The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Democrat Candidate: SELECTED not Elected

Remember the chant about Bush being "selected" rather than "elected" in 2000? Well, the worm is about to turn, and in a very very big way. The dirty little secret is that no matter who wins next week, the 800 so-called "Superdelegates" are going to select the nominee, unless one of the candidates steps down (don't count on that...).

And friends, it is going to be bloody. This via Eric Scheie (h/t Glenn Reynolds):

Regardless of who "wins" the Democratic primary elections next week, neither candidate will win enough delegates to win the nomination. All that will happen is that both will win more delegates in proportion to the vote. If the races are close, this means there will be no major net change, and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's delegate stalemate will remain with neither a clear winner.

Unfortunately, the endless debates, countless vote counts, and exciting predictions make the process seem a lot more democratic than it really is.

However, Americans are now waking up to the ugly secret that in the Democratic Party, some votes (those of the superdelegates) count more than other votes. A lot more:

Clinton, former president Bill Clinton (a superdelegate himself) and their allies have been working aggressively for months to court the superdelegates, drawing on old loyalties to open a huge advantage for the senator from New York in total delegates amassed.

"One person, one vote? Forget about it. Some votes are worth more than others. You have to know the rules," said Donna Brazile, the campaign manager for Al Gore in the 2000 presidential race and a D.C. superdelegate.

Of the nearly 300 superdelegates who have committed to a candidate, out of a total of 796, Clinton leads Obama roughly by a 2-to-1 ratio, according to numerous counts. The lead is so substantial, her campaign asserts, that even if Obama pulls ahead in pledged delegates after Feb. 5, Clinton will probably retain a modest edge in the overall delegate tally.

But there is a catch. While delegates chosen in a primary or caucus are technically committed to a candidate, superdelegates can change their allegiance at any time.

The threat of a wholesale shift hangs over both candidates....

More here from Sean Gonsalves of the Cape Cod Times:
What if Clinton and Obama are neck-and-neck on the delegate count going into the convention and the superdelegates aren't just a deciding factor but the deciding factor? What if the Clinton super delegate "firewall" trend continues and these super delegates end up crowning Hillary king, even though Obama gets more votes?

True, all the candidates knew the "rules" going in. So, Hillary's delegate advantage can be considered "fair play." But if this undemocratic "rule" should happen to beat a more popular Obama, there's going to be lots of folks, inside and outside the party, rightly crying foul.

That was written on February 11, and right now, I'd say the "what if" is looking more and more like a political certainty.

What has become increasingly obvious (even to political outsiders) is that because the votes in the remaining primaries will not be enough to put either candidate over the magic number, this race will be decided by a few hundred people -- known collectively as "the superdelegates."

I'd say the smoke-filled rooms are back! But I can't say that, because today's Democratic Party activists are about as tolerant of smoking as Iranian mullahs are of gay disco dancing. Maybe no-smoking-sign-filled rooms.

This is shaping up to be an all-out war, waged delegate by delegate.

They could have saved them the trouble by not bothering with the primaries, and just let the party insiders decide who gets it. I can't think of a better way to create a permanent rupture than allowing a class of young, starry-eyed idealists not only to vote for the candidate of their dreams (a man they consider the literal embodiment of "hope") , but then actually see him win democratically, and in a crowning blow, finally see hope destroyed in the most undemocratic manner imaginable.

Read the rest here. Now I agree with all this, however since Hillary and especially Harold Ickes (the Keyser Sose of Democrat politics) are Alinsky disciples, they don't seem likely to let a little thing like a few superdelegates get in the way of the Clintons' ambitions. What's a little Stalinism now in the face of a "democratic plurality", when they want to impose the same Stalinism on the rest of us anyway.

It is going to be a very, very interesting summer and fall.

DiscerningTexan, 2/27/2008 02:44:00 PM |