A Matter of Trust: Why Don't Democratic Leaders Believe in Democracy?
an open letter to President Barack Obama
from his Primary Challenger, Aldous C. Tyler
Greetings, Mr. President,
When I consider where this nation was four years ago, I can’t help but shake my head and smile at how things have actually turned out. At this point back then, the only real question in Presidential politics seemed to be who would get the Republican nomination for President to run against Hillary Clinton, who was assumed to be predestined for the Democratic nomination. Those of us who even knew of you, sir, had no real hope of getting you past the Clinton election machine, it seemed.
But then a wonderful thing happened for you: the great American tradition called Democracy worked to defeat that machine. The democratic process, which trusts We the People to decide for ourselves who should be leading us and what vision of this nation best suits our needs, allowed you to make the most persuasive case. Because of that open democratic process, you were able to spring out of obscurity and give us an alternative to the choice of the Democratic Party’s “conventional wisdom”. Your campaign electrified the liberal and progressive base, all of whom assumed we’d be stuck with a very Centrist choice and no other viable candidate.
You trusted us to back you, support your vision, and push you through the obstacles before you. We proved that it is true that anyone has the potential to grow up to become the President. Despite your unusual name, your racial background, your relative inexperience and all the prejudices those things engendered in so many people, we placed you in a position to defeat the GOP candidate. Your trust in the voice of the People was well-rewarded. In fact, I can think of no other single figure in the history of American politics that has benefited as much as you have from the trust that the Democratic process puts in the American people.
As of now, however, that trust that each of us has the capability and the right to an equal say in choosing who will guide America on our behalf has been betrayed. Voters in Florida, South Carolina and elsewhere are being denied this right in violation of that sacred trust. Neither your supporters nor mine will be allowed to make that choice. In New Hampshire, everyone who wants to come out again and state clearly that you are their man for the job will have that opportunity there, where I will share a ballot with you. I worked very hard to have the same opportunity afforded our supporters in the Sunshine State, only to have Rod Smith, chairman of the Democratic Party of Florida arbitrarily decide that there will be no name on the ballot besides yours, Mr. President.
Imagine if this had played out in 2008, if states that supported Hillary simply shut off all other options to the voice of the People; with how heavily your campaign relied on the trust of the People’s voices and votes, would you have had even a remote shot of gaining the nomination? Instead, because you were able to rely on the support of real votes, contested rightfully, you won the day. Will you condone this robbery of the rights of all Floridians with your silence on the matter, or will you stand up for the democratic process against the actions of Florida’s ironically-named Democratic Party?
I implore you, as one of your supporters in 2008, to take this opportunity to show that you are stronger and better than this poor example of democracy would indicate, and tell Rod Smith and the Florida Secretary of State to re-open the ballot to other Democratic Presidential candidates that had made good-faith efforts to allow the people their voices and their votes by deadline, as I had. The situation is truly stark, as Florida doesn’t even allow write-in votes on their Primary ballots. Without you taking action to ensure the rights of the people, your victory in Florida will be a hollow one, having not been given the true blessing of the trust of We the People. And in the end, it truly is just that: a matter of trust.
America Changes Today,
Aldous C. Tyler