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By Robert A. Vella

On the eve of its national convention in Philadelphia, the Democratic Party has put itself in a condition of disarray not seen since the turbulent and violent days of Chicago in 1968.  Make no mistake, had the GOP nominated a traditional candidate – even one as flawed as John McCain in 2008 or Mitt Romney in 2012 – the 2016 presidential race wouldn’t be close.  Hillary Clinton is damaged goods to all except her most ardent supporters, yet she still might prevail in this election because her opponent – the megalomaniac Donald Trump – is widely despised.

American politics today pits a very sick donkey against a rabidly crazy elephant.

The latest fiasco involves the Wikileaks release of emails on Friday showing collusion between the Democratic National Committee and their media cohorts to discredit Hillary’s primary challenger Bernie Sanders, in addition to the just-completed and hotly-contested negotiations between the two camps to reform the party’s nomination process.  On top of all that, Clinton’s poll numbers continue to suffer from the questionable decisions made recently by the DOJ and FBI regarding a completely different email controversy.

Not only is this donkey sick, it’s kicking itself.

While the GOP has its own set of serious internal divisions, there’s something unique happening inside the Democratic Party.  Whereas Republicans are more amenable to authoritarianism regardless of their establishment or populist leanings, voters who are inclined towards Democrats are not so amenable and this is particularly true for progressives and younger people.  When the machinations of authoritarianism usurp the practices of democracy, it is correctly interpreted by such voters and would-be voters as despicable forms of political corruption – a realization that surely drives-down election day enthusiasm and turnout (the Achilles heel of Democratic Party electoral success).

In a real democracy, the people decide… not an elite cabal of insiders hell-bent on fulfilling some preconceived agenda.

I believe the competency of the Democratic Party leadership should be called into question.  It didn’t have to allow Sanders to run in the primaries in the first place.  He is, after all, a registered independent.  After they allowed him to run, they immediately began changing the party rules to rig the outcome in Hillary’s favor.  For example, I was excluded from voting for Bernie in my state (Washington) unless I publicly declared myself a Democrat – something I refuse to do.  This makes no sense whatsoever.  It’s akin to inviting a guest over for dinner only to deny them a seat at the table.  What purpose could it serve?

In reaction to this questionable leadership, the party’s Rules Committee earlier today rescinded DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ role as Chair of the National Convention which begins tomorrow.  It doesn’t appear likely that she’ll be allowed to give a speech either.

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11 thoughts on “The Sick Donkey of American Politics

  1. I admit I did not understand and in fact fumed that he was let run as a member of the democratic party. I thought he should be made to run as either an independent or JOIN the democratic party. Instead he got all the benefits, all the lists of donors, mailing lists and other support from the party, while not having to pay the price. In fact all his talk of forcing the party to change its rules and its conventions, and its election standards, I felt was out of line. He is not a party member and he should not have a say in the rules. If he wants things his way then he should do them in the Independent party. This is my opinion. Hugs

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      • I would like to point out a few things. Yes the voter doesn’t need to register, but the candidate does. Not register to vote but to let the state know what ballot to place them on. You do get different ballots in Vermont. Also the DNC is national, not state level and therefore the state doesn’t have a say in their policies. I agree the DNC brought this on themselves, they should have insisted that for their support that Sanders switch from independent to the democratic party. To me this is like the libertarian party demanding concessions from the RNC and the RNC demanding equal access to the DNC support network. Be well and hugs

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Just a note of interest… Vermont has no party registration, so Sanders isn’t a registered Independent. Sanders’ Democrat status became “official” when he filed to be on the Democratic primary ballot in New Hampshire. “Party leaders… don’t have the power to say someone isn’t a Democrat or a Republican.” So the Democrat Party was unable to bar Sanders from running under their banner. At the time, however, I’m sure they never thought it would much matter…!

    Main source: [http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2016/feb/23/bernie-sanders-democrat/]

    (This 2016 election cycle has spurred me to learn more about the political system than I ever thought I wanted or needed to know.)

    To me, the most obnoxious Dem Party rule change was when they blocked Larry Lessig from the debates.

    Until we separate money from politics and begin to enforce laws that uphold ethical standards, our political system is crap.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the clarification, JoAnn; although, there’s a little more to it. Before 1979, Bernie was a member of the Liberty Union Party. From 1979 to 2015, he declared himself as an independent. Even though Vermont – like my state of Washington – has no party registration requirement, candidates typically make such declarations for a variety of reasons such as to inform voters, to meet state ballot guidelines (“candidate X prefers Y party” descriptor in my state), and to conform to state and federal campaign financing laws.

      Sanders decision to run as a Democrat was arrived at after lengthy consideration and consultation with Democratic Party leaders (he caucuses with Dems in the U.S. Senate). They did not oppose his decision.

      From Politico:

      Bernie Sanders on Monday told NBC’s Chuck Todd that he ran as a Democrat to get more media coverage.

      During a town hall-style event in Columbus, Ohio, the independent Vermont senator said, “In terms of media coverage, you have to run within the Democratic Party.” He then took a dig at MNSBC, telling Todd, the network “would not have me on his program” if he ran as an independent.

      Money also played a role in his decision to run as a Democrat, Sanders added.

      “To run as an independent, you need — you could be a billionaire,” he said. “If you’re a billionaire, you can do that. I’m not a billionaire. So the structure of American politics today is such that I thought the right ethic was to run within the Democratic Party.”

      POLITICO has previously reported that Sanders initially resisted running as a Democrat, but was convinced by his advisers that it was necessary.

      From Real Clear Politics:

      Democrats quickly voiced their support for the two-term senator in light of his campaign launch.

      “I agree with Bernie,” tweeted Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner and prohibitive favorite to win the nomination. “Focus must be on helping America’s middle class. GOP would hold them back. I welcome him to the race.”

      Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement: “Throughout his service in the U.S. House and Senate, Bernie Sanders has clearly demonstrated his commitment to the values we all share as members of the Democratic Party.”

      But, until Thursday, Sanders has not ever been a Democrat in name, and he has been proud of that distinction. Since Sanders first ran for federal office in 1972, he has identified as a third-party or unaffiliated candidate.

      In his first bid for Senate, Sanders ran under the Liberty Union banner. When he successfully ran for Burlington mayor a decade later, he identified with the Progressive Party, which he launched in Vermont with that race. Since 1988, when Sanders unsuccessfully sought a seat in the House of Representatives, he has run as an Independent.

      The Dems rule change to block Lessig was indeed most obnoxious. And, I couldn’t agree with you more about the corrupting influence of money in politics. Our system is truly crap.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Robert, I almost always either agree with your point of view, or at least don’t strongly disagree, but I think you might reconsider the idea that anyone, just anyone, should be allowed to have a say in the Democratic party’s platform, plans, direction. You were not allowed to vote in the primary because the primary is the time and place for party members to decide the future of the party. People who want to have a say in the direction the party will take should be those who have the party’s interests at heart — i.e., those who care enough to join the party. Should they allow just anyone — David Duke, Glen Beck, just anyone, to have equal vote as to the direction the party will take?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I despise the democratic party. It certainly is not democratic. Democrats should be honored to have had someone like Bernie Sanders running for the presidential nomination of their party.

    If democrats thought about what’s best for the country (and the world) instead of obeying the powers that be and embracing labels, we could have had the best democratic nominee in a long, long time. And if the corporate media took their responsibility to INFORM the public seriously instead of feeding the propaganda machine that has destroyed democracy around the world, we could have had the president in a very long time.

    That’s what should matter – not playing by an arbitrary set of rules that instill obedience and cause confusion more than they help our electoral system.

    Thanks for an excellent post that has provoked some serious discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

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