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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/24/16

DNC Poised to Repeat Mistakes of 1968

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Article by Ernest Canning

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it -- George Santayana

The Democratic Party establishment appears poised to repeat the same mistakes that handed the White House to Richard Nixon in 1968.

The angry protest to the underhanded purge of Bernie Sanders delegates at the Nevada "Democratic" Convention should have served as an ominous warning. If party's elites follow-up their cynical manipulation of the nomination process with a decision to shut out the voices and democratic aspirations of millions via the exclusion of Sanders delegates from the Democratic National Convention's Committees, they will court disaster for the party and for our nation.


In 1968 the Democratic Party establishment, led by the authoritarian Mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley, rigged the nominating process at the Democratic National Convention.

In the run-up to the Convention, over 80% of Democratic primary voters sided with the two anti-war candidates, Sen. Robert Kennedy (D-NY), the victim of an assassination, and Sen. Eugene McCarthy (D-MN). The will of the electorate was ignored by party elites. Daley's backroom maneuvers secured the nomination for a candidate who had not won a single primary -- Vice President Humbert Humphrey.

Daley's authoritarian manipulation of the process produced chaos and violence both inside and outside of the convention. During a Convention speech, Sen. Abraham Ribicoff (D-CT) denounced what he described as the "Gestapo tactics" of the Chicago PD -- tactics that a federal commission later described as a "police riot" orchestrated by Daley. The violence and chaos inside and outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention, not to mention the betrayal of the anti-war sentiments of the electorate by the party establishment, led to the party's demise that November and six more years of carnage in Vietnam.


This time around the Democratic establishment's process manipulations preceded the primaries. Since her appointment as the chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a former co-chair of the Clinton 2008 campaign, has essentially transformed the ostensibly neutral DNC into an adjunct of the Clinton 2016 campaign.

Last August, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), led by its authoritarian chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and the Clinton campaign initiated their effort to rig the nominating process via a joint fundraising effort known as "The Hillary Victory Fund." That agreement, which ostensibly would provide funding for 33 state parties, was both designed to evade individual political contribution limits and to insure the support of super-delegates in those 33 states. To date, under the terms of The Hillary Victory Fund, "the state parties have served only as a pass-through for their share of the funds" to the DNC and Clinton campaigns.

Super-delegates, or what Salon's Ben Norton aptly described as the "unelected party nobility," are the antithesis of the democratic aspirations of the Sanders-led political revolution. After the backroom deals that led to The Hillary Victory Fund agreement -- and long before the first vote was cast in the Iowa Caucus -- the Clinton campaign boasted that it had already secured 1/5 of the delegates needed to secure the nomination.

Wasserman Schultz has displayed a remarkable disdain for grassroots democracy. She defended the undemocratic super-delegate system that handed Clinton an equal number of Convention delegates in New Hampshire despite a Sanders 60 -- 38 landslide by proclaiming they were needed to ensure that party elites should not have to run "against grassroots activists." In conjunction with a corporate owned mainstream media that has done its level best to either distort or blackout the Sanders message altogether, she has done her level best to tilt the playing field by severely constricting the timing and number of Democratic Debates.

Worse, according to Bill Moyers, Wasserman Schultz has perversely turned the DNC into an instrument of the ruling class by opening "the floodgates for Big Money, brought lobbyists into the inner circle and oiled all the moving parts of the revolving door that twirls between government service and cushy jobs in the world of corporate influence." She's even "aligned herself with corporate interests out to weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's effort to create national standards for the payday-lending industry."

Aristocratic arrogance

The one common thread that links the Mayor Daley of 1968 with Debbie Wasserman Shultz, Hillary Clinton and the bulk of today's Democratic Party elites can be found in their shared form of aristocratic arrogance. They are comfortable in deploying undemocratic means to preserve their positions of wealth and power. They appear to share a perverse sense of entitlement. They see the great masses who make up the American electorate as undeserving peasants who can be easily manipulated via lip service to the language of the Sanders-led revolution even as they close the door to meaningful democratic reforms via a rigged Democratic National Convention in which key committees are headed by and exclusively made up of Clinton delegates.

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Early in the 2016 Primary campaign, I started a Facebook group: Bernie Sanders: Advice and Strategies to Help Him Win! As the primary season advanced, we shifted the focus to advancing Bernie's legislation in the Senate, particularly the (more...)

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