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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/23/16

The Ides of March Primaries

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Take Action! DNC Rules Initiative

Due partly to the strategic error described above, the nomination could now depend on the resolution of credentials challenges and adoption of fair rules to resolve them by the DNC.

Sanders has said: "If I can't make it ... we want to revitalize the democratic party and make it a party of the people rather than one of just large campaign contributors." Sounds nice. But why is he waiting until he loses to get started on this project? The campaign can fight on two fronts, winnng primaries under the current rules, while also fighting to change those rules as part of his campaign to win the nomination.

If he fights to change the rules of the DNC to be worthy of a "party of the people," then he does not have to lose. If his campaign is too incompetent to wage this fight starting yesterday Sanders needs to find someone to shake up his campaign. Reciting talking points about what he plans to do in the future in insufficient. The campaign needs the capacity to wage this struggle now, at the very peak of his campaign, when his falure to do so will likely provide the margin of difference between winning and losing.

Perhaps realization of the campaign's all but fatal, and still ongoing, failure to seize the opportunity to appeal to black women voters will prompt it to up its game in taking on the DNC rules problem.

Since, in the end, a list of undemocratic rules could deny Sanders the nomination, at a minimum the Sanders campaign must begin now waging a struggle to change the DNC rules that relate to:

1) the "rotten borough" problem of red states, described above;

2) the conflicts of interest among Superdelegates and among the members of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee: solve them with robust new recusal requirements ;

3) credential contests over election machine fraud and other irregularities in counting votes or resolving election law violations, such as in Massachusetts, Iowa, Arizona and perhaps elsewhere; and

4) overvaluing results from especially the early, closed or partially closed , primary states like Iowa, Nevada, and Florida, which by deterring independent participation produce results unrepresentative of the state's general election electorate.

Just as these rules could undemocratically determine the outcome of the 2016 nomination that has attracted more democratic energy than most, they can continue to distort primary elections in 2020 and beyond. The rules should be changed by the Sanders campaign in 2016 to facilitate use of the Democratic Party for nominating a candidate through democratic processes which it currently lacks.

The last comparable insurgency within a rigged primary electoral system was in 1968. It failed to nominate an anti-war candidate but resulted in the 1972 DNC rules changes which have allowed Sanders to get as far as he has in 2016. The failed 1968 insurgency resulted in an untenable choice. The candidate picked by the Democratic Party bosses was seen as a warmonger who defied the youthful political energy invested in the Party that year. Republicans chose a crook. Nixon was eventually run out of office, but not before he had done great damage, especially as a result of his four Supreme Court appointees who legalized Nixonian political corruption in Buckley v Valeo (1976).

The 1972 rules changes salvaged some democratic gain from the 1968 election debacle caused by nomination of a candidate who was not supported by voters. The party suffered a decline from which it did not soon recover, if it ever did.

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Rob Hager Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

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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