...and Facebook.

[ Parent ]
any sarcasm in that? (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Filled (0.00 / 0)
With sarcasm to the brim!

Along these lines, my other 'fairness' suggestion would be to forego elections as well as campaigns.  

Too often the discourse and other 'soft' qualities surrounding candidacy unfairly disrupts the ability of majority demographic identities to achieve proportionate representation.  Instead, 'Candidates' should simply be matched to specific geographic districts by the majority race/gender/age/income identity-group in each district.


USA: 1950 to 2010

[ Parent ]
What? (0.00 / 0)
I hope you don't think I'm stupid, but I had to read that a few times.  The more I read it, the better it gets.

[ Parent ]
You aren't stupid. (0.00 / 0)
It's the curse of my deadpan 'humor'.

USA: 1950 to 2010

[ Parent ]
I don't agree with him on this, but... (4.00 / 1)
I haven't seen any evidence that Chris Bowers is a committed Obama supporter. I have seen plenty of reluctance on this blog to support Obama, in fact.

[ Parent ]
Exactly. (0.00 / 0)
Can't complain about superdelegates if MI and FL don't even count.

[ Parent ]
Actually you can (4.00 / 1)
Because they are seperate issues and the solution to one does not limit solutions to the other.

[ Parent ]
Testing the Existing Rules, and Not Just Making them on the Fly (4.00 / 3)
The notion that, without real reference or even comprehension of existing rules, and the extensive legislative (party bodies) history or the actual precidents, we should change our rules in mid-process is a very weak argument.  We never designed the Primary and Caucus rules as a measure of "popular support" -- for that we could just commission an elaborate set of polls.  They were designed as a means of allowing and encouraging party activists to reduce a large field to a smaller one, and ultimately select the Nominee best for office in a particular election environment, recognizing that "best" is multi-factored. We also set convention rules designed to resolve disputes, such as the Florida/Michigan Credentials matter.  In fact, right now we have no reason to believe that most of these rules won't work -- unless you think like GWBush, and like to snip offending bits out of the Constitution when it seems against a gut instinct of what is best for me today.  

And yes, back in the early 70's when the McGovern-Fraser Commission was redesigning delegate selection rules, we did have people who lost one or another argument, and picked up their marbles and went home.  Most of them represented the old Party Boss Machines and Labor; in some cases they sabotaged the campaign in 72, but many were back by 76, having learned to function within the new system.  Eventually they understood the virtue of putting senior elected officials instead of Machine Bosses and Labor Bosses in the privileged position that Superdelegates today occupy. Afterall, those Senior Elected Officials walk around everyday with a sign that says "Democrat" around their neck.  They have a leadership role to play should the Convention deadlock on the first ballot, and they have a leadership responsibility to send the Convention home united behind a candidate and Campaign that is for much more than President.  So let's stop trying to redesign the party on the fly, learn the rules, use them and see if it produces a workable outcome.    

I agree (4.00 / 2)
Although, I left the Democratic party some years ago. When the Democratic party puts up a good candidate, I vote for them. If they don't then I vote for a third party candidate.

If the party can't find a way to nominate a candidate who is filling stadiums across the country with excited voters, well ... I can't say I'd be surprised. That's why I'm no longer a Democrat.

I am with you Chris (0.00 / 0)
I will quit the Democratic party that I have supported my whole adult life if the super delegates go against a clear delegate majority.

My only difficulty is determining what clear is in this case. I think if Barrack won the pop vote including Florida, that would be enough for me. If it is within that margin, then it doesn't seem clear to me- it would seem like a royal mess.

There is a margin for error (0.00 / 0)
At which point I am OK with the process taking over. That is one of the situations.  

[ Parent ]
We agree after all n/t (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Re: (4.00 / 2)
I am so incredibly sick of people trying to blackmail the party.

How I could quit the Democratic party (4.00 / 1)
When I heard Donna Brazile make that comment I realized that I too could quit the party. I never thought my own party would need a high colonic, but it is becoming more evident every day that a purge is the only thing that can save it.
After George Bush, I thought the Dems would be in power for a very long time, but its looking more and more like just a fleeting possibility as this story develops. Party leaders need to fix this problem well in advance of August, and they need to make public their intent, or the rush to get out of the party will be drowned out by the cheers from the Repugs.

Quit the Party if . . . ? (4.00 / 1)
So!  In the interest of Democracy, when it is all said and done, if Clinton has a few thousand more popular votes than Obama, but Obama has just enough delgates to be nominated, all you highly principled , noblity gonna leave the party on principle? Or only if YOUR horse loses?  No wonder we've had eight years of Cheney-Bush!!!! We deserve it. Grow up.

[ Parent ]
Quitting the Democratic Party (0.00 / 0)

The rules are the rules, as you Obamazoids have often reminded the rest of us.  Change them for the next election cycle, but that's the way it is [to quote a famous honest jounalist].

Rule change? (4.00 / 3)
Many commenters such as yourself have objected to a supposed "changing of the rules". Please state the rule and the change that you think is being proposed to it.

[ Parent ]
Also (4.00 / 1)
Refrain from using derisive terms like "obamazoids."

It's unnecessarily provocative.

[ Parent ]
GBCW is never a useful attitude (4.00 / 3)
(a) Epic fail.
(b) The DC establishment will be more than happy to let the door hit your fanny on the way out. One less thorn in their side.
(c) Do you really want to emulate Donna Brazile, one of the key persons responsible for shrinking Gore's voter turnout enough to allow Bush to steal the election?

Hey, if that's what it takes (0.00 / 0)
let's face it, the democratic party may have outlived it's usefulness (to ordinary citizens, that is).  

[ Parent ]
Well Chris, you totally pissed me off last night (0.00 / 0)
with all the grand hullabaloo about HRC reaching out to the grassroots, which was really out of desperation and NOTHING MORE and now you go and write the exact thing that I am feeling about the superdelegates.

Count me in on this one...if the candidate with the most votes from the primaries and caucuses is not the nominee...

***putting on my hat and exiting the door***

If not NOW, when?

Cool (0.00 / 0)
Very principled. Just put me in the sore loser category, because I am going independent if democrats nominate the Clintons. I won't go down that road again.  

Chris, don't assume more people disagree with you... (4.00 / 4)
...just because fewer have replied to agree. I honestly didn't feel the need to say anything until I saw all these comments, because to simply say "I agree" seems redundant and not a helpful comment.

I agree that changing the results when one candidate already has 1% (of some meaningful margin) of lead in pledged delegates would be outrageous and I would do more than just quit the party. I would add that counting Michigan delegates where only Clinton was on the ballot is also outrageous. Counting Florida is very unfair, because a primary without campaigning does not give voters a true informed choice, but I would stop short of using the term "outrageous" in that case.

One could argue that having different methods (4.00 / 1)
of delegate selection by state is outrageous.
It's quite possible Hillary Clinton will come to the convention with a majority of voters, but fewer delegates.
I personally am very troubled by Obama's reliance on caucus victories. Since that has NOT been accompanied by wins in big state voting primaries, he is not showing electoral strength with his caucus wins.

I am really disgusted with Chris and Donna B.
They are trying to blackmail the party into choosing Obama.  

[ Parent ]
about your "concern" (0.00 / 0)
Let's see... Feb 5...

New York - Illinois
New Jersey - Missouri
Massachusetts - Georgia

Okay, so Hillary Clinton won the unique state of California.  But to say that there is some failure be comparable on big primary wins is absolutely false.  

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

[ Parent ]
more than 2-1 population margin in the (0.00 / 0)
totals of those three states. Your point?

[ Parent ]
So what exactly are you saying? (0.00 / 0)
That you're worried Obama will lose CA, NY, NJ or MA in the General Election? That ridiculous point has already been debunked many times here.

[ Parent ]
seating FL delegates (0.00 / 0)
All major candidates names were on the FL ballots, so I can't see why their delegates can't be proportionately seated.

When the situation favors Obama, his followers scream if any changes are suggested, but when the reverse occurs, they scream again that it's unfair--you little babies.

All I can say to anyone who leaves the party because of this issue is:  don't slam the door behind you.

[ Parent ]
Don't slam the door? (0.00 / 0)
So you'd like the Democratic party to well rid of people like Donna and Chris, and constitute a permanent minority?

[ Parent ]
Don't slam the door (0.00 / 0)
Purests are always going to be disappointed over some issue and another.  Focus your attention on the REAL ISSUE--getting a democrat, any democrat into the Oval Office this year.  Just because it may not be your favorite is just too bad.  Someone has to lose!!

[ Parent ]
democracy (0.00 / 0)
Isn't "some issue or another"

Don't downplay this.  If Clinton wins the nomination without a mandate from the voters, McCain will tear her apart over it.  

Even the most hard core Clinton partisans should realize that would be a pyrrhic victory.  Of course it would be for Obama too, but I don't see him winning the nomination that way (by superdelegates) in any case.

And yes "someone has to lose" and it should be the person who gets less ordinary voters to the polls.

[ Parent ]
Regarding Florida, go back and read my comment again (0.00 / 0)
As for the rest of your comment, there is nothing to respond to. I am here for intelligent conversation with adults, I do not see any logical arguments in your two last paragraphs.

[ Parent ]
Its inherent fairness (4.00 / 3)
I'm a Hillary supporter, and the last thing I want to see is her election ending in a staged crowning in a boileroom brawl between rich fat cats who are no different than a Diebold machine when you get right down to it.
The Democratic party needs to solve this problem well in advance of the August convention and they need to let us know exactly what they intend to do about this. The process whatever it is, needs to be fair and transparent.

If the superdelegates pick a candidate... (4.00 / 2)
...contrary to the legitimate outcome of primaries and caucuses, when the winner of the primaries and caucuses happens to be an African-American, Chris will not be the only person leaving the Democratic party.

That's just a practical observation, not a moral one. The injustice doesn't depend on the race of the victimized candidate, of course. It would be unjust, undemocratic and unprincipled no matter the race or gender of the rejected winner of the popular contests.

And, I think, it is highly unlikely that any of the superdelegates would jeopardize their own futures with such a move.

Practically speaking, if a handful of  elite just happen for the first time ever to toss out the results of the primaries and caucuses when it appears an African-American has been the victor in those contests, then hell will be paid.

We've had parties dissolve before, and new parties begin, and I strongly believe this would precipitate that.

If one's moral view is that the voices of the many should be heard, and that the best decisions are made by the broadest and most diverse group of people, abandoning those views is, well, tragic.

It would be madness. It would be brutally and stupidly selfish for a candidate to even consider asking the superdelegates to do such a thing.

Super delegates (4.00 / 1)
The party has been doing this since 1972--get over it.  

If you don't like the system, change it for the next presidential cycle.  Every candidate knew the score coming into the game!

[ Parent ]
Empty rebuttal (0.00 / 0)
"Get over it"?   I seem to remember the last time we were told to get over it, it was Republicans saying it after they stole the 2000 election.  

Superdelegates have existed yes, but they never changed the popular outcome of an election.

Just like the Electoral college existed prior to 2000 but it's often true that people only really take notice of a process when it breaks.  

And there's no reason to wait for the next cycle to critique what is an indefensible system.  I'm reading the clinton partisans here and their only argument in support of the superdelegates changing the popular outcome is "that's the system."

Yes, Socrates, drink the hemlock because the law says to!  It's a total non-sequitur to say the system is just because it is the system.

[ Parent ]
I'll second that (0.00 / 0)
get over it...please, that's so republican.

[ Parent ]
Get over it (0.00 / 0)
I assume that means you agree with not seating delegates from MI and FL.  That was the system in place when the primary season began.

[ Parent ]
GlennWSmith (0.00 / 0)
Well said

[ Parent ]
Super delegates (0.00 / 0)
Notice that the super delegates issues is not the new MSM meme?!  They want Obama to be the Democratic nominee, but he might not get there if more of the super delegates commit themselves to Hillary.  That's the new message of the moment--don't be fooled!

Michigan delegates (4.00 / 1)
Here's part of the reason that a lot of us will go batshit nuclear if they try to seat the Michigan delegates according to the bogus primary that Hillary 'won.'

Let's imagine ourselves as an African-American voter in Detroit, understandably excited about the opportunity to cast a ballot in the Michigan primary for the first person of color to get anywhere near the Presidency.  But you then find out that you've been marginalized from the process by some arcane rules snafu within the Party.  Your guy isn't even on the ballot.  Worse, you then learn that the establishment white candidate (Hillary) has walked away with delegates from your state, and she goes on to win the nomination.

This is a potentially catastrophic situation for the Democratic Party, and I think it's time for Chairman Howard Dean to step forward and make it clear that however the Party chooses to resolve this, no unfair advantage will be gained by either of the participants in the race.  That has to be the starting place for the conversation; anything less has the potential to tear the Party apart.    

exactly (4.00 / 1)
Seating delegates from Michigan and Florida disenfranchises all the voters who correctly believed that the election wasn't meant to count. All of this changing the rules after the fact garbage from the Clinton campaign is revolting and toxic.

[ Parent ]
The "superdelegates" were placed there to... (4.00 / 1)
provide a check to the "masses" making a mistake and having the collective wisdom of party insiders and leaders correct it. You knew this, or should have, if you studied history. Why do you now take a stand? The democratic party has hardly been Democratic throughout its history. Only recently have we even had primaries and voting for candidates.  

Why not quit now? (4.00 / 1)
Seriously, you may as well just quit now. Because the rules already state that the nomination process is not democratic. Even if the result is in line with the majority, the process is still not democratic. And if you're not willing to stick around in the party and help change the rules so they're in line with principles you believe in, then why are you sticking around? Either you believe the principles are worth fighting for, or you don't.

Even if today's delegates and superdelegates happen to choose the same candidate as the popular majority, that has no bearing on what will happen in the future. The process isn't democratic, no matter who today's delegates vote for.

So, you're right in saying that intra-party democracy is an important principle, but it's sounds like either way you've already given up on it. bummer.

what this reflects is how big a rift (0.00 / 0)
this could create in the Dem party. If we consider that Chris is a very prominent blogger, this kind of statement is highly unusual. When you are a person of public prominence, unless you are say Al Sharpton, it is generally risky to take the more extreme position in a debate. I doubt you would see this from a front page writer on DailyKos, but if you do you'll know things are really headed over the cliff. Statements like this blog post usually only come from the most nihilistic of activists. And yet here it is. Nihilism in the Dem party is going mainstream inside the activist community! Echoes of 2000?

This is not actually too surprising either, as there is already significant pent up frustration with the Dem leadership right now within the progressive activist community. This could be a final straw. The unfortunate thing is, unless a defection is total and complete and resistance is made as a long term commitment, defectors may not enjoy much positive benefit for a long time. However, defectors will know that losing straight up is always a lot better than just being someone's bitch. Revenge is delicious. Dem party operatives would be wise to note that its now on the menu.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

Paper tigers...all bark and no bite (4.00 / 1)
I'm tired of hearing how people will walk away if this or that happens. It rivals the usual cry of "primary them" when the writer doesn't know squat about what it takes to unseat an incumbent.

Chris is crying wolf....

[ Parent ]
paper tiger (0.00 / 0)
is a nice description of the party as a whole. Hardly matters at all if democrats use this term on any one of their own. Lame that they use it on someone trying to save it from becoming a branch of the republican party. As for, 'the writer doesn't know squat about what it takes to unseat an incumbent.'---Sounds like Bush complaining because it's such hard work. The DLC is well paid, actually many would say overpaid.  

[ Parent ]
Total, complete, long term commitment (0.00 / 0)
is certainly a requirement. Given the many years that the democratic party has been in full retreat, adopting a long term perspective is a good idea for the ones who would decide, with only too much reason, to stop propping it up.
The democratic party takes the left, women, and minorities totally for granted. And the way it has handled labor unions is a disgrace. Face it, the democratic party has been an abject failure, and now we're supposed to enable them further for fear of the chickenhawk right?  

[ Parent ]
This is a debacle (4.00 / 1)
Proportional Representation has caused this debacle

The link is to a post by Ben Smith in which a 1992 paper by Anthony Corrado and Tad Devine is embedded.  Devine was the person who counted the delegates for Dukakis in 1988. Back then there was a mix of a few state proportional and some winner take all.  
In order to have peaceful convention and because in theory Dukakis felt it seemed more democratic, he agreed to try to change the rules....In 1990 they were adopted.

Devine sets out 4 scenarios and one of them is this potential looming disaster for the Democratic party and concomitantly for the American people.

By the way in the post is another article in which Devine tells you the division rules for 3,4,5, 6 delelgate disticts.  The even numbered distiricts are screwy and in many ways one could say the results are also fundamentally non democratic.  

In a 4 delegate CD the winner would have to get 62.5% of the votes and be ahead of the second candiate by 25 points ...62.45% and a lead of 24% and the delegation is 2 to 2 , an even split....the same kind of numbers with 6 delegate CD's. the vast majority of the CD's are evenly numbered CDs.  

One could reasonably, more than reasonably question whether this is democratic....and all over there were just such happened in NY....landslide wins and the delegate numbers are evenly split.

The above is a recipe for a deadlock disaster....It is not in any party's interest to have the nominee win b 1%.  

Oddly the article lays out 4 scenarios, one of them is this one.  Another was it seems that the early states role was to springboard a candidates so the this kind of deadlock could be avoided. It was assumed people would run out of money and support as the winner accumulated the wins in the first few states.

This debacle is design flaw in a supposed attempt to create more democracy.  As you can see there isn't necessarily any more democracy in this at all.

I think proportional representation should be ditched....but I am an absolutiost...just like Chris is.

Another and maybe easier solution that ameliorate this deadlock was proposed by a ore judicious person....eleminate the even numbered districtt.  All districts should have odd numbers.  

Why would that help?  Odd numbered districts should give you a real democratic outcome.  To win in odd numbered you need in  a 2 person race, (or more is the 15% threshold is not met)  to get 51% of the vote.  You don't need to win by 25 points to avoid an even split.  The even splits are causing the problems (at least as how I see it now) With uneven splits someone could accumulate enough delegates to create a lead that is credible to all observers.

1% may be mathematically fair but frankly it's a poltical disater in this case. Especially since there are so many possible ways for people of good faith to count differently...based on different ideas of fairness and democracy.

This kind of reform to me is as I said before another democratic, progressive stlye reform that has run iniative and referenda.  


"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"

I tried t make changes but Open Left is loading so slowly (0.00 / 0)
that i eventually gave up. It would just have the logo only for minutes at a time.  It's been doing this for--loading slowly for weeks.  is it just me?  

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"

[ Parent ]
nope (0.00 / 0)
sometimes it happens here, too.

[ Parent ]
The nerve that the superdelegates shock... (0.00 / 0) their mere existence seems authoritarian. Democrats don't respond well to those who presume to dictate what they should think or who they should support. Both candidates must accept that to win the nomination in a manner that is other than open and democratic would be self-defeating - Chris's post admirably illustrates the fact that a nominee who is perceived to be imposed cannot hope to prevail in the general election.

The MI Ballot (0.00 / 0)
I'm still wondering why no one told Edwards and Obama that removing their names from the MI ballot was a foolhardy move. If the party insiders knew that the MI primary would count at the convention, why did they let JRE/OHB remove their names from the ballot?

Someone inside the party was snickering at thier ignorance behind their backs.

Jabberwonk! Reality Based Link Dump

Assume the worst case scenario (0.00 / 0)
in which you decide to leave the democratic party. What then? Start a new party, join a different party, stay out of any party, what? I would be up for starting a new party or exploring the more left leaning parties that are in existence. Of course this wouldn't be enough, to the extent that it would be possible, all of the stones in the democratic party should be overturned and exposed to the light of day. Because it is clear that, regarding the left, as far as the democratic party is concerned it has become their way or the highway, correct? Once one decides to take the highway (or high road, if you prefer) it then becomes necessary to compete with (and debunk) the democrats. And avoid the fear tactics that would certainly ensue regarding the republicans. The left might have a certain Stockholm Syndrome vis the democrats, perhaps it's time to break out.

Stay Strong (0.00 / 0)

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

Can I have your parking place? (0.00 / 0)

What democratic standards? (4.00 / 1)
I sympathize with Chris' position. But, for me, there has already been so much disenfranchisement for Democrats in this primary season, that his issue with the Super delegates is a minor detail! I cannot believe how many states have chosen to use the caucus system to allocate their party delegates. I really do not understand how anyone could think that using a caucus "get-together" can be anywhere nearly as representative and democratic compared to a primary election. A good example of what I mean will be acted out today when we Washingtonians get to "vote". My wife will attend the local caucus - I have to stay home with our young daughter. No other options for me to participate or have my vote counted. How many times does this scenario get repeated for caucus-state people? I would imagine that there are 10's of thousands of families out there who experience the same de-facto disenfranchisement. For our family, it means that 50% of our votes are not counted!

To me it seems obvious that a caucus system will over-represent some segments of the electorate, and under-represent others. How is that fair, let alone democratic?

In this particular contest, Obama's wins have come mostly from caucus states. Is that a coincidence? I don't think so. I do think that if, here in Washington, our primary (held on Feb 19) actually meant something (as far as delegates were concerned), we would see quite a different result than what is predicted will occur today.

Question (0.00 / 0)
How many people in this thread will quit the party if Clinton wins thousands more votes during primary season, but Obama comes up ahead in pledged delegates and wins the nomination?

Who will question our nominee's legitimacy then?

Quit Donna Brazile! QUIT! (0.00 / 0)
Who cares if Donna Quits the democratic party or not??? I wish she would quit. As I recall, she did not run such a great Gore campaign. She kept Bill Clinton away for fear of offending voters (over a blow job?). Give me a break!

Who do you think stripped MI and FL of the delegates in the first place? DONNA was one of the 16 who voted to strip the delegates. So for her run around screaming she will quit if her OBAMA doesn't win...then do it. Donna has done more damage to democratic party then any good. She is a loser and a very bad one at that. Gore never should have lost the election but apparently she was such a wonderful democrat running from Bill Clinton all the way to losing the white house.

Thank you Donna, leave if you must...i wont miss you at all. See yah!

Donna quits (0.00 / 0)
AMEN!!  Donna was trying to rig the system for Barack, and now  she's crying.

I've been a democrat since 1964 and voted for my first presidential candidate, good old George M. in 1972 [you had to be 21 in those days to vote].

This super delegate meme that the press is pushing and all of you are falling for, is just another way of dividing us further, and getting their candidate, Barack, the nomination.  Then, they'll pillory him because they IDOLIZE Johnnie Mack.

Push this at your peril!  Have we learned nothing as a party over the last 50 years?????  Donna Brazille's advice is the last thing we need now--look where it got us in 2000?

[ Parent ]
You can't be serious (0.00 / 0)
You actually said that we're being suckered by the media into dividing ourselves because of some trumped-up issue with superdelegates? You're actually implying the "don't look back here, there's nothing behind this curtain" defense?

Ohhh...I understand you now; the not-at-all-unseemly power the superdelegates have is going to be used wisely, while we silly rank-and-file Dems will hold our cute little sham primaries and caucuses, but if perchance there be even TWO candidates getting close to the same amount of votes and/or delegates, then those wise elders know that we have failed in our duty to make up our collective mind on a candidate, and they must take ultimate responsibility for choosing our nominee for us.

While they're doing that, can they change our collective diaper, too?

[ Parent ]
funny (0.00 / 0)
Who cares if Donna Quits the democratic party or not??? I wish she would quit.

LOL and hear, hear!  Maybe she could work on torpedoing the GOP for a while.  

[ Parent ]
I don't see how the math works. (0.00 / 0)
lets see: there are 4,050 total delegates; there are 795 super delegates, that leaves 3255.

At this point, Edwards has 26, Hillary has 1,118, Obama 1,112.

There are at this point 1794 left to be chosen (includes michigan and florida); and if Hillary got 907 of them she would win; if Obama got 913 he would win ....

and that includes the super delegates.

Only a fool would believe that the margin would be greater than the number of superdelegates so of course it could be said that the superdelegates will choose the winner; just as the number of delegates chosen in caucuses, which disenfranchise a large number of people and have a ridiculously small number of people voting, can be said to be choosing the winner.

(note: if the caucuses were to be split fairly evenly, they might have the appearance of fairness, every state's opinion polls have nearly matched the real primaries but not the caucuses - This is why we have superdelegates, so that if a small group made the effort to 'stuff the ballot box' by carrying the caucuses they would not be able to hijack the party)

Let's face it; outside of a national primary, there is no way to do this democratically, which is not the point.

Each political party has the right to choose anyone they want at the convention, even someone who hasn't competed in any primary or caucus up to that point. They (theoretically) choose who they think has the best chance of winning the election; who - usually - has been vetted by the primary / caucus process.

What we have is two candidates who are almost equal and will have nearly half of the party supporting them by the convention.

I don't accept the 'if my candidate does not win the nomination I'm going to take my ball and go home' attitude; that's how we got Richard Nixon. If you really believe in the center left tradition of the Democratic Party it should be 'My party, may she always be right; but my party right or wrong'.

The Superdelegats were put in place to subvert democracy (0.00 / 0)
This can't be a surprise to anyone who knows why the SDs were established in the first place.  

I can't stand the Dem party anyway so I'm not going to leave it for living up to my expectations.  I'm mostly fascinated to see how they're going to get out of shooting Chekhov's gun if they decide that's what they even want to try to do.

Superdelegates, democracy, and this blog (0.00 / 0)
First off:  I'm an Independent.  I was raised as a democrat in a democrat household.  Coming of age, I despised Bush1 and his CIA pedigree and the dark deeds performed by the whole bunch of Republicans. I was incensed by the Iran/Contra scandal and wanted them all out.

I did see something that disturbed me, and that was when in the Iran/Contra hearings when certain Democrats seemed to provide cover for certain scary things, I'm thinking specifically of Inouye running interference for Ollie North when Jack Brooks started questioning the plan to suspend the Constitution and institute martial rule, but other moments as well. Those were the first cracks in my support for Democrats. Still, I was looking forward to a Democrat to vote for in 1992 to sweep those jerks out of Washington.

Unfortunately, the party lost any appeal for me in 1992 with Clinton.  I went and saw him speak a couple of times, and read all I could about him. The guy was just seemed like a liar to me and I couldn't in good conscience vote for him.  I've not seen anyone the Democrats have fielded since then that I like and that they've supported (I like Dodd and Kucinich this time around, and third place in my list would be Obama).  Still, here we are 2008, and I can in no way vote for any of the Republican front runners (Huckabee, McCain, and Romney just spook me) and I'm flirting with the idea of voting Democrat again.

And guess what?  The Democrat Party leadership (and by that I include the de facto elite superdelegates) is already turning me off again. I mean really, "superdelegates"? I understand the reason they came to be, but on its face it appears elitism at work--undemocratic.  Worse yet, a campaign even appears willing to game the agreed rules and cajole the superdelegates to consider not going with the popular vote of its base.      

So once again, I have trouble voting for a Democrat. I can't feel good about voting for a Clinton who seems willing to do and say anything to get back into the office. Tragic for me that I want to play a part in the system to help reform things and it seems but I have to hold my nose to do so.  Obama is the only Democrat option left to me as an Independent with a conscience, and I don't particularly like him either.  

Which brings me to this blog.  I've been mostly underwhelmed by so many of the 'Progressive' and Democrat blogs out there who seem more skilled at histrionics and hyperbole and spinning cults of personality than in cognitive and philosophical consistency.  Not so with your blog here, Chris. Best I think I've found, in fact, and I find your approach and information refreshing and even giving me reason to think of voting D again.  And guess what, you are taking the stance you are, and I commend you for it.

The absurdity of it is that it seems that aside from all other differences you and I might have politically, we both seem in danger of being disenfranchised merely because we want and demand honest and principled representation.  It's a sad commentary we find ourselves in this predicament. "Go along to get along" some here seem to be saying. "It's always been that way" others amazingly state.  I don't know how you'd vote and unlike others I don't assume you would vote Obama, but for me just seeing the machinations afoot, I find myself closer to him for it. I simply cannot trust her and the apparent effort to game the rules.

It's quite a mess being made, isn't it?  

Keep up the good work, and I commend your principled approach.


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