Saturday, February 16, 2008
Superdelegates and Grassroots Democracy
For a political party that claims to believe in democracy, why do they insist on allowing superdelegates? The people who are supposed to be above and beyond the actual delegates are the elected officials and long-term partisans. Their power yields even more power within the party. From my perspective, this wreaks of corruption.
But then again, what is corruption? I consider it the misuse of power. Others only worry about it if they feel hurt by it, because if it helps them it is justified. So much of the US government is corrupt, but we don't worry about things like the National Debt and the environment because our children can worry about that, right?
So when Amy Klobuchar and other party insiders can't decide who they support, while elected from Minnesota, that is okay - right? After all, they have the power and can do with it what they want. Accountability for voting against Minnesota's wishes won't hurt you in a US Senate election because it's not like we have a choice in a two-party system. Minnesota voted for Obama over Clinton at a ration of 2 to 1, yet Amy is having a difficult time deciding how to wield her significant power.
While the hypocrisy of democracy in a two-party system is quite noticeable, we do have options. We can support change where we can, and the Green Party already states its position on Grassroots Democracy:
1. GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY Every human being deserves a say in the decisions that affect their lives and not be subject to the will of another. Therefore, we will work to increase public participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We will also work to create new types of political organizations which expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process.
Superdelegates add to the abundant cynics of our election system. It also shows the true colors of the Democrat Party - stay with us to gain power and we will give you more. Makes one wonder who Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller would support as a superdelegates if they hadn't willingly left the party.
I was initially astonished that Obama is now catering to them. He is asking his supporters to convince them to support his campaign. Obama realizes the corruption within his party can't be ignored if he wants to be on the ballot. But Howard Dean was also the candidate for change in 2004, adamantly supporting the idea of superdelegates. Can we assume that Obama will undo this undemocratic method?
The DFL is also turning against the caucus system in Minnesota. The caucus saves taxpayer money and allows for party members more control over their party. It also alleviates the heavy burden on independents and third parties to get on primary ballots. The Illinois Green Party has received several complaints about their state primary: voters were told that there was no Green Party ballot, or they were given a Democratic ballot on green paper, or they were told to vote on a touch-screen machine while other voters cast paper ballots. So again, the Democrats are turning their back on Grassroots Democracy to allow for more government control of the political process.
Greens, Independents, and like-minded Republicans and Democrats should fight for the caucus system in their state. In Minnesota, we have a presidential preference primary during the initial hours of the caucus and then start party business. If the DFL or other parties wanted to have the presidential vote all day, they could choose to do that. But they will need volunteers, not anyone employed by the state or the use of taxpayer money to assist them. Support Grassroots Democracy by insisting on a caucus and ending superdelegates.