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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/23/16

The Ides of March Primaries

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Message Rob Hager

Rigged DNC Scoreboard

To describe the real world rather than the rigged one which keeps announcing that Clinton can't loose, it is necessary to change the DNC scorekeeper who distorts the score to suit the plutocrats who pay the DNC's tab.

In the real world the states that will elect a Democrat are known. They are called blue states. Which are the blue states? They are that minimal number of reliably Democratic states that, along with a few swing purple states, are needed to win in the Electoral College. Only blue states voted Democrat in the narrowly divided election of 2000, and those states also voted Democrat in 2012. The currently blue state of New Hampshire was a purple state in 2000, flipping that election to Bush. New Hampshire did it, not Nader.

The 2000 electoral map, plus New Hampshire, make up the 2000 map of blue states that were then necessary for Democrats to win the presidency, and they still are. But the map changed with the census. Having lost population, blue states, in order to win, now need Democrats to add some purple states -- that is, states which have recently voted Republican -- to the 2000 Democratic map. At the same time several purple states are in various phases of turning blue, due to demographic change.

In 2012 Obama won Ohio, Virginia and Florida. They are high electoral vote purple states that were collectively unnecessary for his victory. But Obama did need the purple states of Nevada, Colorado, and Iowa which, located in blue regions, are all turning bluish shades of purple. All of the 2000 blue state map plus some combination of several of those six various shades of purple states that Obama won in 2012, including the purplish-red states of Indiana and North Carolina which Democrats won solely in 2008, make up the meat and potatoes necessary for a Democrat to win the Electoral College. Everything else is gravy.

Red Republican states are everything else. They are unnecessary and also highly unlikely in any foreseeable future to contribute any electoral votes to a Democratic candidate, except in a landslide election. Since Democrats have not won such a landslide since 1964, red states are for all practical purposes irrelevant to any realistic Democratic strategy for a presidential victory.

No credible Democratic victory strategy would be designed to win a landslide. Landslides are won due to the strategic failure of the opposition, not by superior strategy of the victors.

Rotten boroughs

Since red states will predictably contribute no electoral votes to a Democratic victory they should therefore be ignored for the most important element of that strategy, which is determining the candidate who can best represent and hold together the minimal blue and purple coalition of states necessary to win a majority of Electoral College votes. Instead, DNC rules assume that every election will be a landslide for Democrats by giving red and blue states proportionately equal weight in selecting the nominee.

By counting red state delegates as if they had some valid role to play in the nomination process, rather than as the non-voting product of interesting straw polls by states that will play no part in a Democratic election victory, the DNC rules are undemocratic. To count unequals as equal is discrimination. Giving nomination powers to red state delegates is not only undemocratic because it dilutes the voting power of blue and purple state delegates in making their collective choice of the candidate who they will need to win, it also provides a playground where plutocratic money can more efficiently harvest delegates than elsewhere so as to deliberately distort and restrict the people's own choice.

If red state delegates seek to participate in nominating a Democratic presidential candidate they have two means for doing so. They could persuade a majority of their state's voters to select Democratic electors in the previous general election. They could also persuade their state legislature to enact a proportional representation law that would give minority voters a share of the states' electoral votes. Short of these measures, red state delegates do not represent anything relevant to a Democratic presidential nomination.

In a fair and democratic system, red states would otherwise play no role in the nomination process, other than providing a straw vote for the curious. Red state delegates could participate in national associational and non-electoral matters. They could receive training and resources for party building. They can engage in other national party matters, such as writing the party platform, voting on rules changes and Party personnel. These activities are not necessarily bound to the state-based Electoral College system that decides the presidential election. The conduct of such non-electoral matters can accommodate all party members without regard to residence and without regard to whether they also help select the Party's nominee.

States, not people, vote in the Electoral College. The nomination process, to be nondiscriminatory and democratic, must be equally state-based. If the weight of the delegates' vote in the nominating convention is not based on the expected weight of their state's vote in the electoral college, then it is based on an unequal and discriminatory formula.

Representation in the Electoral College is therefore strictly bound to place of residence. Place of residence must accordingly determine participation in nominating the candidate who will compete to win in the Electoral College

If the states' expected Democratic vote in the Electoral College is zero -- which is the definition of a red state -- there is no valid reason why the delegates from that state should have greater than zero influence on the Democratic nomination. In the interest of inclusiveness red state delegates can be non-voting members of the nominating Convention. But it is undemocratic to allow delegates from "rotten boroughs" -- those states predictably devoid of any Democratic electoral votes -- to dilute the votes of other delegates from states that will definitely be contributing to any Democratic victory.

A fair scorekeeper, while thus ignoring the red state straw polls, would keep close track of all the blue states, and also of at least a shifting winning share of the purple states. An alternative stopgap approach on the way to a thorough reformulation of delegate voting strength is suggested by the Republican Party's Rule 40 (b). This rule was designed to prevent Ron Paul from being eligible for nomination. It has been changed in order to enable anyone but Trump. It provides: "Each candidate for nomination for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States shall demonstrate the support of the majority of the delegates from each of (8) or more states." This rule could be adjusted for purposes of minimizing the influence of rotten boroughs on the nomination by requiring that a Democrat nominee must win a certain minimal number of blue states, states that actually deliver electoral votes to Democrats most the time. At this point Clinton only has one uncontested narrow victory in a blue state, her home state of Illinois.

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Rob Hager is a public-interest litigator who filed a Supreme Court amicus brief n the 2012 Montana sequel to the Citizens United case, American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock, and has worked as an international consultant on legal (more...)
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