Updated: Jul 3
The so-called ‘Democratic’ Party have come under fire recently for their potential deployment of Superdelegates at this year’s National Convention. Here we'll be looking into the (un)Democratic Party's deployment of party droids to swing nominations.
Democracy is the hottest of rhetorical devices in politics at the moment. If you equate an action with being bad for democracy, you immediately demonise those who oppose you as tyrants – regardless of their true motive.
It, therefore, seems appropriate to discuss the inner workings of the Democratic Party – a party so fond of democracy, they only support its reformation when they lose.
In all seriousness, the Democratic Party has been under scrutiny recently for its perceived tacit endorsement of moderate candidates over progressives. Though, how true can this be?
Well, for a start, Michael Bloomberg was given what could be seen as preferential treatment by the DNC (Democratic National Committee) when they seemingly moved the goalposts before the Nevada debate on the 19th February.
For each debate preceding the Nevada debate, each candidate had to achieve a minimum number of individual campaign donors in order to qualify for the debate stage. However, Bloomberg’s campaign was entirely self-funded, meaning he did not qualify. Acknowledging this discrepancy, the DNC decided to remove the threshold to facilitate Bloomberg’s presence on the stage.
This was perceived, by supporters of rival candidates, to be an unstated endorsement by the DNC.
There is certainly a debate to be had here. On one hand, the DNC shouldn’t be changing the entry requirements for debates half-way through the process. Though conversely, it could be argued that Bloomberg was rising in the polls, and Democratic voters have a right to know what this up & coming candidate is made of.
In a strange turn of events, this was probably the worst thing that could have happened to Bloomberg, given his stark lack of charisma and inability to counter the most base-level attacks. Though, who was to expect that?
However, this does raise the point about debate qualification requirements. These polling and donor thresholds are decided upon throughout the campaign. Whilst the argument here is that candidates rise and fall & it is better to have a stage with both outsiders and frontrunners, than not. However, as we saw with the Bloomberg example, these constantly changing requirements can lead to suspicion from the electorate.
…and suspicion is the last thing the DNC needs going into 2020, let’s just put it that way.
Regardless, the DNC should be open from the get-go about what each debate’s entry requirements are. Otherwise, increasing suspicion will cast doubt on what should be an open and fair primary process.
Unfortunately, the biggest concern about the nature with which the Democratic Primaries are handled has yet to be realised, at least in this primary process.
That is the issue of Superdelegates. Superdelegates are party officials who are not beholden to any of the electorate and are completely free to support whichever candidate they choose.
Given that, by design, Superdelegates are comprised of the party establishment, they rarely reflect the views of the grassroots support at-large.
This has never been shown to be truer than in 1984, when the first Superdelegates were used by the Democratic Party, to nominate the establishment’s preferred candidate Walter Mondale.
Mondale was decimated in the subsequent election by sitting President, Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s 525 Electoral College votes absolutely dwarfed Mondale’s 13, who only managed to win two states.
Whilst the electoral college is another entirely anti-democratic institution (article forthcoming), it does not come close to the notion of party establishment figures dictating who gets the nomination over the party membership.
If this situation were to come to fruition in this primary cycle, it goes without saying that Joe Biden would be the pick – especially when you consider ex-Presidents are given Superdelegate status.
If the Democratic Party decides that its own establishment should overrule the electorate, it should not be calling Donald Trump a tyrant, it should be taking a critical look at itself.