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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/11/16

Michigan and Mississippi: Should Red-state Delegates Vote on the Nomination of a Blue-state Candidate?

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Message Rob Hager

Michigan tells plutocrat mass media and pollsters to just stop talking about Clinton winning

Maybe the historic Michigan primary will cause people to tune out the insistent mass-media megaphone that keeps sounding the falsehood that Sanders can't win. "Myth of inevitability" propaganda, along with lies about Sanders' record (e.g., auto bailouts, health-care finance), seem to be Clinton's primary campaign strategy. No wonder only 58% of Michigan Democrats consider her honest. The fact is that where it counts, in the blue and purple states, outside the South, Sanders has either won landslides or at least fought Clinton -- with her far superior SuperPAC resources for buying large media markets like Detroit and Boston, as well as in Nevada -- to a virtual draw.

A week after Super Tuesday Clinton has completed her sweep of the red-state South that should be irrelevant, because it will predictably make no contribution at all to a Democratic electoral-college victory in November. At the same time Sanders dramatically refuted the polls (including the now 99% opinionated 538) that overlook the role of independents. He turned an essential corner with a slim 1.5% margin of victory over Clinton in Michigan. Sanders generously and properly calls this a draw because delegates are awarded proportionately. Clinton won Detroit Metro -- 60% of Wayne (40% black), 51% of Oakland (15% black) and 48% of McComb (8% black), the three largest counties in the state that have about 100,000 voters or more. Clinton also won 50% in Genesee County (20% black) (Flint), which cast about half that number of votes. Sanders won pretty much everywhere else in the state.

The media treats Mississippi and Michigan as offsetting primary victories. They are not. That "she won Mississippi by a huge margin" is irrelevant, or should be; quintessentially blue-state Michigan is epoch-changing.

"Rotten-borough" Delegates

In a separate article I have argued that the Clinton "victory" awarded to her by the mass media on the basis of her primary results in the red-state South, starting in South Carolina and ending now in Mississippi, is an illusion created by four or five undemocratic devices that should be corrected, or compensated for, by DNC rule changes. One of those devices is the "rotten borough." This term was originally used to describe the royally-rigged English voting system that founders like Thomas Paine ridiculed as part of the corrupt system that they revolted against. It applies to any depopulated election district that retains its original representation and voting strength although hardly anyone lives there any more.

The primary results in Mississippi and Michigan demonstrate how rotten-borough corruption works. The electoral college determines who will be President, not individual Democratic voters who are disenfranchised by red-state winner-take-all presidential-election laws. No longer are any Democratic electors living in these red states like Mississippi. In the Democratic nominating convention, blue and purple states need to select a candidate who can win blue- and purple-state electors. Red states have no proper role to play in this process. Red-state electors will be voting against the Democratic nominee in the electoral college. Under what theory, then, are rotten-borough delegates authorized to choose a blue-state nominee?

Voting red-state delegates allow the plutocratic candidate and her plutocratic mass-media supporters the opportunity to propagandize that everyone should just stay home from the primaries because Clinton is going to win anyway based on her "rotten-borough" results. In a fair run-off system those results would be considered nothing more than straw polls. That is the system that the Sanders campaign should be demanding of the DNC.

Others argue from the fact that Super Tuesday is deliberately frontloaded with red states that it distorts the apparent relative strength of the candidates and thereby favors plutocrats by weakening the morale of the opposition. It is said: "The idea was to crush any liberal candidate in those states ... so their funding would dry up and their campaigns would die early in the primary season." Democrats in red states are not very well informed by local media about Democratic politics, and therefore are more easily propagandized than are blue-state residents by plutocratic money and its control of the national mass media. Although this result is deliberate, and this argument also tends to delegitimize the red-state Super Tuesday results, including South Carolina and Mississippi, it leaves any principled remedy to future rescheduling.

The argument made here is not about the timing of the red-state primaries, but their illegitimacy for purposes of acquiring voting strength in the nominating convention.

The rotten-borough delegate system allows states empty for a generation, or more, of any Democratic electoral votes to nevertheless share in the power of nominating the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate who, as a matter of fact, will only win by carrying a coalition of blue and purple states. "Rotten-borough" voting by red-state delegates is one of several corrupt rules that the Democratic Party uses to throw the nomination to the candidate of plutocrats. It is undemocratic and arguably also unconstitutional, because discriminatory against blue- and purple-state delegates.

Excluding these "rotten-borough" states from the scorecard, the current count is that Sanders has won four blue states by landslides, has scored virtual ties in the important blue states of Massachusetts and Michigan, and has a 1-1 record in purple states, with two more virtual ties in purple Nevada and Iowa.

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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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