Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Joe Scarborough is right, and that’s terrifying: The Democratic Primary has been an undemocratic mess

This morning, the MSNBC host railed against a Dem primary stacked in Hillary Clinton's favor. He has a point


Joe Scarborough is right, and that's terrifying: The Democratic Primary has been an undemocratic messJoe Scarborough (Credit: NBC News)
When Joe Scarborough is absolutely right about the Democratic Party, that is a very bad sign.
While discussing the Wyoming caucuses on his show “Morning Joe” today, Scarborough expressed dismay at the fact that although Bernie Sanders won by nearly 12 points, Hillary Clinton has nevertheless picked up the most delegates (11 to 7). “Why does the Democratic Party even have voting booths?” Scarborough exclaimed in barely concealed outrage. “This system is so rigged!”
It’s hard to argue with the man’s logic. Sanders has won eight of the last nine primaries, which in a normal election year would be considered a sign of unstoppable momentum. In national polls, he is statistically neck-and-neck with Clinton, and he has whipped up unprecedented enthusiasm among young voters. All of this is rendered more impressive when you consider that the party establishment has attempted to stave him off from the get-go, with the debates themselves being scheduled so as to place him (and all other challengers to Clinton, for that matter) at a distinct disadvantage, and with only a handful of elected Democrats even endorsing his campaign.
This brings us to the reason for the discrepancy between Sanders’ impressive performance among voters and his massive disadvantage among party delegates – namely, the fact that superdelegates are overwhelmingly opposed to him. The vast majority of superdelegates are either elected politicians or wealthy individuals who have gained influence through strategically placed campaign donations. The superdelegate position was created, as one of Scarborough’s guests pointed out, because the Democratic Party establishment wanted to prevent a recurrence of their debacle in the 1972 presidential election, when the nomination of perceived left-wing radical Sen. George McGovern caused them to lose to President Richard Nixon in one of the biggest landslides in American history. Because Sanders is viewed as a similarly unelectable option (despite outperforming Clinton in many head-to-head polls against Republicans like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz), the superdelegates have by and large thrown their weight behind Clinton… and shown brazen disrespect to the wishes of their own voters in the process.
This is what allows someone like Scarborough to rhetorically ask his audience, “Can you imagine if it were Republicans that were saying, ‘Listen, you know what? The people aren’t smart enough to be able to pick the nominee.’” Of course, this observation isn’t entirely on-the-level, since the Republican Party is in the process of an electoral corruption of its very own. Although Donald Trump is almost certain to win a plurality of the popular votes in the Republican primaries, he may fall short of the 1,237 delegates required to win his party’s nomination on the first ballot. If that happens, the Republican leadership has made it clear that they will work to nominate either one of Trump’s remaining opponents (Ted Cruz or John Kasich) or a perennial establishment favorite (Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan) instead of respecting the wishes of their voters. The GOP, like the Democrats, is more than comfortable with disregarding the principle of “one man, one vote” when it doesn’t suit their interests.


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