The saying “one person, one vote” has long been inapplicable in America. Lobbyists and corporations with bottomless pockets and empty consciences whisper with their forked tongues into the ears of seemingly every American politician, while their crooked fingers stuff the wallets of Congressperson, Representative, Mayor, and President alike. It’s become sadly ubiquitous in the modern era, and something that’s expected—our government is dishonest.
What has not been clear to most of the general public until the 2016 presidential race is how quickly the so-called superdelegates—719 high-ranking members of the Democratic Party who are automatic delegates to the Democratic National Convention—can nullify an entire region’s (or state’s) voice by simply picking whomever they (or their corporate overlords) prefer, regardless of public sentiment. This has already occurred in Minnesota, Maine, Colorado, Wyoming, New Hampshire and Washington in 2016, to say nothing of this weekend’s shady dealings in Las Vegas. You and your vote are being sold down the river, and if it didn’t affect your candidate this time around—how can you ever be sure it won’t next election cycle?
Consider Wyoming’s contest where Bernie Sanders won the state by a wide 12% margin. Sander’s reward for the victory? Losing the state delegate count 11-7, due to super-delegates. Tens of thousands of tax-paying citizens having their most basic American rights completely discounted by a select few in a matter of moments. The will of the people—utterly and completely ignored.
Washington State’s primary saw Sanders winning in a landslide by taking 73% of the vote and winning every single one of the state’s 39 counties. However, ten of the state’s seventeen super-delegates have already pledged their allegiance to the Clinton Political Machine—much to the vehement chagrin of the people who elected them. Take Washington Congressman Rick Larsen’s Easter Facebook post, in which Larsen’s attempt to post a throwaway, generic “Happy Easter” message was greeted with over 2,300 responses demanding he explain his backing of Clinton when those who placed him in office so adamantly stated the opposite was their choice.
Politicians deciding they won’t consider the choices of their constituents is troubling enough, but what of the other super-delegates? Who are these shadowy figures that account for 20% of the Democratic delegates’ vote? A band of bought-and-paid-for political figures who move wraith-like behind the scenes, making the sort of backdoor deals Washington D.C. has become reviled for. Many of the “superdelegates” are little more than “super-lobbyists” afforded frightening amounts of power. People that work for corporate behemoths like News Corp., Pfizer, Goldman Sachs and the ever-charming GEO Group—the greedheads behind many of America’s private prisons, a billion-dollar network of jails that encourages incarceration over rehabilitation (the jails need to be full for the group to make a profit) and that made $1.61 billion in 2011. That’s a whole lot of “influence” to bandy about.
Bernie Sanders has derided the very existence of superdelegates throughout his campaign for taking the power away from the populace, while Hillary Clinton has warmly embraced them—as she has most or all of Washington’s traditional power structures. To nobody’s surprise, superdelegates working with each of the above corporate entities have adamantly backed Hillary. Clinton and her machine actually began courting many of the superdelegates before the primaries even started—and whether you love or hate her; Clinton’s ability to play the game is unparalleled (and most do, in fact, either love her or hate her for that very reason).
Back on Feb. 19, the Democratic candidates squared off in New Hampshire (a landslide for Sanders) and Iowa (a tie), giving the senator from Vermont an early lead… which was immediately discounted because he was already down 451 to 19 in the hypothetical super-delegate count. It’s difficult to win any contest when the other team is spotted 432 points. You might even call that rigged.
When presented with these facts, it becomes clear that the super-delegate system is in place to prevent anyone who hasn’t greased the wheels of the Democratic National Committee enough—and/or someone who refuses to play ball with the superdelegates—from having a real chance at gaining the nomination.
If that’s not true, then why would so many of the superdelegates—who do not actually vote until the convention and can change their minds at any moment before then—come out in favor of a candidate so soon? Why does every corporate owned media outlet even mention these hypothetical “votes” before all the debates and speeches are complete? Wouldn’t it make sense to let the process play out and then make a fully informed choice?
The only answer can be that the goal is to bend the will of the populace by drastically altering their perception of the reality of the race. Note this video in which DNC rep Luis Miranda explains to a befuddled Jake Tapper of CNN why it doesn’t make any sense to count these votes before they’re cast (because of course Tapper needs this explained to him):
One needs only to look at Donald Trump’s campaign to be reminded of the power of group thought—there is little more the American people love more than joining the zeitgeist. And what better way to swing a voter who is on the fence to Clinton’s side than to make a very close race look unwinnable by adding hundreds of hypothetical delegate votes months before they can actually be cast?
But hey, this is how the game is played! As former DNC chairman, current super-delegate and red-faced, high-pitched screaming enthusiast Howard Dean said recently, “I don’t work for the people.” (Man, how did that guy not win the presidency?)
Fortunately, in the midst of all this corrupt darkness, some light has trickled out. Angry voters have begun making a concentrated effort to donate handily to the opponents of politicians like Larsen who refuse to acknowledge the wildly unfair system. The website superdelegatedemocracy.com has over a petition calling for reform that has over 205,000 signatures and counting. Just last night during Bernie Sanders’ victory party in Portland, Oregon, super-delegates Larry Taylor and Lupita Maurer took to the podium and pledged to the ecstatic crowd that their votes would go to Sanders at the convention in Philadelphia, and their commitments were met with rapturous applause. Even with those two commitments Sanders still trails Clinton in committed super-delegates five to three, with four still undecided. This in a state where Clinton managed to win only one county, and did so by a single, solitary vote.
Maine’s Democrats became so incised with their 63% Sanders majority being usurped by the fact that 3 of the state’s 5 super-delegates had already been pledged to Clinton that they are changing the laws in their state (something every state has the power to do) to ensure the super-delegates represent the will of the people going forward. Rep. Diane Russell, who sponsored the bill, had this to say about the change in policy:
“The reason that I have put this in is we have heard from people all across the state about how frustrated they are that you can actually have a popular vote where 63 percent of the delegates go to one candidate, and yet super-delegates are not voting in proportion to that. I want to fix it.”
Unsurprisingly, this radical idea of wanting votes to count was met with much acrimony from within the convention, as established party leaders brilliantly told Russell to “respect her elders” and “remember McGovern.” That sort of snide “we’ve got the power so fuck you” attitude is hurting the Democratic party in ways they seem to be unable to fully grasp, as Millennials who were motivated to participate in the electoral process—many for the first time—have been made to feel cheated and misguided by an utterly corrupt system. How quickly these Baby Boomer “liberals” seem to have forgotten the “They’ve got the guns/But we’ve got the numbers” ethos of their idealistic youth.
I’d wager these two young idealists would be rather incensed if their votes were negated by shadowy backroom politics:
As Democrats sit back and smugly watch the Trump fiasco make fools of the GOP, they seem blinded to the fact that they are sacrificing their future base—the youth who overwhelming support Sanders—with their arrogant dismissal of voter complaints and the Clinton campaign’s clear collusion with various corporate entities of every stripe. Just take Jeff Berman, a super-delegate who is on the Clinton payroll and is tasked with rounding up support from other super-delegates. Before Berman joined the Clinton Machine, he had the distinction of working for two very charming companies: the aforementioned GEO Group and TransCanada, the company responsible for the Keystone XL Pipeline. His main previous political experience? Helping Barak Obama defeat Hillary Clinton in ’08—largely with the help of superdelegates.
And this is the “party of the people.”