Democratic meltdown looming By Eric T. Campbell The Michigan Citizen The Democratic presidential nomination process is now in danger of succumbing to irregular campaign strategies and accusations of mass disenfranchisement.
The drawn out race between Senators Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton for state delegates has had the unintended effect of exposing some undemocratic characteristics. The current delegate count has determined that, without several landslide victories in the remaining primaries, neither Senators Barack Obama nor Hilary Clinton can secure the nomination before the national convention. In a scenario the Democratic Party leaders do not desire, political analysts are now speculating whether the race may be decided on the national convention floor by a group of political office holders and party insiders, called super delegates. Super delegates consist of elected Democratic officials such as U.S. senators and representatives, state governors, former presidents and vice presidents, national party officials and party insiders. Nationally, they add up to a total of 795, or about 20%, of the 4,048 Democratic delegates available. Their status as ‘unpledged’ means that their vote may or may not reflect the numbers shown in primaries or caucuses, in effect superseding the will of the voters in a close nomination race. It is possible for a candidate to receive a majority of the popular vote and a small number of delegates like Eugene McCarthy did in the 1968 Pennsylvania Democratic primary. Super delegates are also allowed to publicize, keep private or change their candidate allegiance at any time before the convention. The Democratic Party supported reforms to make the nomination process more transparent in 1968 through the McGovern-Fraser Commission. But by 1980, the Democratic Party established the super delegate structure after it was determined that there was too much electoral influence in the hands of the general population. Michigan has 26 super delegates and they include Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick spoke to the Michigan Citizen during a recent appearance at the Coleman A. Young Recreation Center about the responsibility that comes with the position. “I’ve had the privilege of being a super delegate at a couple of different conventions, but none of them mattered as much as the super delegates that will be at this Democratic convention,” Kilpatrick said. “You go in with your conscience first. We’re at a pivotal point in American history. Who can deny the fact that a country that was built on the notion that African Americans were three fifths human are now given the opportunity to have an African American president. How could you not think about that going into the room? But also, you have to look at your constituency, and what’s best for Michigan. You’re going to have to discuss things with organized labor—many of them are super delegates.” Virgie Rollins, regional director for the National Federation of Democratic Women and the Chair of the DNC Black Caucus, is also a Michigan super delegate. She told the Michigan Citizen that despite the irregularities exhibited in the current Democratic nomination process, traditionally, super delegates have voted with the Michigan constituency. Rollins sees no reason to believe that super delegates will ultimately decide the nomination. “We’ve seen the most participation in an election in our lifetime,” Rollins said, indicating that the increased attention will prevent the nomination from being swayed by the super delegate influence. “The people are ultimately going to make the choice.” Elected by precinct delegates and party members to the Chair of the 14th Democratic Congressional District, Edna Bell received super delegate status during the 2004 Kerry campaign. “The delegates absolutely have an obligation to their constituents,” Bell, who is now the Detroit coordinator for Michiganders For Obama. “My prayer is that it doesn’t come down to that—it would be divisive for the Democratic Party.” Bell recommends separating the super delegates into two categories, elected and non-elected, each carrying different weight. She says appointed super delegates should not be in a position to decide the nomination. Political advisors in both the Obama and Clinton campaigns will now be heavily dependent on current and past political relationships. Clinton campaign managers have openly stated that courting super delegates is a large part of the campaign strategy now that Obama has maintained a lead in delegates earned in state primaries. Super delegates in Clinton’s own political circle include campaign manager Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005, and former president Bill Clinton. Who are Michigan’s Super Delegates? 1. John D. Cherry, Lt. Governor 2. Rep. John D. Dingell, U.S. Congressman, 15th District 3. Joel Ferguson, at-large member of the DNC, businessman, member of MSU Board of Trustees 4. Dale Kildee, U.S. Congressman, 5th District 5. Sander Levin, U.S. Congressman, 12th District 6. Mark Schauer, State Senator, 19th District 7. Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Senator 8. John Conyers, U.S. Congressman, 14th District 9. Arthenia Abbott, Vice Chair, Michigan Democratic Party 10. Lu Battaglieri, President of Michigan Education Association, union representing retired teachers and education employees 10. Mark Brewer, Chair, Michigan Democratic Party, Vice Chair, Democratic National Committee 11. Elizabeth Bunn, UAW Secretary-Treasurer 12. Eric Coleman, County Commissioner of Oakland County, 23rd District 13. Debbie Dingell, WSU Board of Governors, senior executive at General Motors 14. Robert Ficano, Wayne County Executive 15. Jennifer Granholm, Governor 16. Kwame Kilpatrick, Mayor, City of Detroit 17. Carolyn Kilpatrick, U.S. Congresswoman, 13th District 18. Joyce Lalonde, Board of Directors, National Education Association 19. Carl Levin, U.S. Senator 20. Jeffrey Radjewski, business and finance manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) 21. Virgie Rollins, regional director, National Federation of Democratic Women, Chair, Democratic National Committee Black Caucus 22. Richard Shoemaker, UAW Vice President 23. Bart Stupak, U.S. Congressman, 1st District 24. Michael Tardiff, DNC 25. Richard Weiner, attorney and former Granholm staffer 26. Lauren Wolf, President of the College Democrats of America, she is attending law school in Detroit. http://www.michigancitizen.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=1&twindow=&mad=&sdetail=5676&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=1070&hn=michigancitizen&he=.com _______________________________________________ Marxism-Thaxis mailing list Marxism-Thaxis@lists.econ.utah.edu To change your options or unsubscribe go to: http://lists.econ.utah.edu/mailman/listinfo/marxism-thaxis