After watching what the Democratic Party has done to Dennis Kucinich, it is abundantly clear that the Democratic Party doesn't care a whit about democracy or the principles of fair play.
Rather than conducting a primary election for delegates in which every candidate has an equal chance to collect delegates going to the convention, the Democratic Party has rigged the game so that candidates who represent a minority view within the party are disenfranchised.
The Democratic Party does this in many ways but the two chief ways are through the manipulation of the voting system using the 15% rule, and the manipulation of the debate system by collaboration with the media-military corporations. Just as the Democrats in congress have sold out the Party over the war and impeachment, the Democratic Party has abdicated its own authority over its own primaries and convention by giving control of our public elections to private corporate interests.
This cannot stand if we are to have a viable democracy. It is not the neo-cons to blame only. Instead the Democratic Party is bringing us a neo-fascism that is sold with the expertise of Madison Ave. By having no principles when it comes to the conduct of the primaries and the debates the Democratic Party has shown its true colors.
There used to be a time when conventions were open and the delegates at the convention picked the Party nominee after a few or many rounds of voting. This was because candidates could get delegates in any amounts and build up a minority pool of delegates. When several candidates get a minority of delegates each then it is much more difficult for one delegate to get a majority. For example, if four candidates have 14% that is 56% and the fifth candidate can only get 44% and not go into the convention with a majority.
Of course over a hundred years ago it used to be that the delegates to the conventions were selected through party machines in the various states and at the convention where the nominees were selected, as Franklin D. Roosevelt said, thorough "a system typified in the public imagination by a little group in a smoke-filled room who made out the party slates." The direct primaries were created and adopted to make the nominating process more democratic, as FDR said "to give the party voters themselves a chance to pick their party candidates."
The primaries used to begin in summer after the June recess of Congress. By creeping competition to be first, they now begin in January and we are all familiar with the most recent controversies over this front loading of primaries with the Michigan and Florida voters now disenfranchised from the primary process through no fault of their own in the wrangling between state and national party bosses, sometimes even party bosses of the opposite party setting the date of the primary.
However, more than front loading, the major threat to giving the party voters themselves the chance to pick their party candidate is the 15% rule that effectively reinserts the party bosses into the direct primary in a sly and ingenious manner. They have done this by manipulation of the debate system and by rigging the voting system.
Manipulating the Debate System:
I have found the blogs and comments discussing the question of Dennis Kucinich's exclusion from the debates to be most informative. Many people who would otherwise call themselves liberals or progressives resort to the most fallacious arguments against fair and democratic debates when it is in the interest of their own candidate getting an advantage. Thus all kinds of arbitrary ideas are put forward about why Kucinich should be kept out of the debates with no regard for measurable objective standards.
For example, people have said that Kucinich should be kept out of the debate because "no one gives a sh*t" about him, as if that constitutes a rational argument. I have read people arguing that if Kucinich is in the debates then any person who simply registers as a candidate should be in the debates as if it doesn't matter that Kucinich is actually on the ballots of all the states. Cataloguing the logical fallacies would take a separate blog in itself.
But even more pernicious and diabolical to democracy is the acceptance of the idea that private corporate interests, the very interests who are today's party bosses operating in a smoke-free room out of public scrutiny, should be allowed to determine which candidates may fairly participate in the most important public election in the nation. The party bosses have entered into an unholy alliance with their corporate backers and masters to allow the media machines to manipulate the perceptions of the public in a manner that keeps bona fide but minority voices outside the forum of the legitimate debates, thus delegimatizing those critical voices.
As Kucinich pointed out on Democracy Now! yesterday:
AMY GOODMAN: You're just about to come to the studio, and so we'll be having you join in the debate you were excluded from last night. But before you do, as you pull up right near the Capitol in Washington, D.C., explain your lawsuit and what happened at the last minute last night as the case made its way through the courts of Las Vegas.
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: NBC, GE, maintained-well, they-you know, we were invited and as a result of meeting criteria of being in the top four in a national poll. This was before Bill Richardson dropped out. And when I met the criteria, NBC then announced they had changed the criteria so it would only be the top three that would be invited.
We challenged that as a contract, and attorneys in Nevada won a case before a superior court judge, who said that NBC had an obligation to provide me with a place in the debate, and if they did not, he would stop the debate from happening.
NBC-and when that account was journalized, NBC then immediately contacted the Supreme Court, and a hearing was held. I was told it was an extraordinary hearing of all seven members of the Supreme Court, who-three of whom were in Carson City, Nevada and were teleconferenced in, and they heard a presentation by NBC's attorneys, who maintained that the debate was essentially a private matter and that no-you know, really little discussion on their part of any public interest came up. They alluded that, alternatively, this was a matter that should have been brought before the FCC, not a contract matter, and then, in the same breath, said that cable networks aren't [inaudible] to the FCC.
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