Sunday, June 01, 2008

Doomsday or a new day for Democrats?

By Libby

This much I know is true. The Democratic party's primary system is irreparably broken and the next time the RBC meets it needs to address a complete overhaul of the machine, not just a temporary workaround to the current mess it's created. If the national entity makes and enforces the rules, then there should be a unified national procedure that fairly distributes the influence among all the states. I'm all for honoring tradition but in today's world, Iowa and New Hampshire need to reliquish their privileged position in order to accomdate the future growth of the party.

A national same day primary would prevent lesser funded outside candidates from mounting an effective challenge to entrenched incumbents but there's no reason Dems couldn't create a rotating regional scheme that would give every state an equal voice and mandating a uniform selecton process for national candidates would eliminate confusion while simplifying the metrics.

Meanwhile, we're left to consider the aftermath of yesterday's theater of the absurd that appears to have solidified rather than ameliorated the Clinton camp's anger. There's a lot of muttering going on today about sore losers but I understand their frustration and I don't blame them for feeling cheated. They have been. We all have been cheated by the party's machinations out of our best chance to consolidate our strengths and move the party back to its roots.

All that being said however, I don't think it helps when the Clinton camp makes irrational and contradictory arguments.
“In choosing the nominee, there are a number of factors to take into account,” Mr. Ickes said. “And we think popular vote is a very, very strong measure and should be weighed heavily.”

The Clinton campaign’s popular vote tally includes zero votes for Mr. Obama in the Michigan primary, where his name was not on the ballot although his supporters were urged to vote for “uncommitted.”
The rules, as agreed upon for decades, simply do not make the popular vote the deciding metric and besides, you can't argue on the basis of counting every vote and then tally your figures by excluding those who didn't vote for you. Even allowing for the impossibility of knowing who an uncommited voter supported, there's simply no way to couch an uncommited vote as anything other than a vote against Hillary. That much is indisputable.

And then there's this incomprehensible remark that merely feeds into the whole ugly narrative about the "Clinton rules."
When asked if Mrs. Clinton would suspend her campaign if Mr. Obama clinched the nomination this week, Mr. McAuliffe said that he rejected the premise of the question.
He said that efforts to court superdelegates would continue this week. “We’re going to work the superdelegates, obviously, very hard,” he said.
Only a few days ago, they were complaining voluably about Obama strongarming the superdelegates and demanding the SDs be allowed to decide on their own. They can't have it both ways.

Nonetheless, I'm not really angry at the Clintonistas today but I'm furious with the Democratic party for allowing this to fester and then addressing in a way that only exacerbates the divisions between us. I woke up thinking the Dems slit their own throats but Cernig posts a theory that comforts me on how this ultimately could work out to the benefit of the progressive wing of the party.
Now for the positive side - a Mccain victory handed to him by the Clintonistas might just mean the end of the two party monopoly in America. An Obama victory gained despite this primary season's bloodletting and erosion of trust might well mean the same thing. There's a lot of dynamic just now that says the natural tendency to stick with what you know and not rock the boat to the point of capsizing might be itself overturned. [...]

Either way, then, I think change is coming. The US has been further Right than the international mean for decades now, mainly due to the interplay of power centers in both the main parties rather than any intrinsic rightwingedness in the nation as a whole - but the adjustment has to come sometime.
As I said in comments there, this could well be the real change we've been looking for all along. The short range pain will be worth it if in the end, the outcome is the breaking up of the duopoly that has been suffocating the entire system for far too long. Cutting out the dead wood might just allow new and healthier growth in all the branches of government. If there's a downside to that, I don't see it.


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