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I Don't Think They Know What "Democratic" Means...

Under the current rules, each political party has the absolute right to run their primaries however they see fit. And I have absolutely no problem with that. As a registered independent who voted in the Republican primary this time and the Democratic primaries in 2004 and 2000, I have no right whatsoever to challenge their methodology.

But I do find myself with some questions that, in the spirit of openness and non-partisanship, that I wish the leadership of the Democratic Party would answer.

Starting with, why is the Democratic Party's primary process so darned undemocratic?

As Will Franklin observed recently, the Democratic Party's process is remarkably undemocratic. They have far more caucuses than primaries caucuses versus primaries than the Republicans, giving preference to political activists and public declarations of affiliation versus the sanctity and privacy of the secret ballot. They also give a full fifth of all their delegates to party officials, elected officials, and other elites under the term of "super-delegates" who represent only their own interests, and not that of any group of voters.

Secondly, can you please simply come up with a set of rules and follow them?

The Democratic National Committee set up a timeline for presidential primaries and caucuses, and told the states and candidates that those rules would be enforced if necessary with the loss of delegates at the convention. All the candidates agreed to abide by them, and those states' Democratic parties who chose to go against the rules knew that they would be punished. Then, once Hillary Clinton bent her word (she very carefully did not break her word, violating the spirit but not the letter of the agreement in a very appropriately Clintonesque fashion) and won the states, there suddenly emerged a groundswell to "count every vote" and seat the delegates.

It kind of reminded me of how everyone got all bent out of shape over the electoral college rules when it emerged as a strong possibility that the candidate who did NOT win the national popular vote might win the presidency. In both cases, the rules were firmly set well in advance, but no one seemed concerned about them until those rules meant THEIR candidate might lose.

But it isn't just Hillary Clinton who's looking to toss out the rules for that are proving inconvenient. Since she has the majority of those "superdelegates" pledged to support her (but not really bound to do so), Barack Obama is questioning the system that the Democrats put in place over 20 years ago.

Like I said, the Democrats have every right to run their primaries any way they like. But it'd be nice if they could come up with a system that was actually "democratic" and they could keep the rules consistent from day to day.

Correction: my mind raced ahead of my hands in the 4th paragraph, and those darned pesky independent fingers of mine mistyped what I was intending to say about caucuses and primaries. I was trying to paraphrase Will Franklin, but I was thinking a couple of sentences ahead when I actually typed that. Thanks, mantis, for pointing that out.


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Comments (40)

why is the Democratic Pa... (Below threshold)
HughS:

why is the Democratic Party's primary process so darned undemocratic?

How curious.It looks a lot like the way labor unions run their elections and organizing methods.

I would agree that the Demo... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I would agree that the Democratic party should have a simple all-primary process with no superdelegates. The current system is stupid. They should also stick to their own rules. That said, a couple of points:

They have far more caucuses than primaries, giving preference to political activists and public declarations of affiliation versus the sanctity and privacy of the secret ballot.

Huh? You've got it backwards. They have 13 caucus states, and 37 primary states (if you count Texas; they do a primary immediately followed by a caucus). D.C. is also a primary. Guam, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa all have caucuses. U.S. Virgin Islands have a primary. So if you count everything, you've got 16 or 17 caucuses and 38 or 39 primaries, depending on which category you assign Texas to. Maybe it seems like a lot because they are frontloaded. The only caucus state left is Wyoming.

But it isn't just Hillary Clinton who's looking to toss out the rules for that are proving inconvenient. Since she has the majority of those "superdelegates" pledged to support her (but not really bound to do so), Barack Obama is questioning the system that the Democrats put in place over 20 years ago.

Well, sort of. The superdelegates are free to choose their candidate however they wish, and they are free to change their minds, so Obama isn't really suggesting that any rules be tossed out. And the idea that a superdelegate would vote along with his/her constituents (the elected ones, anyway) is not exactly new, and in fact many of them do just that. It just hasn't ever been much of an issue under the current rules. He certainly hasn't suggested that superdelegates be required to follow voters.

It's not like the party got together before the election and decided no candidate can voice an opinion about how superdelegates might vote.

Well, they are the party of... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Well, they are the party of "do as I say, not as I do" after all...

The caucus system does seem... (Below threshold)

The caucus system does seem a bit ridiculous. My Dad caucused in Nevada for Hillary and told me this story:

The Edwards people came over to the Hillary people and threatened to throw their support to Obama if the Hillary people didn't give them a few bodies so they could attain the 15% "viability" level. They refused, and the Edwards people all joined the Obama supporters when it was clear they didn't have the 15%.

Doesn't sound very democratic if you ask me.

By the way mantis, Hawaii is also a caucus.

I call them the Democrat pa... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

I call them the Democrat party since they are completely non-democratic. It pisses them off, but if the shoe fits...

It is not Democratic not to... (Below threshold)
Kusum:

It is not Democratic not to count votes from the two states. People did go out and voted. Those votes should be counted and the voters should not be punished for the leaders' mistakes.
If we punish the voters now then they should not be allowed to vote in general election. Let Republicans take florida and steal election again.

why is the Democratic Pa... (Below threshold)
Matt:

why is the Democratic Party's primary process so darned undemocratic?

Because they are Communists?

So Jay...You are mor... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

So Jay...
You are more comfortable with the way the Republicans handled the State of Washington?
After all..why not stop counting after 87% of the vote was in?

" so Obama isn't really ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

" so Obama isn't really suggesting that any rules be tossed out."

Getting pretty nuanced there mantis. John Kerry would be proud. So would BO for that matter.

BO: "We've got to make sure that whoever wins the most votes, the most states, the most delegates, that they are the nominee. I think it would be problematic if either Senator Clinton or myself came in with having won the most support from voters, and that was somehow overturned by party insiders. I think the people would feel as if the voters' voices had been discounted.

Now, as you know, these are all allocated on a congressional district-by-district basis, and so, you know, how folks -- how superdelegates want to vote their conscience, that's up to them. But I do know that the bottom line is, our goal is to win the most delegates from the voters. And if we've accomplished that, I think we're going to be able to lay fair claim to the nomination."

Seem to me, Jay Tea was right and you were wrong. Nice try though, the Party appreciates your efforts comrade.

Of course ther are a number... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Of course ther are a number of links..
I am sure those astute know what happened..
but here is a reminder...
http://www.vertical-politics.com/2008/02/whats-going-on.html

Is New Hampstuh a caucus st... (Below threshold)
Captain Joe:

Is New Hampstuh a caucus state?

One last post before supper... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

One last post before supper...
Mr. Bunyan...what is your obsession with Communism? Do you truly believe there is a communist cell in your neighborhood?
Do you really believe that progressive Democrats are Communists?
If I were to use your simplistic generalizations I would say something like all Republicans are card carrying members of the KKK..
I would not do that because it would be stupid and untrue.
This is the 21st century, yes it is true that over a billion Chinese live under Communist rule. But you would be hard pressed to articulate that Democrats rather than Republicans are responsible for Communist China supporting our debt.
Gotta go...my rice cooker is saying supper is ready...(p.s. it was made in the USA as every product we buy)

So Jay...You are ... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:
So Jay... You are more comfortable with the way the Republicans handled the State of Washington? After all..why not stop counting after 87% of the vote was in?

8. Posted by nogo postal | February 13, 2008 8:47 PM


That bit of misinformation has been debunked.


Captain Joe, you must have ... (Below threshold)

Captain Joe, you must have missed this one...

http://wizbangblog.com/content/2008/01/08/fowl-with-a-franchise.php

And it's "Cow Hampshire," if you please.

J.

Geez, nogo, how many times ... (Below threshold)

Geez, nogo, how many times are you going to come crawling back and pretend that you never promised to leave here? You are beyond pathetic.

J.

From an absolutist position... (Below threshold)
Brian The Adequate:

From an absolutist position and laying aside for a moment that tax money goes to paying for the primary system, as a private organization, the Democrat party should have every right to set the rules as to how they pick their candidate.

However, from a selfish standpoint, I would love to see a court battle over the Michigan and Florida delegations. Why? Because as a resident of Indiana for every presidential election since I became eligible to vote (1988) I have NEVER had any influence over who the nominees were for either party.

If the voters in MI and FL win in the courts maybe the current crappy system will be wrecked.

"Mr. Bunyan...what is yo... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"Mr. Bunyan...what is your obsession with Communism?

I have an obsession with pointing out reality to blind sheeple like yourself, and it appears to me that the "Democratic" Party has gradually been taken over by communists. They are not old-school communists like Stalin or Castro (and Hugo Chavez, it appears more and more), they are neo-comms who have chosen a more patient, albeit sinister, method of taking over America. Click on that link and read it carefully. If you don't recognize the reality of it- if you don't see the plans, goals, and accomplishments of the modern American Democrat Party in every line- then you are a moron, or a communist yourself.

"Do you truly believe there is a communist cell in your neighborhood?"

Yes, there are more and more Democrats moving into my neighborhood all the time and we are losing more and more rights as a result. You practically need a permit to get out a bed in the morning anymore. I am considering moving to a more "red" part of the state.

Do you really believe that progressive Democrats are Communists?

Yes. Well the smart ones are. The rest are just useful idiots. (I believe most, if not all, of the leftist commenters on this blog fall into the later category.)

"If I were to use your simplistic generalizations I would say something like all Republicans are card carrying members of the KKK.."

"Stupid" and "180 degrees from the truth" would be better terms than "simplistic" considering that the only Republican KKK member I've ever heard of was a state level legislator who was quickly resigned to obsecurity when his racist views became well known. On the other hand, the Democrats elected a former LEADER of the KKK to SENATE MAJORITY LEADER and the old bigot is still being re-elected over and over and is still serving in the Senate today! Now I'm not saying there are no racists on the Republican side, just the most of the them are on the neo-comm (Democrat) side. "The soft bigotry of lowered expectations" is a defining characteristic of the Democrat Party. You really need to read this book.

If you're intelligent, careful, and thoughtful when you listen to Bill's wife or BO, you'll hear nothing but carefully disguised communist ideas behind the empty rhetoric and meaningless platitudes that make up everything they say.

P.B., you're viewing the wo... (Below threshold)
matthew:

P.B., you're viewing the world through Cold War dichotomies that weren't really salient then, and certainly aren't now. The "Third Way", social democracy, eschews Communist authoritarianism while maintaining the importance of robust social programs. If that qualifies as "Communist", then I suppose a majority of Americans ought to be carrying cards to the effect of Party membership.

The Free Republic is not a credible source of information, especially on anything pertaining to the Democratic Party or the progressive agenda. You're free to take an ideological stance against whatever party or idea you like, though you really ought to think a bit harder when you're applying stark labels, and you might want to be a bit more judicious as to what counts as useful information.

Matthew,As a poorl... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Matthew,

As a poorly educated child, I would never expect you to understand what communism really is. As I've said many times, the modern American Democrats are not like old school communists, but their ultimate goals are the same and the the ultimate results of their policies (universaly poverty) are the same. Maybe when you grow up, you'll take the time to better educated yourself and you'll read more than just the communist propaganda that you now read and you'll understand. Sadly, you'll more likely just deny the reality of everything that doesn't fit into the leftist neo-comm worldview and remain a useful idiot like Barney, and the wiz-blue authors.

The Free Republic was just the first website that came up on the google search I did. The "credibilty" of the site is irrelevant as the document is part of the US Congressional Record. I have just never been able to find a direct link to the Congressional Record.

Again you can try to deny, nuance, and spin but if you're intellectually honest you cannot deny how well that list fits the modern American Democrat Party.

Its been about 15 years sin... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Its been about 15 years since the fall of the Soviet Union. About 1/2 a generation.

I found that's the limits of memory before you can revise history. Its hard to tell if Matthew is a victim or willing proponent of this revisionism. But they're really started to surface lately.

I've heard Carter was a great President once too often and unfortunately expect to hear it more and more.

"Its hard to tell if Mat... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"Its hard to tell if Matthew is a victim or willing proponent of this revisionism"

He's a child and most likely in a big city school system, so he's most likely a victim. I don't know much about schools in Canada, but I would guess that they are similar to those here in the US and he's being fed socialist/progressive/communist propaganda that's about 10% of the whole story and being sheltered from 90% of the truth just like kids here in the US.

There's a red! Under your ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

There's a red! Under your bed!

Get 'im, Joe!

There's medication today - ... (Below threshold)
JFO:

There's medication today - not manufacture by Commies - for paranoid delusional folks. You might even find some in your underground air-raid bunker. Probably it's right next to your bazooka.

You know, comrades mantis &... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

You know, comrades mantis & JFO, instead of making remarks like you did, that a junior high student would find childish, perhaps you'd like to pick a few items from the list and tell us how they don't apply to the modern American Democrat Party?

No? I didn't think so. When the facts don't fit into your tiny leftist worldview it's probably best to resort to childish insults. At least you two make Matthew seem mature.

But since the useful idiots... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

But since the useful idiots think I'm a paraniod nutcase, perhaps they'd listen to the words of a respected journalist and author who was a Democrat but came to his senses (the useful idiots call these people "neo-cons" as if it's some kind of insult when in fact its a mark of intelligence and honor).

Larry Abraham: "The drive to establish SOCIALISM is at the core of everything the Communists and the insiders do. Marx and all of his successors in the Communist movement have ordered their followers to work on building SOCIALISM. If you hear an official Communist speaker, he never mentions Communism. He will speak only of the struggle to complete the socialization of America. At a communist bookstore you will find all their literature pushes this theme. it does not call for the establishment of Communism but SOCIALISM

"...We are not supposed to believe that Communism is a political conspiracy. We can believe anything else we wish to about it. We can believe that it is brutal, tyrannical, evil,or even that it intends to bury us, and we will win plaudits of the vast majority of the American people. But don't ever, ever use the word conspiracy if you expect applause, for that is when the wrath of liberaldom will be unleashed against you. We are not disallowed from believing in all types of conspiracy, just modern political conspiracy."

Or the words of Arnold Schw... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Or the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger (who is a true liberal and progressive):

"I finally arrived here in 1968.I had empty pockets, but I was full of dreams. The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon and Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend who spoke German and English, translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism which is what I had just left. But then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting government off your back, lowering taxes, and strengthening the military. Listening to Nixon speak sounded more like a breath of fresh air.

I said to my friend, "What party is he?" My friend said, "He's a Republican." I said, "Then I am a Republican!" And I've been a Republican ever since!"

"If I were to use your s... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

"If I were to use your simplistic generalizations I would say something like all Republicans are card carrying members of the KKK.."

Nogo, your comparison is off mark due to that fact that the KKK was an extension of the democrat party and essentially a way to keep whites in line and to keep blacks marginalized. They may have abhorred communism back in the day, but their tactics are remarkably "jack-booted thug-like".

Robert Byrd anyone?

Not only does your comparison fail, how different is the democrat party from communism? Only in the sense that they are taking small baby steps toward government control rather than an all out take-over like communists usually prefer. I mean socialized health care? unions? redistribution of wealth? all the regulations the left puts down? The global warming movement? It's all clearly aimed in one direction and it sure isn't toward free markets. God forbid the rich make some money once in awhile. People like you think the rich should be utterly destroyed and people should become wards of the state. Seriously. How much different would it be between everything Hillary wants and a straight up communist country? Hillary envies the control that someone like Kim Jong Il has over his people.

Paranoid and delusional may... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Paranoid and delusional may well not be the diagnosis. In the words of a very famous psychiatrist:

"You're just nuts!!"

How many bazookas do you actually own?

Sorry, no bazookas. Just a... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Sorry, no bazookas. Just a 12 gauge, 410 gauge, 2 50 cal. blackpowder rifles, a 22 cal. rifle, and a 9 mm pistol.

Clearly not enough for all ... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Clearly not enough for all us commies who really are coming to get you.

Gosh, JFO, do you think tha... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Gosh, JFO, do you think that could possibly mean I'm not just plain nuts?

Taking away my money and rights is not "coming to get me", nor is trying to invalidate traditional morals, nor forcing your religious beliefs on others, nor is opressing the underclass and using the government to prevent them from improving their situation. Those things you "democrats" do piss me off, but I don't plan I shooting any of you because of it. I'd prefer to battle you with ideas as historically your side has always lost that on that battleground.

But thanks for validating everything I've posted by not responding to any of it in a substanciated way, but rather with chilish prevarications. How old are you anyway?

I'm sure older than you and... (Below threshold)
JFO:

I'm sure older than you and clearly with many more marbles.

You do remind me of Bill's ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

You do remind me of Bill's wife and Obama. You spew out piles of words and yet, there's nothing there.

Actually JFO, your "marbles... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Actually JFO, your "marbles" have not been impressive nor your maturity.

You cannot make this stuff ... (Below threshold)

You cannot make this stuff up!!

http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2008/02/superdelegates.html

See post #1 for my labor union example. ROTFL

SPQRI like your de... (Below threshold)
JFO:

SPQR

I like your defense of a kook who believes all democrats are communists. Who regularly spews rants to that effect. Why don't you have the balls and just a modicum of intellectual honesty to call people like this out instead of feeling like you have to defend them.

I've read enough of your comments and have looked at your blog. I don't believe for a minute you agree with his nonsense. But you haven't the guts to tell him he's so far off base that he sounds like a nut.

And to you Mr Bunyan I would only say that trying to respond to you would be like trying to respond to someone standing on a street corner raving about Armageddon coming tomorrow. What you say is on its face an absurdity. Case in point is your "evidence" linking us to a document written in 1963.

What you rant about is silly, inane and just plain goofy. You deride me as a communist and all I say is that you're crazy. There is no doubt I am right and you are wrong.

"who believes all democr... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"who believes all democrats are communists."

I didn't say that. I said the smart one are. Ones like you are just unsful idiots.

"Case in point is your "evidence" linking us to a document written in 1963."

If you weren't such an idiot you'd realize that the document being form 1963 WAS THE WHOLE POINT! It was prophetic. If you would have actually read it you might have realized it, but I doubt you did. If you did and you did use your lefty goggles* the plain truth that practically everything on that list is being realized today throught the efforts of leftist "journalists", politicians, judges, educators, litigators, and entertainers would have had to have been like a slap in the face to you.

And you still have not post one thing of substance on this whole thread. Just childish prater: "What you rant about is silly, inane and just plain goofy. You deride me as a communist and all I say is that you're crazy. There is no doubt I am right and you are wrong." (You have got to be junior high.)

Call yourself a Democrat, or a liberal, or a progressive, hell call yourself the king of liberty for all I care. You can call a pile of horse shit a rose, but I still won't smell it. I can see that it is horse shit, but then again, I don't wear lefty goggles.


*Filter out 90% of the reality. The parts that don't comport with the communist worldview.

Should haven "didn't use yo... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Should haven "didn't use your lefty goggles..."

& "still have not posted...

(I was typing too fast)

Kinda just like a rant on a... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Kinda just like a rant on a street corner.

To sum up this discussion--... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

To sum up this discussion--

Me: Facts, evidence, logical arguments.

JFO: Nee-ner, nee-ner, nee-ner. I don't hear you. You're crazy. Nee-ner, Nee-ner.

Me: More facts evidence and logical arguments.

JFO: Nee-ner, nee-ner, nee-ner. I don't hear you. You're crazy. Nee-ner, Nee-ner.

ect.




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