How the DNC Discourages Progressive Candidates
The media have reported Donald Trump’s questioning the process of accumulating delegates to the GOP convention. But there’s plenty of questioning on the Democratic side, too. And it’s not just about “Superdelegates.”
A liberal site called Nation of Change complains about the way the media report delegate counts. After all, no Superdelegates are officially pledged to anybody.
Many critics — including people who aren’t even Sanders’ supporter — have denounced the devious and biased way major media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post and most of the major television networks, have followed the Clinton campaign’s lead in including so-called Superdelegates in the totals. . . This is deceptive counting, because those delegates, while claimed by Clinton and to a lesser extend Sanders, are not pledged at all but are free to change their minds.
The idea is that the media should only report pledged delegates, because they are the only reliable delegates. As we saw in 2008, Hillary Clinton’s Superdelegates simply changed sides. The site notes that Hillary’s lead in pledged delegates have recently dropped from 300 to 213 in just a few weeks. That’s less than 1/10 of all delegates, and there are 1646 left to be won.
The site goes on to question—how did she get that early lead? It turns out that the party had a one-two punch to discourage more progressive candidates—not just introducing Superdelegates, but also starting the primaries in the South.
But the big issue not discussed at all is that all of Clinton’s margin of pledged delegates were picked up by her in a string of early primaries in the deep South states, just as planned by the DNC in the years following the near success of insurgent peace candidate Eugene McCarthy in 1968 and the successful nomination of insurgent anti-war candidate Sen. George McGovern in 1972. McGovern’s successful march through the primaries terrified establishment Democrats, and so, by the 1990s, Super Tuesday in the south had been established, followed by several other southern states including Texas, with the idea that the more conservative southern Democrats would not support any radical candidates outside of the mainstream, and by killing such candidacies off early, they would end up deprived of funding and would see their campaigns wither away.
The irony is that all the states that gave her her early delegate lead would not be voting for her in November. It’s “enemy territory” that put her far in the lead.
In addition to the Superdelegates, and front-loading the conservative states, there’s also the way delegates are chosen.
The Vermont senator took Wyoming by an impressive 12 percentage-point margin in statewide caucuses, beating Hillary Clinton 56-44 percent.
But under the Democratic Party’s oddball delegate system, Sanders’. . . splits Wyoming’s 14 pledged delegates 7 to 7 under the caucus calculus.
Clinton, meanwhile, also gets the state’s four superdelegates who had already pledged their allegiance to her in January. So despite losing, she triumphs 11-7 in the delegate tally.
The Hill notes that there are many such instances, including Wisconsin.
Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton by more than 100,000 votes in Wisconsin’s Democratic primary, securing his seventh win in eight contests and providing more momentum for his presidential campaign ahead of the New York primary.
But in terms of delegates, Sanders’s success was more modest.
According to The Associated Press, Clinton will take 36 delegates compared with 47 for Sanders.
Worse, because seven superdelegates from Wisconsin are expected to back Clinton, according to MSNBC, Sanders’s big win among voters translates to him emerging with just four more delegates than the former New York senator.
The DNC wants to win. They don’t want to nominate another George McGovern (who won only Massachusetts), Walter Mondale (who won only Minnesota), or even Jimmy Carter (who lost re-election, winning only 1/10 of the Electoral College votes).