Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I Don't Think We Need a Guy From New Zealand Telling Us How To Elect A Democrat

Just in time to fuel the paranoia of Bernie or Busters over a supposedly corrupted process in the Democratic primaries and caucuses, In These Times has just published what it is obviously pushing as an expose in the form of a history of the super delegates.  That it chose to do so through a New Zealander, Branco Marcetic, from a country with a parliamentary system is rather telling.  Let me point out that if it were working for him, Bernie Sanders and his supporters would have no problem with the process as it is.  None at all.

A prime minister in a parliamentary system is hardly chosen on the basis of the popular vote by non-insiders, THEY ARE GROOMED AND CHOSEN EXACTLY BY THE INSIDERS FROM AMONG THEIR NUMBER.   That is the basis of most of the modern democracies in the world.  I suspect that a lot of the brighter of the bright folk at In These Times, the lefty media and the left, in general, have, at various times, craved a parliamentary system for the United States - a lot of the deluded third-party fantasies nurtured and cherished by such folk is an expression of their romantic view form afar of parliamentary democracy.   Their yearning for a parliamentary system is a fantasy that is at odds with their alleged affection for absolute, direct democracy.  I will point out that you can't have both.

I would be curious to read what criticisms of parliamentary democracy Branco Marcetic has published, even as he quite obviously doesn't have much of a grasp of the reality of American political life under the rigged and extremely messy, state-by-state, system we have in place.   Things can look so much simpler in academic discourse than they are in real reality.

But the Democratic Party of the United States, even at its most really idealistic*, has no choice but to deal with the fact that the system set up by the Constitution is rigged in favor of the economic elite.  The retention of election for the national leader on the basis of states and the putrid Electoral College, putting states in control of those national elections,  the fact that electoral votes are assigned in almost all states on a winner-takes-all system, and in myriad other ways, the Democratic Party is already dealing with a fixed system that works for oligarchy far better than it does democracy.

Officials in a party have an overriding goal to do the best they can to elect members of the party and to promote the overall goals of the party through office holders.  THE SUPER DELEGATES WERE INVENTED AS A RESPONSE TO SEVERAL UNSUCCESSFUL ELECTIONS IN A ROW, THEY WERE INSTITUTED TO RESPOND TO A PRIMARY-CAUCUS SYSTEM WHICH WASN'T WORKING TO PRODUCE WINNING PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES.   They were a response to the almost uniform hostility of the corporate media to Democratic candidates - the more liberal the more hostile the free press has been to them - and their outright and clear favoring of Republicans.  The Democratic Party could hardly do anymore about the blatant promotion of oligarchy by the free press than it could about the inherently anti-democratic features of the United States Constitution.   It had to try to figure out some way to avoid the, frankly, disastrous election of  1972 which nominated the great Senator, George McGovern, who was defeated by one of the most corrupt and, frankly, insane men to have ever been elected.

Every Democrat who has won election since 1964 has been a result of the implosion of a horrifically bad Republican who won the office with the backing of the free press and through the system as set up by the Constitution and rigged by state governments.  The system works far better to produce horrible Republican administrations than it does to produce liberal Democratic administrations.   I don't like the super delegate system but I will point out that it produced two two-term Democratic administrations.  That those two were centrists is a result of the free press destroying anyone who aspired to more change than they produced or could imagine producing.  But you've heard me about the license to lie given to the press by the entirely undemocratically selected members of the Supreme Court already this week.   A privilege to lie which has had the full support of the same left which is pushing this line of Republican-enabling paranoia.

Unless the basic system of electing a president changes, unless the media is prevented from lying any real liberal out of the possibility of becoming president, a series of attempted work arounds will have to be in place for any party which aspires to liberal change in the law and in society.   The ideal of direct democracy is nothing that is going to happen under things as they are, certainly not in 2016.  

Bernie Sanders' campaign and the media which has supported it have also proven that their own cynical regard of the super delegate system in place is as flexible as it needs to be to gain him any possible advantage under it.  The super delegates in fact, having always gone with the overall will of the voters by the time of the convention in the end,  is less of a cynical gaming of the system than that.

*  By "really idealistic" I mean REALLY TAKING OFFICE AND REALLY MAKING BETTER LAWS THAT REALLY IMPROVE THE LIVES OF REAL PEOPLE AND OTHER LIVING BEINGS.  I don't mean coming up with something unrealistic and merely theoretically idealistic.

Note:  I would call attention to the elections in 1972, 1984 and 2004 as especially instructive as Democrats couldn't manage to oust the worst Republicans, even the most criminal administrations in the history of the country.  Each failure had their own reasons, but the overriding reason was the sycophantic support that the free press gave to Nixon, Reagan and George W. Bush.  Especially telling is the election of George W. Bush whose installation by five Republicans on the Supreme Court, an action so blatantly corrupt that it didn't have the support of two other Republicans on the court, was not opposed by the corporate media, in fact, even the "liberal media" gave that corrupt installation their de facto support.   Their interest is also in not changing the system, they also benefit from the status quo system. 

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