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Old 03-24-2008, 11:32 AM #1
Paint Freak 98
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Democrats Super Disaster.

I have to say this is a very interesting read. The democratic party really messed up here.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1206...googlenews_wsj

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Until recent weeks, one of the least understood aspects of the Democrats' primary contest was the role of superdelegates. These are Democratic Party insiders, members of Congress, and other officials who can cast ballots at the party's national convention this summer.

But now these unelected delegates are coming in for a close inspection, because neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama can win their party's nomination without superdelegate support. The big Pennsylvania primary on April 22, for example, has only 158 delegates at stake (each of them will be pledged to support one of the candidates). By comparison, there are a total of 795 superdelegates, none of whom are required to honor the will of the voters of their state at the party's convention.
[The Democrats' Super Disaster]

Sound undemocratic? It is. That the 2008 Democratic nominee for president will be chosen by individuals no one voted for in the primaries flew for too long under the commentariat's radar. This from the party that litigated to "make every vote count" in the 2000 Florida recount, reviled the institution of the Electoral College for letting the loser of the national popular election win the presidency, and has called the Bush administration illegitimate ever since.

Democratic Party reforms in 1982 gave super-delegates about 20% of convention votes -- so that party greybeards can stop a popular, but politically extreme, candidate from seizing the nomination. The Democrats deliberately rejiggered their party's rules to head off insurgent candidates, like a George McGovern or a Jimmy Carter, who might be crushed in the general election. Unelected delegates thus have more than twice the votes of the richest state prize, California.

So much for unfiltered democracy. In truth, the Democratic Party runs by rules that are the epitome of the smoke-filled room and ensure, in essence, that congressional incumbents exercise a veto power over the nomination.

This delegate dissonance wasn't anything the Framers of the U.S. Constitution dreamed up. They believed that letting Congress choose the president was a dreadful idea. Without direct election by the people, the Framers said that the executive would lose its independence and vigor and become a mere servant of the legislature. They had the record of revolutionary America to go on. All but one of America's first state constitutions gave state assemblies the power to choose the governor. James Madison commented that this structure allowed legislatures to turn governors into "little more than ciphers."

That's why, during the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the Framers rejected early proposals to follow any such model. New York delegate Gouverneur Morris explained that if Congress picked the president, he "will not be independent of it; and if not independent, usurpation and tyranny on the part of the Legislature will be the consequence." Choosing the president would result from the "work of intrigue, of cabal, and of faction." After weeks of debate, the Framers vested the presidency with its own base of popular support by establishing a national election, saying that the president should represent the views of the entire people, not the wishes of Congress.

They kept the same rule when considering what should happen when the president ran for re-election. Alexander Hamilton wrote, while ratification of the Constitution was being debated, "that the executive should be independent for his continuance in office on all, but the people themselves," for otherwise, the president might "be tempted to sacrifice his duty to his complaisance for those whose favor was necessary to the duration of his official consequence."

The Framers were deeply concerned that a president chosen by Congress would keep his eye only on the happiness of legislators, turning our government into a parliamentary system like those which prevail in Europe today, in which the nation's leader is merely a prime minister.

Press reports indicate that the Framers were right to worry. The Clinton and Obama campaigns are now competing hard to win superdelegates. Members of Congress no doubt will cut deals for themselves and their constituents. A water project here, some pet legislation there -- surely such details are worth the nomination. Lose, and the candidate pays nothing. Win, and a presidency is gained. Like shareholders deciding whether to sell in a tender offer, superdelegates will bargain ferociously until the moment that the nominee secures a delegate majority. As we close in on the Democratic convention, the demand for superdelegates will escalate, with the choice of the nominee becoming increasingly the work of political intrigue, inside deals, and power struggles among special interest groups -- just as the Framers feared.

A nominee who survives this process will come to the presidency weighed down by dozens, if not hundreds, of commitments. Little hope there for a fresh start, or any break from a politics-as-usual Congress. Some may welcome such a development. Some students of American politics argue that the president and Congress should work more closely together. Critics of the Bush administration may well prefer a President Clinton or Obama who obeys congressional wishes.

But the historical record on this is not heartening. During the reign of the Jeffersonians, the progenitors of today's Democrats, the congressional caucus chose the party's nominee. It was a system that yielded mediocrity, even danger. Congressional hawks pushed James Madison into the War of 1812 by demanding ever more aggressive trade restrictions against Great Britain and ultimately declaring war -- all because they wanted to absorb Canada. It ended with a stalemate in the north, the torching of the U.S. capital, and Gen. Andrew Jackson winning a victory at the Battle of New Orleans.

"King Caucus" finally broke down when the system reached a peak of "cabal, intrigue, and faction." Jackson received the plurality of the popular vote in the election of 1824, but with no Electoral College majority the choice went to the House of Representatives. In what became known as the "corrupt bargain," House Speaker Henry Clay, who had come in fourth, threw his electors behind John Quincy Adams in exchange for being appointed Secretary of State. Jackson spent the next four years successfully attacking the legitimacy of the Adams administration and won his revenge in the election of 1828.

It is unlikely that a candidate today would trade a cabinet post for a superdelegate's vote. Sen. Harry Reid is unlikely to be the next Secretary of Veterans' Affairs, or Speaker Nancy Pelosi the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. But the election of 1824 ought to serve as a caution about what may happen again today, if we let Congress play a large role in choosing the next president. Our Framers designed the Constitution to prevent just this from happening. The Democrats have created an electoral system that echoes failed models from the American past, and threatens to sap the presidency of its independence and authority by turning it into the handmaiden of Congress instead of the choice of the American people.

Mr. Yoo is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He was an official in the Justice Department from 2001-03.
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Old 03-24-2008, 11:35 AM #2
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I don't understand much about superdelegates and what not. You mean that someone who was not voted for, gets to pick the nominee?
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Old 03-24-2008, 11:40 AM #3
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I don't understand much about superdelegates and what not. You mean that someone who was not voted for, gets to pick the nominee?
They're 800 party insiders that have free votes. They were meant to help push one candidate over the edge, but now we're seeing the definite downside to them.
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Old 03-24-2008, 11:48 AM #4
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So long as the superdelegates don't put their personal politics ahead of the democratic process, meaning when Barack is ahead the superdelegates tip the scales and give Hilary the nod there won't be a problem in that sense.

If Hilary gets the nod I see the problem of corruption being a quite larger problem, maybe I shouldn't trust Obama, but I do.
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Old 03-24-2008, 11:55 AM #5
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There isn't a very reasonable vote as far as Presidency this election.
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Old 03-24-2008, 12:15 PM #6
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It sounds like what the framers intended for the electoral college is effectively happening for the nomination process.

It may not be the most democratic method, but the framers of the constitution originally wanted the average citizen to have very little to do with the presidential selection process.

Ron Paul supporters should be happy as hell with what is happening.
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Old 03-24-2008, 12:44 PM #7
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http://www.theonion.com/content/vide...dentally_leaks

They'll likely go to first past the post elections next election cycle to avoid this kind of a fiasco.
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Old 03-24-2008, 12:48 PM #8
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So does this mean my vote counts?
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Old 03-24-2008, 12:48 PM #9
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If you're a superdelegate, yes.

edit: or if you're in PA.
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Old 03-24-2008, 12:51 PM #10
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Ok, so I have no say in the Presidential selection. Does my local vote count for mayor, etc?
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Old 03-24-2008, 12:53 PM #11
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Your vote counts.

I really doubt the superdelegates are going to knock the front runner out of the candidacy.
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Old 03-24-2008, 01:03 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adema3412 View Post
Your vote counts.

I really doubt the superdelegates are going to knock the front runner out of the candidacy.
Unless they're very, very stupid, they won't. If they override the popular vote, they're basically giving the election to McCain, IMO.
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Old 03-24-2008, 01:05 PM #13
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Howard Dean needs to spend the time between now and Denver trying to figure out a solution that will work for Both candidates. Otherwise there is going to be some pissed off democrats for the next couple election cycles.

John Edwards needs to Hurry the **** up and make a desicion. the sooner he can, the sooner he will be a Vice President nominee.
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Old 03-24-2008, 04:24 PM #14
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Unless they're very, very stupid, they won't. If they override the popular vote, they're basically giving the election to McCain, IMO.
That's not true, because only the democrats picked the candidate. Whoever gets the nomination will get the VAST majority of the democratic vote. It's not like Obama supporters are going to vote for McCain if Hillary gets the nomination.
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Old 03-24-2008, 04:53 PM #15
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That's not true, because only the democrats picked the candidate. Whoever gets the nomination will get the VAST majority of the democratic vote. It's not like Obama supporters are going to vote for McCain if Hillary gets the nomination.
LOL

Actually, if Hitlery gets the nomination, I'll be voting for McCain. Don't ask why. I couldn't tell ya. And no, it's not because she's a woman.
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Old 03-24-2008, 05:40 PM #16
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That's not true, because only the democrats picked the candidate. Whoever gets the nomination will get the VAST majority of the democratic vote. It's not like Obama supporters are going to vote for McCain if Hillary gets the nomination.
If they override the popular vote of the democratic party I will either vote third party or not vote at all.
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:24 PM #17
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superdelegates were made because obama and clinton are so close that neither of them will get enough primary votes to win right?
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:51 PM #18
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superdelegates were made because obama and clinton are so close that neither of them will get enough primary votes to win right?
No, they've been a part of the democratic primaries for years now, not sure how long exactly.
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:01 PM #19
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They were instituted in the 70s I think when the primary system was developed. (I'm fairly certain of that ...)
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Old 03-24-2008, 07:08 PM #20
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They were instituted in the 70s I think when the primary system was developed. (I'm fairly certain of that ...)
1982 or 84.

They were supposed to keep radical, but popular candidates from getting the nomination and they certainly help in pushing one candidate over the other.
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