Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Opinion of the Congressional Black Caucus On Super Delegates And Open Primaries Should Count Far More Than Bernie Sanders'

Bernie Sanders was not a Democrat before the age of 74, he chose not to be a member of the party, until he and Democrats in Vermont reached a sort of agreement that they would co-exist, he ran against Democrats.  His presidential campaign didn't do much to reach out to other Democratic candidates to support them. There is no way that he could be considered a loyal, long-time Democrat who has demonstrated that he has the best interests of the Democratic Party and its electoral success at heart.

On the other hand, there is a group which have been among the most loyal of all Democratic constituencies, struggling to support Democratic candidates, among the hardest working and, through decades of coming out, working for candidates and voting for Democrats, the most reliable of Democrats, Black Democrats.  

Now some of the most long term, hard working, loyal and reliable, and inspired of all Democrats, those in the Congressional Black Caucus have unanimously come out in opposition to Bernie Sanders' flagship (non-)issues, abolishing super delegates and closed primaries because, as they point out, it will either force them to run as delegates to a convention against their own constituents when they certainly have earned the right to participate in the convention.  If I understand the argument correctly, they also point out that open primaries will dilute the effect of the votes of Black Democrats, allowing non-Democrats, many of whom are not only not loyal to the Democratic Party but far more likely to be white, thus diluting the force of one of the most deserving and essential parts of the Democratic coalition.

Since Bernie Sanders still more or less argues that a convention can act with independence from the voters who send pledged delegates to the convention - if he were still in contention he would certainly try to flip Clinton delegates after a first ballot - his arguments against the super delegates are far weaker than they are usually presented as being.  Considering the slights to Black Democrats - many of them in Southern states - he and his campaign insulted during the primaries - I don't think Sanders has any moral authority to answer the opposition of the Congressional Black Caucus on these issues.

It is one of the ironic features of Sanders' campaign that he has had far more support from white voters than Black voters, but that only seems ironic if you don't take into account the many decades of confidence built up between long time Democrats and Democratic politicians.   I don't think this is the time to second guess the Congressional Black Caucus, especially when it speaks with one voice on these issues, especially given the vacillation of Bernie Sanders on issues such as the super delegates, claiming to oppose them as he tries to flip them to support the candidate who lost the popular vote.

Bernie Sanders clearly has a limited understanding of the Democratic Party and a limited appreciation of the needs of some of the most important of Democratic constituencies.  I'm not that convinced that he really cares about such things, he has run against the Democratic Party and his supporters are still slamming the party as being corrupt - when it is certainly far less corrupt than the alternatives.   They are still slamming the nominee of the party - I'm still reading some of them claiming that she is more corrupt and dangerous than Donald Trump.   Such behavior since February came directly from his campaign insiders and his surrogates.   I wouldn't count him or them as reliably loyal or committed Democrats, certainly not as compared to Black Democrats.

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