Friday, November 3, 2017

Instead Of Whining Over 2016 Again Make Some Real Reforms To Fix The Democratic Party

The "left" or the impotent play-group that passes as a left in the United States these days seems to be trying to refight the last presidential election.  The rage of the Bernie dead enders is on display, the efforts of the Green Party fraud to exploit that is as predicable as mold,  there is a study by some group called  Action For A Progressive Future which seems to be unusually uninterested in disclosing who runs it and who produced their study is being peddled by the Putin collaborationist magazine, The Nation*, and there is an excerpt from a book by Donna Brazile that has a title accusing Hillary Clinton "taking over" the Democratic National Committee but which I'd interpret as her stepping in to the wreckage that Barack Obama and his political operation left it in.

To start with, I think there is some valuable information in both the study and in Brazile's article but the Bernie Sanders' fantasists and other conspiracy nuts relitigating the Democratic nomination process 2016 will make the worst possible use of them.  But I don't think other than Democrats avoiding a highly charismatic figure such as Obama who, from the start of his political career, proved over and over again that he was far more about him and his legend than he was about the Democratic Party, will be anything but counter-productive.  He and his campaign staff did little to nothing to take advantage of what was given to them in 2008, he squandered his commanding majorities in both houses of Congress, tried to substitute a cult of personality for fighting for the strongest economic recovery and reform he could and the best health care bill he could.   I had heard complaints from state and local Democratic activists that Obama and his people were arrogant and dismissive if not totally indifferent to the need to build the party from the bottom, some of them said they thought members of Obama's team sought to do to the successful efforts of Howard Dean in that regard what we now see Trump doing to Obama's legacy. 

But I'm not really interested in going over all of those old resentments and wrongs except as a means of going ahead by getting rid of at least the worst of it.  And if that's not how that recent history is going to be used, instead using it to further damage the Democratic Party, then those are better forgotten.

At this point I think the Democratic Party should declare itself both post-Clinton and post-Obama but, most of all, post Bernie.  If, as some complain, the current leadership of the Party is too beholden to either one, it should be removed.  I'm not especially against of for Tom Perez** and like just about everyone else am not even all that aware of what he's doing - though if he's not working hard on rebuilding the finances of the party that Donna Brazile says were left in a shambles by both Obama and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, he should resign.  I would say that what was needed is a leader who is not seen as beholden to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or Bernie Sanders.  I will point out though, that whatever criticisms you can make of Clinton and Obama, at least they, UNLIKE BERNIE SANDERS are members of the party.

I think one of the big lessons of the last election is one the Nation crowd won't like, it is that the party needs to protect itself from being coopted by someone like Sanders who has no fundamental commitment or loyalty to the Democratic Party - I think that is exactly what the problem with Barack Obama re the Democratic Party was, why he squandered what he was given and why he left the Democratic Party in a shambles.  The basic requirement of a Democratic nominee for president should be that they have been a member of the party for at least a decade or two.  There should be a disqualification of anyone who, like Sanders, has not made that basic commitment to the party.

The hue and cry of the Sanders dead-enders is that the nomination process was rigged.  But it is a fact that Sanders is the one who benefitted from the rigged part of the nomination, THE CAUCUSES.  I don't dislike Bernie Sanders and agree with him on much more than I do Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama but he would never have won the general election.   His performance in which he won caucuses and lost primaries shows that he could never have won in any totally unrigged contest, his main strength was in those states that hold caucuses, which are a travesty, a disgusting holdover  of  an anti-democratic past. 

The most important reform that the Democratic Party could make is to get rid of caucuses - making it a rule that the results of caucuses will not count for the nomination and forcing a primary vote.   They should also make it a rule that nominations of the Democratic Party candidate will not count the results of open primary states. 

The Democratic Party should conduct its own primaries, by mail in ballots exclusively from registered Democrats who have been registered as such from January 1st of the year of the nomination.   That would remove state legislatures and their attempts to sand-bag the Democratic Party and possible manipulation by any candidate or campaign apparatus of the nomination process.  The National Conference of State Legislatures list of advantages and disadvantages are worth considering in this regard.  The experience of Washington State should be considered.  All in all, the experience of states which have tried it show that it can increase turnout which should be considered a sacred goal of the Democratic Party.   And, in light of the criticism of the NCSL about how the election material is written, THE KIND OF RULES THAT JIMMY CARTER PUT INTO PLACE FOR USING PLAIN LANGUAGE SHOULD GOVERN ALL OF HOW THAT IS WRITTEN.  It isn't any mistake that Reagan's anti-democratic administration rescinded those, obscurity is an enemy of democracy.

I think if the Democratic National Committee made those two reforms and raised the money to conduct its own nomination process it would insulate it from the kinds of problems which the past several elections cycles and their efforts have produced.  I will say that I don't fault Hillary Clinton for stepping in and taking command of the DNC, someone had to do it, though I also have to say that one of the things that I've learned in the past year is that some of her people should probably never have a major role in another Democratic campaign,  John Podesta***, brother of Tony, foremost. 

We need a clean start and a more broadly based leadership.  We also have to finally get the dead hand of the 19th century and the living manipulation of non-Democrats out of our party.  If we got rid of those, there might not be any question of a need for super-delegates to avoid disaster.

*  I'm sorry but I really can't find myself trusting anything they say in the magazine under its present ownership or leadership.  I won't as long as Vanden Heuvel or someone else so compromised as she is runs it.

As to this Action For A Progressive Future, I don't really trust a group that doesn't list who they are, who is funding it or who produces its publications.  For all I know they're a bunch of Putin or domestic billionaire oligarch whores who are just trying to screw us by exploiting the cry-baby lefties.

** I am certainly in favor of Keith Ellison holding his congressional seat, which was my main reservation about him running for the position.  The reaction of the Bernie Sanders dead-enders to that contest shows the need for leadership that isn't tied to either Sanders or Clinton and unless Perez shows himself to be excellent at the job such should be found.

*** If they can't figure out some way to make their communications hack proof, online, there has to be another means of communications found other than e-mails.  Probably the biggest lesson of this campaign was that the idea that there is private online communication is about as stupid an ideas as exists among the college educated elite.


  1. the DNC couldn't get its hands on. With money comes power, and to the extent the Clinton's 'bought' the DNC, that was something of an open secret.

    Basically the people screaming now are akin to Trump finding out there's a lottery system for immigrants, and accusing foreign countries of sending their worst people here via that lottery, because Trump doesn't understand the immigration system at all and presumes some idiotic answer that fits his ignorance. Bernie supporters, with no experience/background in the Democratic party, found it a closed book and a glass darkly because they'd never tried to read it or turn the lights on behind it.

    We assume, because it ends in the election of a President, and because it is established in state law in all 50 states, that the Presidential primaries are a government function, but they aren't. Laws restrict ballot access, but don't determine how the parties run their primaries or caucuses (Texas still uses both, so the primary vote doesn't really elect the nominee, at least not among Democrats) Controlling the process is not the same thing as defrauding the process. I'm thinking specifically of Trump's complaints, now.

    That the Democratic candidate lost to Trump is an indictment of the Democratic party. Starting another "Bernie wuz robbed!" argument doesn't reverse the outcome of the election, and doesn't mean Bernie would have defeated Trump. Like Obama, the Clintons are gone from the scene. They may have left a lasting mark and a party in shambles, but it's up to the party to avoid the situation Brazile describes: a structure (the DNC) so broken it needs a savior. I think the problem is less that Clinton saved the DNC, than that the DNC had to be saved.

    Power always follows money; that's the whole idea behind campaign finance regulation. If all we're going to do is re-litigate the 2016 primaries, we are going to do Trump's job for him, and there's no need to worry that he'll get the FBI involved (he won't). If we don't look at why the DNC needed saving, we won't prevent 2016 from happening again, and probably in 2020 (if not 2018).

  2. I'm going to add this concluding paragraph to an article at the Atlantic about Brazile's story (needless to say, her story should not be taken as gospel or even as history):

    "The fact that an operator like Brazile is willing to burn bridges with the Clintons, though, is important. Although one might have assumed Hillary Clinton’s time as a Democratic mover and shaker was passed, her frequent appearances to promote her book suggest she remains interested in staying in the arena, and earlier this week Jeet Heer argued that she should be the Democrat’s standard-bearer against Trump. (Never mind that we’ve seen how that turned out once before.) But Brazile’s bound toward the Bernie bandwagon is another indication of how Sanders is, at least for the moment, the de facto leader of the Democratic Party."

    More than anything else, I think that's what's going on here. The Queen is dead, long live the King. Brazile is a player, and Clinton (both of them) are politically dead actors, especially after Hillary lost to Trump. Her story in Politico, understood in that light, becomes a lot less important and explosive.

    OTOH, the damage is done. Frankly, I think she should be saddled with that burden, but whaddo I know?

    Here's the Atlantic article:

    1. I think you are right about this.

      It is really bizarre that people are acting as if Bernie Sanders is a Democrat when he takes every opportunity to point out he isn't one.

      I really think the Democratic Party needs to take control of its own political destiny because it's been way too open to the kind of manipulation that non-democrat have practiced on it.

      I caught some staged outrage by Jeff Weaver, who is one of the few people in politics who I think, if I met him, I'd be unable to keep from punching in the face. I confess that I really hate that guy, though there are lots of others.