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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/6/16

Blue-state Bernie and the DNC's Plutocratic "Victory" Rules

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Message Rob Hager

Hillary Clinton - Caricature4
Hillary Clinton - Caricature4
(Image by (From Wikimedia) DonkeyHotey, Author: DonkeyHotey)
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One of the most important primary elections in history may be determined by the rules applying to delegates at the Democratic National Convention. These rules should be fixed by federal law governing the run-off election process to determine who gets ballot access in the general election. But instead, much of that process has been delegated to the political parties to determine for themselves. The parties became more corrupt in this election than in any previous election, after Obama signed into law the 2014 CRomnibus Appropriations Bill that increased by ten times the contributions that plutocrats can make to political parties. Unsurprisingly, the DNC's rules favor those plutocrats who pay the bill. These DNC rules must be changed as part of the reform that Bernie Sanders has promised to get money out of politics. If Sanders cannot reform the DNC it is unlikely he will be able to reform Congress.

The Clinton "victory" is a congeries of "rotten boroughs," conflicted Superdelegates, exclusionary primaries, and disinformation. If the run-off process were conducted in a democratic manner, these devices would all be barred by Democratic National Committee (DNC) rules.

Hillary Clinton is piecing together a superficially successful campaign on the basis of rotten boroughs -- as of "Super Saturday, all former slave states -- where it is certain that there will not be a single electoral vote cast for a Democrat or for any party which represents a progressive and diverse electorate. Clinton also depends upon Superdelegates who have conflicts of interest because they have worked for, received money from, or are otherwise integrated into the systemic legalized corruption of the Clinton political machine . Clinton has been further aided by obvious disinformation about her electability and experience, not to mention her fake status as a civil rights hero, as well as other features of a broken presidential run-off system. The money-stream media labels this money-bag of DNC tricks "victory."

Sanders' campaign has committed itself, as a consolation prize in case it fails to secure his nomination, to make some rules changes at the Convention. Changing the DNC rules should be an integral part of the campaign and a condition of the participation of Sanders' delegates in the Democratic Convention. Adoption by the DNC of fair rules for nominating a presidential candidate would be an alternative to a Philadelphia replay of 1968 by Millennials saddled with so much debt they were practically born in default and outlawed by a financialized state.

Michael Moore cheerily predicts "that the person who is most popular will win the contest." But Moore's political predictions are often wrong or self-contradictory. Without democratizing the DNC's plutocratic rules it is possible that, as intended, the most plutocratic not the most popular candidate will win. Changes in the rules could determine the Democratic nominee by relegating Clinton's "victories" back to the plutocratic mire where they originate.

Similarly historic rules changes as those enumerated below were made in 1972 as a result of the 1968 rejection of a boss-ridden Democratic Party. The 1972 reforms were significant. They led to Carter's outsider victory in 1976. They make possible the credible 2016 run that Sanders is making as the most popular candidate in either party. But they remain incomplete and and were even reversed when Superdelegates were created to let the boss-system back in the door, starting in 1984. The excuse was to prevent another suicidal challenge to a sitting president like Kennedy waged in 1980. But Superdelegates enable Clintons as the new boss. Just like the old boss, "Hillary has billionaires galore in her corner."

The current state-based national run-off system for selecting a president is a hodgepodge of procedures that run the gamut from fair and democratic in some states, like Minnesota which prides itself on clean elections and high turnouts, to easily corruptible and exclusionary in states with low-turnout and unrepresentative results.

A state like Minnesota uses exclusively paper ballots, hand counted by neighbors at the precinct level. There was no room in Minnesota's process for the statistically troubling expert analysis of Massachusetts' precincts that "indicate fraud." Unadjusted exit polls suggest an 8.6% discrepancy while "cumulative town/precinct" data support a far greater discrepancy between Sanders winning comfortably, as one would expect on the basis of the other four blue state results, and the machine-counted tally to the contrary. With Massachusetts a must-win for the Clintons, it looks like with Bill on the scene, they did.

Rule changes at the level of the DNC could correct or compensate for the lack of minimal national run-off election standards. Several systemic flaws could be removed by changing Convention rules that are currently designed to tilt the results toward plutocracy, which in 2016 means to Clinton and her "billionaires galore."

Public demand for reform of DNC rules starting right now could draw attention to several of the most egregious methods by which plutocrats manipulate a venal party. Failure to change the rules may result in the nomination of the least favored and least likely to succeed among two candidates, when the other of those two candidates has gained favor among the general electorate by credibly resolving to overthrow plutocracy.

1. Rotten Boroughs

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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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