party politics

Here is another post by Robn,

What a fascinating election year this is! What has already happened rather boggles the mind and gives no real hint as to what is yet to come. Is the Democratic Party following the lead of the Republican Party to collapse?

Hillary Clinton started her campaign last year with a tremendous head start. She had (and has) intelligence, universal name recognition, a huge war chest of contributions, a CV to covet, and great debating skills. Two other factors might be to her advantage and might not: her gender and her membership in the Clinton Dynasty. Some will favor her for one or the other of these, others will hold them against her. These 7 above attributes alone gave her the Democratic nomination to lose.

She did not get a coronation, however, and had to fight for the nomination. If everything had been straightforward throughout the campaign it is possible that she would have won. Despite various scandals and Bernie’s popularity, her head start may well, though not necessarily, have led to victory. There is no way to tell.

Unfortunately, we did not get a straightforward contest. In addition to her head start, she also received an additional advantage in the form of super delegate endorsements, which should never have been made in advance, according to their stated purpose for existing.

No one can expect contestants to all be equal at the starting line, so the first 7 advantages were hers by right. Bernie had his own advantages in the form of consistency, integrity, passion, and message. But the 8th advantage – super delegate endorsements – was not proper.

Another unfair advantage was the media’s near total blackout of coverage of Hillary’s competitors. And when they did mention them, it was dismissively. This is not the way a democratic election campaign should be handled. Period.

Next was the debate schedule. Very limited and avoiding prime time. This may have been to Hillary’s advantage or not. She is a powerful, skilled debater, which could easily have benefited her more than the exposure would have benefited Bernie. The jury is still out on that one. The point here is not which candidate benefited the most, the point is that the VOTERS lost out. The access to information by VOTERS was deliberately minimized. Again, this is not the way a democratic campaign should be handled. Period.

Unfortunately these unfair, in my mind unethical, but I assume totally legal practices were not the end of the story. Win or lose on the basis of all of the above, it might well have been still possible to nominate a candidate, without tearing the Democratic Party apart.

Many voters were frustrated, many were angry. They felt disrespected and ignored. But they accepted it as a problem to overcome and they did their best. They campaigned, they registered, they caucused and went to the polls.

And what happened? Lines were way too long, at way too few polling places. Misinformation about when and where to vote was not uncommon. Ballots were unavailable. Many irregularities affected both candidates, but strangely enough there was no getting around the fact that Bernie’s supporters were affected far far more than Hillary’s supporters. And when voters complained, they received shrugged shoulders and assurances that these were totally normal, to be expected, and constituted insignificant minor glitches which would not affect the outcome!

The final straw and proof that these were not totally normal, to be expected, constituting insignificant minor glitches was the number of voters who’s registrations were changed without their action or knowledge. Registrations changed to other parties, or ‘lost’ altogether, preventing them from voting. Again, this is being dismissed as just clerical errors. Sorry, there are far too many of them to be so dismissive. Even if it were due only to incompetence, it is inexcusable and unacceptable. Even if the final results would not be affected, it is still totally unacceptable. It disrespects the voters’ rights to have their say.

I am not the greatest Googler, but I did look and found no articles arguing that Hillary’s supporters were also being disenfranchised. This puzzles me greatly. I would expect that if anyone was deliberately disenfranchising Bernie’s voters in order to affect the outcome, they would do the same to Hillary’s in smaller numbers to cover their tracks. And since Bernie’s supporters are crying foul, I would expect that Hillary’s supporters would come to her defense by showing that it happened to them as well. I find no evidence of that happening. Regardless of what caused the registration problems, the problem was greatly exacerbated by the dismissive tone of officials who seemed totally unconcerned – with a couple of exceptions.

So here we have a situation where a candidate’s supporters feel that their candidate is being unfairly treated but are willing to try to overcome that with enthusiastic voting. And then they don’t get to vote at all for one reason or another. And then the exit polls on the Republican side match up with the vote tallies, but the exit polls on the Democratic side don’t match up with their tallies (and again we are told this is to be expected, that you can’t trust exit polls even though they have been trusted for decades) and so the integrity of the voting machines and the official count comes into question.

More and more the feeling grows that the system is rigged and there is NO way to win even if their candidate is the stronger one.

Most recently, we have the Nevada Convention with yet more shenanigans to maintain the power of the Party. I’m not even saying what the goal of the Party is other than maintaining power. It’s clear that voices were being silenced and ignored which is why they got louder and louder and angrier as the day went on.

It is quite obvious that a majority of the public has had it with the establishment. Most have dropped out of the two parties altogether and either gone independent, or third party, or dropped out completely. Of those that have remained in the party, many are unhappy with the status quo and are trying to change things from within. Given the strangle hold on the system that the two parties maintain, this effort at change is quite a challenge. Those entrenched in power have many ways at their disposal to keep it.

This is not just Hillary vs Bernie. It is, even more, the status quo, party politics, and corruption vs the people, integrity, democracy and transparency.

The millions of independent voters in the many states with closed primaries, by not being allowed to participate, have no say in the choice that will be available in November. They can vote for third party candidates but that does not give them a meaningful voice. If the primaries (R & D) had consisted of preferential voting by ALL voters (who desire to vote) the results would NOT be Hillary vs Trump.

There is no obvious way to break that strangle hold of power, but the will of the people is clearly to do so. The only question remains how the rest of this election cycle will play out. If the status quo survives for now, then the question becomes for how long. I fear there may be rising violence. I also have hope for a peaceful political revolution, because those that don’t like the status quo also don’t like violence, and they are proving to be creative and determined. The Berlin Wall came down peacefully. Change can, indeed, be peaceful. Political upsets do happen from time to time. Now is hopefully one of those times.

Robn & Dave


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