Superdelegates, A Super-Dilemma
Let's face it, since the Democratic primary is still quite deadlocked despite Obama's slight lead, the issue of the superdelegates has come into play, which has always bugged be to begin with. If this whole thing plays out the way I think it will, then we'll probably wind up seeing the battle go straight up to the convention, and that scares me. We've pretty much got three whole months left to go till Denver, and all the while we'll see Hillary and Obama engaging in their little cage match while John McCain - a man who, when asked in a Republican debate why he'd be better than Mitt Romney at leading our economy, talked about his MILITARY service - and the RNC wring their hands and revel in the delight of seeing Democrats becoming disenfranchised with their own party. McCain's happily on his way, campaigning for the general election, so he's already got quite the head start over the Dems.
I remember how sunny the Democratic outlook was when the campaigns were first starting. After all these years of George "Walker, Texas Chimp" Bush, we thought there was no way a Democrat couldn't lock up the White House come November '08. But the Democrats always have a way of shooting themselves in the foot (so do the Republicans, but they seem to be much better at covering it up). This is going to be 3 more months of bickering and name calling, and the delegate spread probably won't change all that much, and we'll disenfranchise more people. This election is ours to lose. I wanted Hillary to lose PA mainly so she could (hopefully) drop out of the race. That way, Obama could consolidate his power base and start to catch up with McCain in terms of campaigning for the general election. But it wouldn't work like that...she won by a larger margin than many people thought she'd win by. I personally chalk that one up to last-minute undecided white voters who couldn't see having a black man in the White House (and that's my way of putting it lightly).
As I stated above, the idea of superdelegates bugs the hell out of me. Unlike the Republicans, who favor a winner-takes-all approach to their primaries (something that seems all too fitting for their political mentalities), the Democrats have a delegate system that is purer in its...well...democracy. Having a system in which even the loser of a state can still win delegates depending on the percentage of the popular vote that went to him/her feels like a much fairer system. It's more democratic and, in my opinion, more "American." And then what do we have to potentially trounce this system? Superdelegates. I won't go into the boring details of who superdelegates are and what they do...I'll just refer you to the Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superdelegate.
This primary is so close that the superdelegates could potentially turn the tide (if they all go for Hillary at the present time). How wonderful: let's let the Democratic populace go out and vote and then let's put a close margin in the hands of the elites to decide our fate. It's like giving the mob a voice and then stamping it out with a golden foot. That's not going to work for me, especially when people are this divided over the candidates. In defense of including superdelegates, Geraldine Ferraro said she felt they were beneficial to the party and should exercise independent judgment in voting for a nominee. While I understand her point, I again come back to the fact that we're taking the democracy out of the process. We're giving these people, as Dan Abrams put it, the voting power of 10,000 Democratic voters, and I take issue that as someone who dearly wants to believe in the "one man, one vote" system.
Look, I'm an Obama supporter, but if Hillary should happen to win the primary, I'll vote for her in the general election (I don't want a president who can only tout his military service and who has the temper of a 5-year-old). However, if either Hillary or Obama should win the nomination because these superdelegates turned the tide and thus took the democracy out of this issue, I may just give up my Democratic party membership and switch to the Green Party in protest.
I joined the Democratic Party because they were more liberal and because I wanted the ability to vote in a primary. But what good is that if the actual democratic system behind it can potentially be so blatantly hijacked? I'd still vote for a Democrat in the general elections, because I'm a realist about these things. Without a more European parliamentary system, we're just going to have these two major parties, and I like the Democrats more. A third party candidate won't be elected to the presidency.
I'd love to vote my conscience more often on the national level (I tend to do it on state and local levels, where third parties could have a better chance), but many people who do vote their conscience in this country wind up electing pro-war, anti-choice Republicans (or help them get elected because a vote for their conscience took a vote away from a Democrat and into the corner of a third party candidate who didn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of winning anyway). I'm not letting that happen with me.
In my opinion, the American electoral and government systems are archaic and in need of some serious overhauling, but I've got no idea how to bring about change like that aside from running for office and possibly becoming president. But something tells me that the presidency would be out of my reach...I'm Jewish and I don't believe in God. I can hear the dogs barking from the pulpit already.
Tags: Superdelegates , Democrat , Republican , Hillary Clinton , Barack Obama , John McCain , Primary
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