Our votes have been stolen, but so has our party.
Employing Super Delegates to decide for us who the Democratic Party nominee will be dishonors democracy & steals our votes.
Over 400 so-called Super Delegates announced their “vote” would go to Secretary Hillary Clinton before Senator Sanders even entered the race for the Democratic nomination. There was not even a pretense of representing the people’s will. In any truly just system of democratic representative government and elections those 400 individuals would be stricken of their positions as delegates.
The head of the DNC Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the Super Delegate system is in place to silence the voice of the grassroots of the Democratic party.
I don’t know how much more clear one needs the evidence to be to understand that what is taking place in this Democratic party primary is not small d democratic whatsoever.
The principle of one person one vote is sacrosanct to democracy as is the idea that government receives its power and authority to govern by the consent of the governed. That is why the words WE THE PEOPLE were written so large for all to see on the Declaration of Independence.
“We’ve been having these debates about how to make our democracy real for 240 years. The nation was founded in 1776 in the declaration of independence. Committed to the idea that as he said, government is legitimate only if it rests on the consent of the governed . And from the beginning, Americans understood that the vote , the meaningful ability to vote, was at the heart of that consent of the governed. In the federalist papers, James Madison asked who are to be the electors for our new government? He said, not the rich more than the poor . Not the learned more than the ignorant . Not the haughty heirs of famous names more than the humble sons of obscurity and upper business fortune. The electors he said are to be the great body of the people of the United States. That was the ideal from the very beginning. They didn’t live up to it then , we don’t live up to it now..”
- MICHAEL WALDMAN, THE PRESIDENT OF THE BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE AT NYU SCHOOL OF LAW. May 18, 2016
When the people vote through caucus or primary election we are exercising our rights as free people in a democratic system to choose who governs us just as we do in the national general election.
We have only two ruling political parties controlling our elections in America unlike most other democratic nations who give their citizens a plurality of options for representation. This by any other name is a monopoly, often called a duopoly. Just as all monopolies in the private sector are unjust and detrimental to the operation of a free market economy, monopolies in the public sector are detrimental to the operation of a fair and just democratic system of governance.
We see this played out before us today. The voters of the Democratic party essentially have no other choice as the other member of the two party duopoly clearly doesn’t believe in the power of government to do good, perhaps in their view outside of maintaining a large military and helping corporations exploit our resources. So an electorate with no choice, with no where to go is vulnerable to tyranny and abuse and this is what we see before us this year.
So in direct contravention of the will of James Madison and others who fought a revolution to establish this Republic, today’s Democratic Party under the leadership of President Obama’s appointee Congress member Debbie Wasserman Schultz has deployed the so-called Super Delegate system to abrogate the popular vote and will of the people. These super delegates are deemed by the party to be wiser than the general rank and file Democratic party members but in fact they are the recipients of the largess of the status quo that today has institutionalized income inequality and racism in America.
I talk to people in my community and around Southern California every day and listen to their stories of their own lives and struggles. They tell me how difficult life is for them, to afford to pay for healthcare treatments and drugs, to afford rent, to keep the credit card collectors at bay and to improve their lots in life! They tell me they want and need bold and immediate action to reduce their pain, suffering and anxiety and have “simple human dignity”.
Many of the people I speak with work at so-called service jobs working at or near minimum wage and you can see the despair on their faces as they try to do their best to serve the public each day. The fact is in a city like Los Angeles where I live, even a wage of $15 an hour which will not be in effect for another six whole years is insufficient to afford oneself even the bear essentials of a dignified existence. We have homeless people living under many of our freeway off ramps and the fastest growing segment of homeless people is single mothers. We all drive past these desperate people each day on our ways to and from the job or jobs we hold onto, ourselves desperately hoping we don’t suffer some illness, car breakdown or layoff which will put us out on the streets next month.
But these super delegates who have high paid civil service jobs with pensions and other benefits, who all too often “retire” to work for the corporations they were supposed to be regulating on our behalf where they are paid huge salaries, they are given fifteen percent of all voting power in the Democratic Party primary. These super delegates, like the very high paid political pundits on CNN MSNBC and other corporate “news” networks don’t think things are all that bad in America today so perhaps to them incremental $12 an hour type change is sufficient.
So when a candidate like Bernie Sanders comes along and says he wants to help the working families of this country get immediate help and change so we can have a semblance of human dignity in our lives, when he says he wants to open the doors to democracy to anyone to run for office who has good idea and the will to serve, they look at that with scorn and derision. Worse, they look at him as a threat to their incumbency as part of the well paid and protected establishment class. So of course they announce they will support Senator Sanders opposition, of course they will support someone they know to be a product of and advocate of the status quo!
It is true this super delegate system was put in place in the 1980’s in part by Tad Devine one of Senator Sanders top advisers. But that doesn’t make it right. “That’s just the way things are” and “those are the rules and everyone knew them going in” are not defenses of the virtue or righteousness of the system. Those are the statements often uttered by the few using power to oppress the many. Because it is the few in power who almost always use that power to write the rules so they can keep that power.
One cannot play a game by corrupt rules and end up with anything but a corrupt result. But this is not a game. This is about our lives.
I used to think we could bring grassroots change to the Democratic party from the inside. I used to think it represented the working class and principles of leaders like Franklin Deleno Roosevelt. I used to think it represented those who walked picket lines and those who once stood in bread lines. But today it represents the wealthy donors who think life in America is really not so bad today as they drive their Tesla to have a minimum wager worker serve them coffee.
This is not my grandparents Democratic Party anymore. Sadly it is not mine either.