The fact that this primary process is still going on amazes me…

4 minute read

May 6, 2008, 11:42 PM

The fact that the Democratic Party has not yet come up with a nominee amazes me. But what can we say? It’s the first serious female contender for president against the first serious black contender for the same. So unless John McCain wins, we will have either the first woman president, or our first black president. Of course, if Grandpa McCain wins, he would beat the record for oldest elected president. Ronald Reagan was 69 when he was first elected in 1981. Grandpa McCain would be 72 if elected. But we’re not talking about McCain. He’s got his nomination sealed up. Let’s discuss… THE DEMOCRATS!

I first began dissociating myself from the Democratic Party in 2007 after the Democrats took power in Congress and proceeded to be an amazing disappointment. And with the way this election has been handled, I’m quite proud to now call myself an Independent. The hell with the party.

First of all, their system has issues. I never thought I’d be praising the Republicans on something, but they do have a simple, straightforward nominating process. It’s winner-take-all, where the person with the most votes in a given primary takes all the delegates for that state. It’s very similar to our electoral college system in every state except Maine and Nebraska (let’s not even go there on the electoral college – we’re not to that point yet). There are also no “superdelegates” in the Republican nominating process. Thus John McCain has had it all sewn up for months now.

Then there’s the Democrats. First of all, I do applaud the Democratic Party for its use of proportional allocation, as I think it gives a more realistic picture of the will of the voters. However, of the 4,047 delegate votes, roughly 800 of them belong to unpledged so-called “superdelegates“. That works out to 19.77% of the total (let’s just say 20%). Thus in a close election such as this one, it’s not who has the most elected delegates in their column at the end of the primary season, even if it comes down to a difference of one delegate’s vote. No, the party elite determines who is best suited to be the nominee in that case, and the hell with the people, who are obviously too stupid to decide who should be president.

And then let’s not forget the whole Michigan and Florida thing. Recall that Michigan and Florida’s state legislatures both moved their primaries ahead of Super Tuesday in order to make them more influential in the nominating process by having their contests earlier. That’s their prerogative, since elections are an affair handled at the state level in the United States, even for matters concerning national office. Per Democratic Party rules, they can’t do that, and had to have their primary on Super Tuesday or later. Personally, in this case, I think that state law should trump party rules, with the idea of pay-to-say coming into play here. And for those two states’ standing up for their voters, they were essentially disenfranchised, as the party stripped them of their delegates. I heard that, and I was just like, What are you DOING?!? This is not how to nominate a candidate. Whether Florida and Michigan were right to move their primaries doesn’t factor into this. But how democratic is that for the Democratic Party to disenfranchise their voters in one fell swoop, especially where one of those states cost them the 2000 election. I’m starting to understand why Rush Limbaugh calls them the “Democrat Party”. They’re not being very democratic, after all. The elections that followed were lopsided, since the candidates all pledged to not campaign in those two states, and the voters went in knowing that their vote would not count. In Michigan, only Hillary Clinton and Dennis Kucinich were on the ballot, running against “uncommitted”. So now there’s all this bitterness over whether and how to seat these two states’ delegates. I can tell already, it’s going to be nasty in Denver. Oh, to be a fly on the wall at the Pepsi Center in Denver…

Personally, if it were up to me, Florida and Michigan would have do-overs paid for in full by the Democratic Party. It’s like from the movie Network: “YOU HAVE MEDDLED WITH THE PRIMAL FORCES OF NATURE! AND YOU WILL ATONE!” Now they will atone, since the elections as they exist currently aren’t worth the paper the ballots were printed on, because most candidates deliberately skipped Florida and Michigan thinking that those contests would not count. Thus Hillary Clinton’s claiming “wins” in those states are like saying I won in world championship skiing because my opponent withdrew from consideration (and just so you know, I do not ski).

Of course, I find it slightly amusing how the corporate media even bothers to declare “winners” for Democratic primary contests. It’s not like the winner takes all the spoils in these contests, after all. It’s all proportional. If Hillary Clinton takes 47% of the vote in a given state, and Barack Obama takes 49% of the vote in the same given state (and just for fun, let’s pretend that Dennis Kucinich won the other 4%), each of them gets that same proportion of the pledged delegates. Thus “win” doesn’t mean much. You just got the portion of the voters that supported you.

Of course, I also wondered if the Democratic Party had a system like the Republicans where it was winner-take-all, whether we would have a nominee by now. Surprisingly, no. I ran some numbers, and it was still very close. I based my calculations on information found in this revision of Results of the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries on Wikipedia. I admit, I did paint with a broad stroke. I gave the various states to the candidate with a plurality of the votes. For Texas, where they had both a primary and a caucus, I treated them as two separate contests, with winner-take-all allocation for both, because I’m not going to even try to rectify a caucus and a primary to make them one (my information gave Hillary Clinton the primary, and gave the caucuses to Barack Obama). I threw out the primaries in Indiana and North Carolina that were held today, because I don’t have firm numbers for those contests yet. Additionally, I threw out Florida and Michigan’s tainted results. I also threw out the superdelegates. That leaves us with 3,253 pledged delegates, with the magic number at 1,627 to lock up the nomination.

So by my calculations, as of the end of the Pennsylvania primary on April 22, with 1,627 delegates needed to win, the score was 1,547 delegates for Hillary Clinton, and 1,583 delegates for Barack Obama. That’s a difference of 36 delegates in Obama’s favor. Thus it does bring them significantly closer together, but neither one of them has it yet. It’s still neck-and-neck. Amazing. But at least we’d be guaranteed a nomination by the end of primary season, because mathematically, someone has to hit it when the smoke clears.

Okay, end of rant. That felt good. Oh, how this election has pissed me off on so many levels…

Web site: All about the 2008 presidential election. Just a hair under six months to go until it's all over.

Song: Crush On Obama from Barely Political. If I can't have Dennis Kucinich, I'll take Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton any day...

Quote: Meanwhile, Democrats across the country need to stand up to the party elite about their handling of the 2008 election's nominating process, and say, "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!" (also from Network) The Democratic Party needs to drop the whole idea of superdelegates, because it indicates that they don't trust the will of the people, and have the elections as they are called, and stick their "rules" where the sun don't shine...

Categories: National politics