The News
The News
Thursday 07 of December 2023

Leveling the Playing Field

Bernie Sanders,photo: Wikipedia
Bernie Sanders,photo: Wikipedia
Sanders’ claims that the convention system and party politics are rigged is right

When Donald Trump said that the primary process in the U.S. presidential elections was rigged, his detractors called him a sore loser (even though he eventually ended up becoming the presumptive GOP candidate).

But now, it is Democratic Party hopeful Bernie Sanders and his followers who are screaming foul, and not without solid evidence in their defense.

So while Sanders and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton continue to duke it out with verbal blows along the campaign trail, it may be time to review and revamp the arcane and draconian party nominating process.

The primary and caucus system clearly do favor wealthy private interests and longtime party faithfuls.

Even though the elected delegates from the primaries and caucuses may in their majority support a particular candidate, there are always the super delegates who can override their votes during the convention process.

Under convention rules, super delegates are high-ranking officials named by the party (and not elected by voters) who can effectively turn the tide as to who becomes the official nominee.

Super delegates were the GOP’s proposed last-ditch Hail Mary pass to oust Trump back when he still had Republican opponents, and they are Clinton’s got-it-in-the-pocket insurance that even if Sanders comes from behind and manages to win more primary delegates than her, she will be the national convention winner.

And when it comes to stacking the convention polling deck, the Democrats are far more culpable than the Grand Old Party.

In the case of the Republicans, there are three super delegates from each state’s national committee, representing about 7 percent of all convention delegates this year.

But on the Democratic side, super delegates include not only establishment members of the national committee, but all members of Congress and governors, former presidents and vice presidents, former leaders of the Senate and the House and former chairs of the Democratic National Committee, bringing the total to about 15 percent of the party’s total convention delegates for 2016.

In a close race — and as Sanders’ support gains final-lap traction, there are signs that we may indeed be seeing a close race — these unelected delegates could easily play a decisive role in determining the party nominee.

The establishment Democratic Party power structure has already secured the convention infrastructure to provide a bulwark against Sanders, naming Clinton-loyalist Debbie Wasserman Schultz as party chairman, who in turn appointed dozens of Clinton supporters and advisers to the three standing committees of the Democratic Party convention.

Of 45 potential members submitted by Sanders, Wasserman Schultz only approved three.

Moreover, Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut, a key Clinton surrogate, will be co-chairman of the platform committee, and Barney Frank, a former Massachusetts congressman and outspoken Sanders opponent, was named co-chairman of the rules committee, which oversees convention floor procedures.

In other words, Sanders’ (and previously, Trump’s) claims that the convention system and party politics are rigged is right.

And the U.S. constituents’ anger at that corrupt system — both on the Democratic and Republic sides — is mounting, which is why the primaries and caucuses this election have often turned to violence, the likes of which the U.S. national convention system hasn’t seen since Chicago in 1968.

It is too late to change the rules and even out the playing field for this year’s convention, but the writing is clearly on the wall: The American public simply isn’t going to tolerate the corrupt and nefarious backroom going-ons of party royalty in the next election.

It is time to breathe some real democracy into the U.S. democratic electoral process.