Copyrighted material


by Andrew Gauldin

Super Tuesday Turned Into Stalemate Tuesday

(PNS) -- More than five years ago I left the Democratic Party and have never looked back. It all began after learning how the party ignored the popular will of its electorate and used "superdelegates" as a firewall against up and coming so-called outsiders. This most undemocratic process influenced my decision to abandon my family's party. I had no desire to be a political second-class citizen. I tried to reconcile this reality of illusionary participation by thinking the elite in my party knew best, but I was torn by desires to be a part of a true democracy. One person, one vote was the thinking that had drawn me into the Democratic Party as a youth, and the 1984 campaign of Jesse Jackson ignited a belief in me that maybe the American political system was truly open to the best candidate regardless of race, class, or gender. I now know race, class, and gender make this concept of democracy the furthest thing from the truth. The methodology for determining how the Democratic political machine decides who will be nominated for the highest office in the land is rigged.

Writing about politics taught me about the 1968 convention and the power of the Old Guard to suffocate true democratic participation. I learned Jesse Jackson had won the primary in Puerto Rico in 1988 but the delegates had been instructed by the governor to support Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis against the voice of the people.

At first I thought race had everything to do with this practice of political power maintenance. Then history threw the examples of Gary Hart and Walter Mondale at me. The lesson was obvious as I read and examined the ways and means of selecting the party's desired candidate -- as opposed to the candidate who won the popular vote. If you were not a member of the party establishment and you did not hold longstanding relationships with party bosses, then you could forget about winning the nomination. No one tried to hide this undemocratic practice.

In fact, in this year's race, it appears that the primaries are a sideshow until the 400 or more undecided "superdelegates" are wined and dined into supporting either Clinton or Obama. There are no illusions of participation in the 2008 race; pundits on all sides are looking at the upcoming convention in August as the high noon for both Obama and Clinton.

Will Obama be the new Jesse Jackson or Gary Hart, after winning primary after primary and raising tons of cash to face the well-oiled and established Clinton political machine? Or will the votes of the people from Texas, Ohio and Kentucky be accepted as the will of the people and decide who wins the nomination before the convention in August?

I believe the decision of who will face McCain will be decided by the political machinations of the Democratic "superdelegates." These are operatives who hold positions from governors to local city council members, and few are eager to make a commitment this early when much is to be obtained politically by waiting until August. The overt courtship is in full display and the primaries in Alabama, Pennsylvania, and Colorado may have little to no effect on the outcome of the eventual nominee if the party's old guard elite has its way. It will be their voices and their votes -- not answerable to the party's electorate -- that select the Democratic nominee. Out the door goes the highly praised theory of a representative government of, for and by the people.

Now the question is: Who does this undemocratic process favor, Obama or Clinton? The disconnection between the rank and file democrats and the "superdelegates" brings all of the worst concerns of race, class, and gender inequalities to the forefront. A cursory glance at any major periodical shows that blacks will vote for Obama and Hispanics will vote for Clinton; women will vote for Clinton and the youth will vote for Obama; the poor will vote for Clinton and the rich will vote for Obama. The truth of how all of this is evaluated will influence the decision of the uncommitted "superdelegates" to make a selection I believe will be based largely on their own political careers and ambitions.

As I see it, the Obama-Clinton race is about which minority the nation is ready to see in a position of authority. Is America ready for a female president or is America ready for a black president? The "superdelegates" may have a say in the nomination, but with the Democrats voting at 9 million in the primaries and the Republican voters reaching barely 6 million, the next president of the United States should be a Democrat. Only a "crabs in the barrel" theory can stop a Democrat from winning the White House, and by the way the race is shaping up across the nation, this could be the opportunity McCain savors.

Only a poor selection by either candidate in choosing his or her running mate could negate a Democratic victory. That is, unless the undemocratic process destroys the party from within. And history will be the arbitrator in this power struggle for the most prestigious political position in the free world. As we observers and believers in true democracy watch, I only hope our process reflects the will, the voice, and the spirit for which this nation stands, with liberty and justice for all -- not just the insiders.

Comments? Send a letter to the editor.

Albion Monitor   February 15, 2008   (

All Rights Reserved.

Contact for permission to use in any format.