BAILEY T. STEEN | FRIDAY, 15 JUNE, 2018
Almost two years after the 2016 presidential election, where Wikileaks and Donna Brazile exposed the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for unethical practice that rigged the primary against progressive White House contender Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), you would expect the political insiders to learn a lesson in subtlety by now.
According to a Yahoo News report, however, key members within the Democratic Party are now trying their luck with even more brazen displays of establishment bias. Take this tweet from DNC member Randi Weingarten, currently the labor union president of the American Federation of Teachers, who posted a photo showing the list of rule changes set for the 2020 Democratic convention. One of which included a provision which was made to “ensure to run for President as a Democrat you need to be A Democrat.”
The new rule, adopted by the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, has the public confused since it’s unclear how exactly they’ll enforce them when the time comes. It states that anyone who seeks the Democratic nomination must be a member of the party, accept the Democratic nomination and must both “run and serve” as a member, which could be the technical “fuck you” that could cost Sanders his presidential bid down the road.
A generous interpretation of the rule would argue it’s business as usual. Consider that Sanders registered as a Democrat during the 2016 primary against Hillary Clinton, who served as secretary of state under former President Barack Obama and the former Democratic senator from New York. He remained a sitting independent senator, sure, but would eventually give up this office to serve as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in the event the guy actually won.
If this is the case, why the need for a new rule in the first place? I highly doubt a committee, known for their previous anti-Sanders behaviour in the past, are just obtuse about their bylaws being perfectly accurate to a tee. Why put time into writing a rule that keeps the process as is? Surely they must see the optics of this being a slight against Sanders? Leaving the process susceptible to harsh interpretations where purity tests must be made on party loyalty rather than actual policy substance.
Consider Yahoo News’ anonymous DNC source who, before the article even broke, went out of their way to clarify readers that the rule wasn’t targeting at Sanders and “wouldn’t necessarily affect him” — already anticipating the progressive criticisms that’s plagued the committee since 2016.
Why they would even dare to give the appearance of bias following their Sanders controversy is fundamentally stupid. This is the same wing of the party that cries unity to the heavens, yet propose a policy that could, in effect, snub independents and cross-over voters from the GOP getting on board with a unifying vision. Why take the chance to poison the well if your intentions are so purely small-d democratic? The DNC source went on to contradict their statement saying this non-factor rule was a concession that was needed for Sanders progressives to win something else — the end of the Superdelegates.
Superdelegates, remember, are the political establishment given that in order to be one you must be either a member of Congress, a governor, someone with party royalty like former presidents and vice presidents, DNC members, or, as Politico put it, anyone deemed a “distinguished party leader.” This isn’t just some title for political bragging rights sake, but rather entitles government officials to work as the party’s power brokers.
In 2016, the Democrats had over 5363 delegates and 656 Superdelegates between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — each needing over 2,383 votes in order to win the nomination respectively. The only difference is these party members are unbound by the results of state primary results, meaning that despite while holding a vote worth 10,000x than the public’s, they can freely override their decision if they so choose. This is ironically undemocratic given this can make or break someone’s election chances even before the Democratic National Convention begins.
Consider how before April 2015, when Sanders finally announced his presidential bid, 609 Superdelegates made their pledge to Clinton campaign without a single state ballot being cast. Clinton, in the end, wouldn’t have been able to so easily secure the nomination without their help since she earned only 2205 nominal delegates during the primary. Before the DNC implemented the Superdelegate system under former President Bill Clinton, each candidate would have entered a contested convention where balloting continues through multiple rounds of voting until a decision is made, giving each side a chance to make their case for holding the nation’s highest office.
Any sane person like Sanders would it’s wrong to have a voter hierarchy, but who said the Democrats are full with sane people? See Politico’s report on how those House representatives are “outraged” with Tom Perez, the current Chairman of the DNC, who announced there’s a June 30 deadline that could see these powerful voting privileges restricted by the committee. Instead of whining in private about the repeal, the politicians are now making comments in the press as though their undemocratic position is the popular position too.
“I believe this decision, if they go forward, is going to do terrible damage to party harmony,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), attending Perez’s Tuesday dinner at DNC headquarters. “It disenfranchises the elected leadership of the party. The last time we allowed that to happen was 1972, and we had the worst landslide in our history.”
“I believe that elected officials across the country — Congress and governors — I believe they provide a ballast for the party that we very much need,” Connolly added. “With all due respect to somebody who thinks we don’t need it, when we haven’t had it, Democrats have had disastrous results.”
“I think this is absolutely an insult to us,” Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) told the publication, also at the dinner. “We’re no better than anybody else, but we stand for election. That has to mean something, that has to stand for something. That’s a lot of baloney.”
I’d echo that last part. If you were to put me in a room with Mr. Pascrell, I’d be forced to push back in saying “yes, in the eyes of the establishment, you are considered better than anybody else”. You were granted ultimate veto powers. You even used those powers during the 2016 presidential election, where the chosen candidate eventually lost to the reality TV star pussy-grabber, and now slightly tweaking that veto power is suddenly haram for the so-called “Democratic Party”. Even Donald Trump and the Republicans, known for their own voter suppression tactics, have come out and condemned Superdelegates. The GOP, of all people, hold more voter integrity principles on this issue. That is baloney, and certainly isn’t democratic.
Thanks for reading!
Bailey T. Steen is a journalist, editor, artist and film critic based in Victoria, Australia, but is also Putin’s Puppet™ on occasion.
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