Responding to Paul on the Primary Process
I have to do this quickly, but here are some thoughts that spring from this post Paul was gracious enough to inspire.
Only now that Obama has a miniscule lead of 128,736 in the number of votes cast (and that includes assigning all the “uncommitted” votes in Michigan to Obama) has the media focused on total votes cast.
This is the sound of CD blowing a gasket. Not with Paul, but with the whole idea that "uncommitted" must mean Obama. Dammit, does anyone care that Edwards, who came in 2nd in Iowa and at that time that 'meant something' to primary participants, was not on the ballot? Or that votes for him would not be counted, even write-ins? Why is this no longer a valid question under discussion as the "votes" in MI are or are not counted/alloted? No, I will not "just get over" disenfranchisement, and anyway, you should care that people like me voted in the Republican primary as you 'figure out' what the Dem primary vote count "means."
As Democrats, it is our votes that should be the determining factor in a close race. We’re the voters that the party can depend on, and ignoring the will of Democratic voters can lead to Democratic voters ignoring the will of the party.
If progressives take away one thing from this season's follies, it's that the dominant DNC electoral "logic" has nothing to do with winning elections, especially general elections. The DNC, and from what I can tell the OFB and HRC camps, detest Dean and his "50 state strategy" for a reason. Too many messy Dem voters expressing their will and all that. The DNC majors don't care what we think. More importantly, they'll do anything they can to keep us from participating in a meaningful way.
Yet this is exactly what the Obama campaign is arguing —- that the reality of the electorial college map should be irrelevant, and that only raw vote totals, “pledged” delegates, and the number of states won should matter to the super-delegates. And the media simply repeats this argument without question.
And next time around, the system will be gamed to favor someone using a different analysis of 'what superdelagates are for' and 'what state victory counts mean' and so on. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the party system has never been remotely "democratic." If it's not this kind of tortured logic, it's some other brake on the democratic process in favor of insider priority. Seems to me that progressives should accept this and move on. As in, get serious about a "50 state" strategy of primary reform and couple it to a progressive "primary challenge 'em!" strategy for '10 and '12. Or get Evil, and learn how to work it better because it likely is the closest we'll get to "democracy." Your call, or we can complain some more.
Busting into the comments, cause they were so damned good, like this:
Before the primaries began, everybody knew what the system was, and that some states had “open” primaries in which Republicans could vote.
So, one excellent reason to have superdelegates involved who can use their judgment (as Dr. Dean puts it), instead of having the nomination be a mechanical readout of the delegate count, would be to prevent Republicans from picking the Democratic candidate in a close race.
It's hard to disagree with that, even as it makes my blood boil. I hatehatehate the idea that we need 'nanny supervoters' to "help us pick the right one." At the same time, I have that nagging sense of Zen; have previous pols and players figured out that such an undemocratic tool is required or worse travesties will replace it? I honestly can't decide.
The latest, btw, is to start calling pledged delegates “elected delegates.” Which has the added benefit of glossing over the fact that pledged delegates aren’t elected actually directly elected at all, but are allocated in the most ass-backwards way possible and do not actually correlate to the popular vote in any particular state or even...
...And to think I was wondering how the Obama campaign was going to make the argument that pledged delegates should be what counted. I know he did this after Nevada, but most folks had the indecency to note that Hillary had actually gotten more, you know, votes. But now I know that votes don’t matter, only pledged delegates do because pledged delegates are elected. And everyone knows that elections are decided by votes. So even if you lose on votes, if you win on pledged delegates you have won the election and, thus, more votes.
That's some Ju-Jitsu, my Brother. Really can't say it any better than that. /respectful bow of grasshopper/
the opensecrets list for 06 for Obama shows really interesting stuff—no $ to Donna Edwards or Hackett or Tasini or any others who were challenging sitting more conservative Dem incumbents that i could see (except for to Lamont after Lieberman had already lost the primary)
All my bells went off here. Blogging progressives should stop and have a moment of "hmmmm" with that one.
I had this thought, it may be dumb. So to the argument, "there are more Indies and undeclareds than partisans, so we should have open primary voting so they get a say." OK, it's an argument I can feel. So how about we have primary voting that also registers how the voter voted in the last general? That data is actually already available in the public record, iirc, and our New Computer
Videopoker Voting systems should make it easy to compile in any case, right?
It should be a simple matter to enumerate primary totals and differentiate between who previously voted for Democrats and who didn't, and award the sum of the former to candidates accordingly.
We are not dealing with "fair and democratic process." What is our response? It's very clear to me, and gosh I hate the way this sounds Naydaresque, but I don't really think it matters "what the voters say." Not this time around, perhaps ever? I'm not old enough to be sure. One thing keeps plauging me. How could a fairly young guy, who hasn't really held office for that long nor proven to have a non-campaign based base, get this far this fast? Because 'some people' want him to, that's why. I note: his "race" is almost beside the point, except that it camouflages other, more important elements about him.