Thursday, March 5, 2020

Dear DNC, Please Fix Your Absurd Primary System

So yesterday I decided to google "brokered convention" to learn more about how they work and the basic definition of the process left my inner anarchist screaming.

Once the first ballot, or vote, has occurred, and no candidate has a majority of the delegates' votes, the convention is then considered brokered; thereafter, the nomination is decided through a process of alternating political horse trading — delegate vote trading — and additional re-votes.

That's literally from Wikipedia. I mean, political horse trading? Does that phrase not make everyone gag a little?

Basically it's a relic from back when only land-owning white men voted and if there wasn't a clear nominee then they got together with cigars and brandy and made deals and sleazed and figured out how they could carve out more of the country for themselves. And the cigars part is not a joke.

The term "brokered" implies a strong role for political bosses, more common in the past and associated with deals made in proverbial "smoke-filled rooms", while the term "contested" is a more modern term for a convention where no candidate holds a majority but the role of party leaders is weaker in determining the eventual outcome.

But it's not just the brokered convention. I know multiple people in Washington State who already voted for Warren and mailed their ballot in. There's no way to change their vote now. Any delegates given to Warren will get to choose whether to support Joe or Bernie if a brokered convention happens but there's no guarantee that any delegate will support the person you would have voted for if Warren had been off the ballot by the time they voted.

It very much feels to them that their vote has been wasted.

And it just sucks watching the political games happen in between big primary days. Biden was able to get a ton of extra support because Pete and Amy dropped out before Super Tuesday and endorsed him, along with Beto. It seems very likely that some Bernie supporters decided not to vote because everyone was saying that Bernie was definitely gonna kill it. Now Biden has a bunch of momentum because the Democratic establishment is able to pull shit like this while grassroots progressives are less equipped.

The fact is that these systems were designed to be rigged in favor of the rich and privileged. I'm sure lots of people are now just going along with how things have always been, so I'm not saying they're all conspiring against Bernie, but some definitely are and are happy to take advantage of the situation.

If the Democrats really want to be all about voting rights, they need to scrap the old system and replace it with something much simpler that will erase all these unfair advantages. I've heard good things about ranked choice voting.

But will the people in power ever willingly give up their power?

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