I am no fan of our current two-party system in America. Any good intentions or principles that laid the foundation for either party have long given way to power-hungry, self-fulling juggernauts. Nowhere is this power more evident than in the Democratic Party’s system of choosing a presidential candidate.
Make no mistake: long before America knew who Bernie Sanders was, the DNC already chose Hillary as their nominee. In an intentional small contingent of Democratic candidates, Sanders was “allowed” to run only because he was considered to be a non-starter. After all, who would have thought that a self-declared Socialist would make it past the first couple of primaries, let-alone to a presidential bid? And, for benefit of the DNC, it didn’t hurt that Clinton would appear more centrist and younger-looking with Sanders in the race.
What the DNC (nor the RNC for that matter) didn’t see coming was the people’s rebellion toward the party-selected candidates. If this presidential nominating process has shed light on anything, it demonstrates that candidates on both sides are selected by the party and NOT elected by the people.
The DNC’s so-called superdelegates make up approximately 20% of all nominating delegates. According to party head, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, these superdelegates exist:
...to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don't have to be in a position where they are running against grass-roots activists.
Wait, what?? The party that prides itself in inclusion of minority and diversity groups gives itself the power to protect itself against such groups? The superdelegate structure is even hailed by Clinton supporters as “a wise policy to maintain steady, experienced governance.” Definition: keep outsiders out.
In theory, a Democratic candidate could win 49% of the pledged delegates and lose to a candidate winning only 31% when superdelegates are factored in.
Defenders of superdelegates (mostly party elite) argue that if the nomination ever came down to going against the will of the voters, the superdelegates would vote with the people. However, the beauty of this system is that just the mere influence of the superdelegates is enough to control the outcome. It never needs to come down to a deciding vote of superdelegates.
Because DNC primary and caucus rules require proportional allocation rather than winner-take-all, it is virtually impossible for an outside candidate to win the nomination. But that is not the entire story: the candidate with the majority of superdelegates wins the messaging race every time.
Having the majority of superdelegate votes will serve a candidate more than any political endorsement, political interest group backing, or movement of the people. If the presidential nomination were a marathon, the Democratic candidate with a majority of superdelegates already has a 5.2 mile head start (20% of a marathon distance) before any ballots are cast. They do not have to expend nearly the energy of the other candidates racing to the finish. With that head start, the superdelegate-backed candidate is perceived as being in the lead from the very beginning, garnering invaluable media coverage, political favors, and the mind-share of the voters.
Enter Bernie Sanders: a candidate who is financing his campaign largely on small donations from individuals. People like him because his is not “establishment”. He is, in fact, the longest serving Independent in Congressional history and only became a Democrat in 2015 in order to run for the party’s nomination. He prides himself by not being tied to special interest, funded by Wall Street, nor supported by PACs. Whether people agree with his policies or not, they generally believe he has a record of voting his beliefs. That translates into integrity, which is a rarity in politics. Of all the remaining presidential candidates, Sanders is perceived to be the most honest and principled…and by no small margin.
Hillary, on the other hand, is none of those things. She is the modern-day definition of a carpetbagger. She, by her own words and actions, has proven herself to be untrustworthy and unprincipled.
For supporters of Sanders, Bernie is not just an alternative to Hillary: he is their choice. While Sanders’ political positions initially set him apart from other candidates, it is his appeal as an outsider that drives the passion of his supporters.
Clinton supporters hope that when Clinton wins the nomination, Sanders supporters will turn to Hillary. They argue that a non-vote in November is a vote for Donald Trump. The truth is: a non-vote is a vote against the DNC and its corrupt nominating process.
Sanders supporters have real power to change the nominating process beyond just this election. That power, however, is muted if they change their vote for Clinton.
Disillusioned Republicans have no such power for change within their party. While they suffer from a different (and arguably harder to break) set of party rules, the end result is the same: the party protects itself.
This is a one-time opportunity to tell the DNC where they can shove their nominating process. Giving way to Party pressure and voting for Hillary only solidifies the self-fulling interest of the DNC and its party-elite superdelegates.