Thursday, March 06, 2008


Why don't we only seat delegates from the big states at the "Democratic" convention?

Or better yet, for those states with especially large populations of African-Americans, why don't we only allot them only 3/5ths as many delegates? That sounds like the proper proportion, especially for Southern states, wouldn't you say?

Seriously, though, if Clinton loses the pledged delegate count but wins the nomination, here's my suggested olive branch to the Obama supporters -- could the Party at least have the class to change its name?


YoungMan said...

Get scared huh?

Seriously Dan, that is the worst sort of reasoning in the world. Obama hasn't won the popular vote in any large non-midwestern state that a Democrat needs in November. His so called lead and popularity and "string of victories" come from the caucus states where a highly organized narrow cult of activists can hijack the party....basically through Bolshevik organizing tactics. It is precisely that sort of stuff that the superdelegates are supposed to prevent. Tell me how a narrow group of so-called progressive (actually regressive statist all) left wing nuts running into a caucus room is any more "Democratic" than superdelegates (after all Danny the party process is extra-constitutional). Is it really more "Democratic" or representative for a bunch of volvo driving, chablis drinking, brie scarfing statist elite snobs to pack a caucus that Joe 6-Pack and wife in Youngstown, OH can't make cause they're both working 16 hour days at Wal-Mart. Why don't u ask Novick "the Workingman's friend" that one?

As Guy Stoke would say "Joke".

And while we're at it, if the party is truly "Democratic" it will then have to let Michigan and Florida count. Don't think u want that Danny

YoungMan said...

More on so-called "Democratic" Caucuses

Close Down the Caucuses
By Froma Harrop

One can assume that the people brawling into the late hours of a weekday night are not representative of your broad electorate, even in Texas. Compare the orderly primary vote in Ohio -- where the results were known by bedtime -- to the weird "Texas Two-Step," which pasted a caucus onto a primary.

Actually, the primary part of the Texas process went smoothly. It was the caucus that led to the unseemly spectacle of pushing and shoving in overcrowded rooms. More worrisome, some caucus leaders apparently didn't understand all the caucus rules.

Down with caucuses. They are not only chaotic, they are undemocratic.

Some decades ago, Democrats decided they didn't want their presidential nominees picked in a smoked-filled room of old party dons. Open the windows, they said. Let the people decide. They even rejected winner-take-all state primaries, which award all the convention delegates to the candidate who scores a majority of votes. Candidates now receive convention delegates relative to their primary vote.

Proportional primaries and the caucus system have both worked against Hillary Clinton and for Barack Obama. Clinton consistently won the majority in the big-state primaries in California, New York and now Texas -- but couldn't walk off with all the delegates. With his core of impassioned supporters, Obama has been able to dominate the caucuses.

But this isn't about what helps one candidate or another. It's about whether the Democrats will complete the journey to empowering a broad range of their voters.

In primaries, a voter can show up at the polls anytime between, say, 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., cast a secret ballot and go home or to work. Caucuses are run at a set hour. If you couldn't show up at an Iowa caucus precinct at 7 p.m. on Jan. 3 (a Thursday), you couldn't participate in the nation's first presidential contest. Only 227,000 people attended the Iowa Democratic caucuses, a population smaller than that of Norfolk, Va. Yet Obama's strong showing there provided him with powerful "momentum" -- at least according to the herd analysis.

Caucus rules are often complicated. That, too, turns off many people who will vote in November but don't care enough to go through the caucus hassle. The deliberations are public, and that lets activists bully shy participants into supporting their candidate.

Any event that takes place at a specific hour -- no matter what the hour -- can't be democratic. Nevada Democrats contended that their caucuses were easy to attend because they were held on a Saturday afternoon. The Texan caucuses were scheduled to start after dinner.

But the notion that these caucuses were held outside of normal working hours is a relic of the time when there were normal working hours. Midday or 7 p.m. can be peak times for employees at McDonald's. Wal-Marts may be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., even on Sundays. And workers in 24-7 industries (finance, cyber-retailing, call centers) toil at 3 a.m.

And for those home by 7 p.m., how many are in any mood to drive to a caucus for an evening of strife? After a hard day's work, one might rather see the kids or collapse on the couch. Any event limited to a few hours is impossible for the mother who can't find childcare covering that particular time slot.

We can thank the Texas Two-Step for clearly showing how the caucus method of allotting delegates is cracked. The caucuses favored one candidate (Obama) mere moments after the wider electorate chose the other (Clinton). Democrats cannot truly open the process of choosing a candidate until they close down the caucuses.

Daniel Spiro said...


You are raising so many issues in this post.

The first involves the "primary" versus "caucus" matter. Personally, as a good Marylander, I prefer the former, notwithstanding my view that most people who don't show up at caucuses are simply too apathetic not to show up, rather than too desperate for that 16-hour a day paycheck. (Believe me, we're talking one caucus per four years. They can show up!) But some states opt for primaries, and some for caucuses, and the rules indicated that we should let each state decide for themselves how to run their show. I was prepared to live with the consequences. So were the Clintons, before it turned out that they didn't like the results.

What I'm NOT in favor of doing is effectively disenfranchising people, just people the powers-that-be think that some states are more "purple" than others. And by the way, it hardly follows that the person who wins a state primary (or caucus) will have the best chance to win a general election in that state. Personally, I think Hillary will get crushed in most states because she has no crossover appeal. Obama can at least attract some independents and Republicans, including some of my in-laws in Hoosier country.

Now, as for the Florida and Michigan situation ... I agree that they should be given an opportunity to re-vote, if those states are willing to pay for it. But I have always agreed with the Party's decision not to count them when they moved up to a point as to preclude the "Big Four" from having their day in heavily-contested state-by-state elections. Clinton didn't argue either, before she realized that she needed their support.

FYI, Obama isn't trying to deny the people in those states the opportunity to vote again. He's simply saying that the votes that took place were against the rules and shouldn't count. And when he suggests a caucus -- for obvious reasons -- you also have to understand that have new primaries in those states is an EXTREMELY expensive proposition. Of course, you like that. You'd like to see all the Democratic donors spend themselves dry in an intra-Party fight so that McCain can simply mop up the Democrats in the Fall. Your reasoning is pretty transparent.

Finally, Youngman, the biggest problem with your logic is that Hillary supporters (and you Republicans who are dying to see her nominated and give the election to McCain) are trying to change the rules in mid-stream. Ask any statistician -- you can't do that. Once the rules of the game are set forth, you've got to live with them. And while these rules provided for the possibility that Superdelegates would steal the election from the pledged delegates (and, hence, from "the people"), I don't think Democratic voters envisioned that possibility realistically happening. But if they were to simply steal it, that would be one thing. For them to publicly rationalize the reasons why their stealing it -- e.g., by claiming that the Big States should count even more than their delegate counts indicate -- that's something else. I'd love to see these fat cats go into the black neighborhoods of the south, much of which could vote Democrat this year, and explain to the people there that, once again, their votes will count less than the white people up north. It's a rather disgusting prospect, if you ask me.

YoungMan said...

We're not arguing for changing the rules any more than those who argue that the superdelegates shouldnt count, or are obligated to follow the lead of the popular vote or the delegate count :)

The superdelegates are accountable to no one, them's the rules :)

Daniel Spiro said...

Yes, it is within the "letter" of the rules for the Superdelegates to do whatever they want -- including getting together in a smoked filled room, and overturning the will of an electorate who has given one candidate a decisive 55-45 victory.

But is it within the "spirit" of the rules for the Supers to make that decision?

I think technically, it might have been within the rules for the delegates in 2000 to vote their conscience and, had they had a change of heart, support Gore over Bush. But again, these rules are supposed to bolster the principles of democracy.

It's pretty clear that our political system has deteriorated to the point where nobody cares about the integrity of the process any more. It's all a big game now. Whatever it takes to get one's candidate elected is fair game. Even recommending that the Party seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida, after they told the candidates not to campaign there. I've heard one so-called "Democrat" after another suggest that, because they support Hillary. It is all very sickening.

Anyway, Youngman, why do you care so much? It's not your party. Are you so partisan here because (1) you would so much prefer a Clinton Presidency to an Obama Presidency, (2) you think a Clinton candidacy would make it so much more likely that McCain would win, (3) both of the above?