Archive for category Democracy
This year’s Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia July 25–28 will be the first in which super-delegates will make the decision on a presidential nominee. The questions that will be asked: (1) Are super-delegates supposed to choose the most electable candidate? or (2) Were super-delegates given the job of making sure the establishment-chosen candidate wins over an insurgent?
What is a super-delegate? From Wikipedia:
[A] “superdelegate” is a delegate to the Democratic National Convention who is seated automatically and chooses for whom they want to vote. These Democratic Party superdelegates include distinguished party leaders, and elected officials, including all Democratic members of the House and Senate and sitting Democratic governors. … Because they are free to support anyone they want, superdelegates could potentially swing the results to nominate a presidential candidate who did not receive the majority of votes during the primaries.
Why does the Democratic Party have super-delegates?
The super-delegate story begins with the traumatic 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, which resulted in the nomination of then Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey (President Lyndon Johnson decided not to run for re-election that year after being challenged by popular anti-Vietnam War candidate Rep. Eugene McCarthy). There was widespread dissatisfaction among the voters because Humphrey did not compete in any primary elections. Humphrey lost the general election to Richard M. Nixon.
A commission headed by South Dakota Senator George McGovern and Minnesota Representative Donald M. Fraser met in 1969 and 1970 to make the Democratic Party’s nominating convention less subject to control by party leaders and more responsive to the votes cast in primary elections. The rules implemented by the McGovern-Fraser Commission shifted the balance of power to primary elections and caucuses, mandating that all delegates be chosen via mechanisms open to all party members. The number of state primaries increased from 17 in 1968 to 35 in 1980.
Despite a huge increase in the level of primary participation, McGovern’s 1972 presidential run resulted in a landslide defeat for the party. The same thing happened in President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 race against Ronald Reagan. Party leaders established another commission in an attempt to balance the wishes of rank-and-file Democrats with the collective wisdom of party leaders and to thereby avoid the nomination of insurgent candidates. Following a series of meetings held from August 1981 to February 1982, the Hunt Commission issued a report which recommended the set aside of un-elected and un-pledged delegate slots for Democratic members of Congress and for state party chairs and vice chairs.
The problem for the 2016 election
Neither Dem candidate is likely at this point to finish the primary campaign with a majority of pledged delegates. Un-pledged super-delegates make up about 15% of the overall convention votes, and these delegates will choose the party’s nominee in July.
According to former Vermont Governor, DNC Chair and now lobbyist/super-delegate Howard Dean, “Super delegates don’t ‘represent people.’ I’m not elected by anyone. I’ll do what I think is right for the country.” (86% of voters in this year’s Vermont primary election chose Bernie Sanders, but Dean remains committed to voting for Hillary Clinton at the convention).
Of course, the assumption has always been that Democratic insurgent candidates like Bernie would be less electable in the general election. In 2016 it looks like this isn’t a good year for establishment candidates like Hillary Clinton. A lot of people thought we were doomed to a Bush-Clinton contest, but Donald Trump won so much support among Tea-GOP voters that he’s their presumptive nominee. And it looks like Bernie is the more electable Democratic candidate.
Hillary Clinton Now Loses to Trump in Polls. Bernie Sanders Beats Trump by 10.8 Points. (Hillary’s poll numbers have gone down, however she is within the margin of error against Trump — and the Democrats can expect a built-in advantage in the Electoral College, the so-called “Blue Wall”).
It’s up to the super-delegates to decide. Win with Bernie (and nudge the party to the center) or risk losing with Hillary (confirming that right-wing Dems cause progressives to abandon the party).
Only video can capture the excitement of the Bernie Sanders campaign in New York. If he loses, it will only be because people were denied their right to vote in the Democratic primary. Like Bernie himself, Spike Lee grew up in Brooklyn. Can you tell?
This was the last thing I wanted to wake up and read this morning. It looks like a lot of young people in New York, who would most likely be voting for Bernie Sanders, have missed the boat, due to restrictive laws on voting registration.
I just happened upon this “Democracy Now” segment that was taped the day after the Utah caucuses caught the nation by surprise and gave Sanders an overwhelming victory here. I don’t think the extent of the failure in the Arizona election had been looked at yet. It’s great to see my favorite Utah politician standing up for my favorite national politician and stating Sanders’s obvious advantages over Hillary:
Of course Sanders went on to a long string of solid wins after Utah and Idaho, showing a strong momentum if there ever was one. Polls in Utah showed that even Republicans trust Sanders more then the current front runner in their party and, like Rocky says, he’s a shoe-in over Hillary against any Republican now running for the general election slot.
Anderson, of the “Justice Party”, is upset about a blatant hit piece on Sanders in “The Washington Post”, derived from a poorly conducted and carved up interview from a rag called the “New York Daily News”. He’s made a list of questions a tough journalist could ask Hillary. It’s obvious this won’t happen at “The [Bezos] Post”; a publication which recently did 16 negative articles on Sanders in 16 hours.
As the party chairman, Corroon is automatically a superdelegate, meaning he can pick his favorite candidate regardless of the statewide vote. Not a fan of this process, Corroon had said he’d side with whichever candidate won Utah’s caucus and that is undeniably Sanders.
…Two of the state’s superdelegates — Patrice Arent, the national committeewoman, and Breanne Miller, the party’s vice chairwoman — are backing Clinton. National Committeeman Wayne Holland remains undecided.
The message is:
Bernie Sanders is our choice for President. Give people candidates they’re excited about, and they will show up. This is an opportunity to bring more Utahns into the democratic process. The Democratic Party establishment is too far to the right. The Gallup Poll indicates both parties are at historical low points in the percentage who identify themselves as core supporters of the party. We’re independents – you need us to win in November.
Peter Corroon (Thank him, he’s for Bernie): email@example.com
Wayne Holland (Undecided): firstname.lastname@example.org
Breanne Miller (Supporting Hillary): email@example.com
Rep. Patrice Arent (Supporting Hillary): firstname.lastname@example.org
[Democratic Party Executive Director Lauren] Littlefield called the big turnout, which included 20,000 new voters, “the largest growth opportunity for Utah Democrats in decades,” and yet she and Corroon criticized state leaders for not funding a full primary, instead of the party-run caucuses.
Instead of hundreds of polling locations statewide and the option for mail-in and absentee ballots, the party spent $20,000 to fund 90 voting locations, resulting in lines that stretched for city blocks. More than half of the precincts ran out of ballots and had to print more.
Utah’s last undecided Democratic superdelegate threw his support behind Bernie Sanders on Wednesday, and the state party finalized its tally from last week’s presidential caucuses, in which a high turnout led to a lengthy vote-counting process…
Wayne Holland, Utah’s Democratic committeeman, was the last holdout, and as such received a barrage of calls and emails…
The party announced his support for Sanders early Wednesday. In an interview, Holland said he’s more ideologically in tune with Sanders and he liked that his pick matched the caucus vote. While he says “the odds are long” that Sanders claims the party’s nomination, Holland, a union organizer, felt the senator was bringing in new voters with his populist message…
The current party chairman, Peter Corroon, is also backing Sanders, tying his vote to Utah’s caucus results. Clinton received the support of Utah Democratic Party Vice Chairwoman Breanne Miller and Democratic Committeewoman Patrice Arent, both saying she is the most qualified candidate, having previously served as secretary of state, a senator from New York and first lady. Miller and Arent have heard from Sanders supporters who want them to switch allegiances, but they are not budging.
Utah’s never seen anything this bizarre.
The republicans are turning out in “Huuge” numbers to vote AGAINST their presumed nominee, (Donald Trump), and democrats are turning out in “Huuge” numbers to vote AGAINST their presumed nominee also, (Hillary Clinton).
We won’t know until morning, but from what I’ve seen on my, (so far), republican-bias TV stations here, the democrats are voting for the person they actually want.
Guess we’ll find out in the morning. I saw a lot of Hillary supporters. My “Bernie” badge didn’t get any real opposition on my little walk.
I’m actually naive enough to think that our senators would show up to hear the concerns of the citizens who showed up to a hearing in Salt Lake on March 2nd, 2016, concerning the new “Public Lands Initiative”, (PLI). I don’t know why I thought that, when the hearing wouldn’t have even taken place without being organized by “Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment”.
Jason Chaffetz gets a gold star for sending a notice he wouldn’t be present. Orrin Hatch, Rob Bishop and Mike Lee didn’t even have enough decency to reply to their invitation. Lack of respect from the senators, for the overwhelming majority of their constituents was a common theme throughout the night.
It was a good turnout, and it’s too bad it wasn’t held in a larger venue then Orson Spencer Hall. There wasn’t enough room for all the people who came to the event, even though some the attendees had to stand along the wall after the seats were gone. People at the back of the auditorium were complaining about all the noise being made by the folks in the foyer.
My camera batteries weren’t sufficient to record the entire meeting which lasted over three hours. Many dozens of people submitted a request to speak. I got some good footage though, which I present here for the people of Utah and hopefully others across the nation, since this terrible initiative could affect many other states, should it pass as written.
Enjoy the passion!
I’ve spent the last 24 hours trying to get a handle on the bizarre politics of the SCOTUS appointment. On the one hand, it’s nothing more than our current status quo. The weirdness of our current status quo is the asymmetry between Republicans and other Americans. Republicans have been furiously angry for years – they can’t get any angrier But other Americans are oddly disengaged. If that status quo breaks, if Democrats and independents get engaged, it could turn against Republicans very quickly and decisively.
The death of Antonin Scalia certainly came as a surprise – I believe he was thought to be in as good a health as a 79 year old man could be. I’m sending condolences and best wishes to his family and loved ones.
Scalia’s body hadn’t even hit the floor before Republicans were playing politics. Lindsey Graham suggested President Obama should name a moderate Orrin Hatch type, proving once again that the Senate’s biggest closet case is divorced from reality. Mitch McConnell was peddling a theory that we should wait a year so the next president can appoint someone. The Republican presidential candidates got in on the act during their Saturday night debate cum mud-wrestling event. The odious Ted Cruz has promised to filibuster any Obama nominee.
The President offered a short, gracious statement and promised to fulfill his Constitutional duty and nominate a candidate to the Supreme Court. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m glad Bernie Sanders is casting doubt on serious concerns about his candidacy. “Some” might call him a conspiracy theorist, to shut down the conversation. It works every damn time in America. I’ve called it a post hypnotic suggestion in the past, and I’m still calling it that. As far as I know, none of the media has called out that particular big gun on Sanders yet.
I’ve always loved computers, but I’ll be the first one to tell you they don’t have any place in elections. A Computer will do anything the programmer tells it to do. The internet, in essence. is just a really, damned, big computer.
I wrote this letter to Bill Gates in mid 2006 on BradBlog:
AN OPEN LETTER TO BILL GATES CONCERNING VOTING MACHINES
Dear Mr. Gates:
I heard you on NPR’s “What I believe” series , talking about your hopes and dreams concerning computers and other very important issues facing today’s world. I too share your love of computers and have always thought they were the greatest invention of my lifetime. I even taught myself programming and published a little known program called “Cyber Print” for Atari in 1988 just before they went out of business. Don’t worry, I now own a PC and find it to be perfect for my needs.
Who could image a machine that could not only allow somebody to compose and orchestrate their own musical score, create incredible works of art, or think of virtually any question that popped into their mind and actually have the answer in the time it takes to boot up their PC and hop on the internet. Wow!
Many years ago I was with some friends, and the subject of computers came up. Somebody I had never met said something that seemed so stupid to me at the time, that for a moment, had put me in a state of rage! He said that computers were the “appliance from hell”. I was speechless that somebody could say something so ignorant and literally could not think of a thing to say.
Today, I feel he may have been right! Whether you are a conspiracy nut or not these days, nobody can argue that computers, intentionally or not, are keeping us from knowing our votes are being counted at the polls. Something so horrifying that apparently, people don’t want to believe it. This news is traveling slowly to say the least. Not from any lack of notification on my part though. Just ask anybody at the local news hotlines or members of the Voting Equipment Selection Commitee here.
I walked the streets and collected hundreds of signatures for a group of local activists in Utah last year soliciting for paper ballots. I even got to speak at a local rally for my efforts and told of my ease at gathering signatures from both sides of this 21st century political divide we find ourselves in. Although I didn’t ask, I assumed most of people I talked to must have been republican. Almost all of these people did not know that these machines were secretly programmed, but nearly everybody I talked to signed up immediately and were very appreciative that somebody was trying to fix this obvious problem.
Despite all my, and many others efforts and money, local officials elected to buy an unverifiable system for the 2006 midterm elections. I also understand the democrats aren’t planning to organize an exit poll this year. Maybe they are too busy getting one together for the next Kiev race! We all know how goofy those Russian elections can get!
This is where I hope you might come in. Although I don’t think it takes any great knowledge of computers to understand this problem, I’ll bet your thoughts on this disturbing matter would promote our cause faster then any thousand computer scientists. And I’ll bet those same scientists would be very happy to get back to their regular day jobs, and leave the task of producing verifiable voting procedures to competent professionals who get paid for that sort of thing!
I’m sure that your great American success story could only be enhanced by your bravery to come out against any corporation that would sell, or polling officials that would buy, a machine designed to count votes, without providing complete transparency. Some things are just too important to get all mixed up in a legal conundrum. In other words, they tell us we are lucky to live in the greatest democracy in the world, and I’m just asking for the right to have my ONE vote registered AND counted on election day.
When I got a forum on OneUtah, I published it again. I probably shouldn’t have included Bill Gates’s famous smiling mugshot. Maybe that’s why he never responded, even though it put me on Googles front page for about 8 years, and usually at the top. Try it: Type (an open letter to bill gates) into Goggle. I’m currently number one, but I’m interested to see what happens now. Read my whole post to find out why I don’t really trust Gates, and many others, in regards to voting integrity.
Here’s Microsoft’s reply to those who might have concerns about it’s new APP:
“Microsoft is providing technology and services solely to administer and facilitate a neutral, accurate, efficient reporting system for the caucuses. We are proud to partner with the Iowa Democratic and Republican parties to ensure accurate results on caucus night.”
What we need, is hand marked, hand counted ballots. I’m a true Luddite about that!
This wasn’t one of those flash polls you see on the internet that everybody knows can be rigged, even if it looks exactly like one. These are all real people who have registered with DFA over a decade or so.
I Love DFA, (Democracy For America). It was organized around my favorite candidate for president in 2004, Governor Howard Dean. It was set up by people much younger then I am, but it was a true grass roots movement that made early inroads into utilizing the internet to inform and activate people interested in a true democratic system.
I was most impressed when I got my first E-mail which asked everybody in the organization to vote for which direction they wanted to take in the election. I was excited that I would actually be able participate in deciding something for a change. A sense of responsibility came over me. It felt refreshing.
In fact, Howard Dean came out in October, supporting Hillary Clinton, but DFA hasn’t changed its policy of deciding things – you know – democratically. So I was sort of scared to check out the results today, but was very pleasantly surprised.
Bernie Sanders, who also just received support from a major union, was also impressed with the process at DFA, and said:
“It is no secret that the founder of DFA—my friend and fellow Vermonter former Gov. Howard Dean—has chosen not to support my candidacy. Yet the leadership of DFA allowed a fair and free vote to take place which we won. That’s pretty impressive.”
The original people who organized DFA must be in their 30 and 40’s by now. It would be great to see the old crowd get back together and save the country, just in the nick of time!
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Bernie Sanders has finally made the news. Sign this emergency petition to stop the DNC from crippling his campaign!
Just before midnight on Monday, congressional leaders and the White House tentatively agreed on a major budget deal. The plan is to end debt limit standoffs through March 2017, and keep the federal government in operation with some sequestration relief. So-called “entitlement reform,” meaning cuts to Medicare and Social Security, was kept within limits.
Presumably, Speaker John Boehner will send this budget bill to the House floor before turning over the gavel to Rep. Paul Ryan.
The good news is, it looks like the U.S. government and economy will survive in the near term. We’ll avoid a looming default on our National Debt, and there will not be a government shutdown on December 11.
The bad news is the Shutdown Caucus, a key block of Tea-GOP members of Congress, still wants to bring about a government shutdown and/or default any way they can. Because of gerrymandering, they are likely to survive the next election. And nobody except Bernie Sanders is talking about taxing the rich anymore.