Bernt Out

The other day, I saw this sign.

LC june

The group supports Bernie Sanders and third-party candidates who can prevent the “1 percent” from winning the election. I’ve been very patient with the revolution. In fact, I agree with Sanders on many issues. But the current argument that the Democratic Party is conspiring to prevent Sanders and the righteous from acquiring political power, well, now I’m Bernt out.

It appears the Bernie Bros are upset because they don’t understand the rules. The first instance of outrage occurred during the New Hampshire primary. Sander’s won 60.4 percent of the vote while Clinton won 38 percent. Sanders earned 15 pledged delegates. Clinton won nine delegates and six superdelegates. This meant Sanders and Clinton were tied.

Delegates are awarded proportionately and superdelegates can select whomever they want. But are technically unbound until they vote at the convention. Nonetheless, Bernie Bros were outraged. Take off the tinfoil hats, there’s no conspiracy.

A candidate must win 2,383 delegates win the nomination.

Candidate Earned Pledged Delegates Superdelegates Total
Bernie 1,831 48 1,879
Hillary 2,220 591 2,811

Social media suggests many Sanders supporters believe the system was rigged for Clinton. False.

Before 1968, it was primarily party leaders who chose the nominee. During that year’s DNC, party leaders bypassed George McGovern (who stepped in after the assassination of Robert Kennedy) and Eugene McCarthy to nominate Hubert Humphrey. Humphrey was Lydon B. Johnson’s vice president; a man who never set foot in a primary. The convention was perhaps one of the most violent in U.S. history as anti-Vietnam War protestors were beaten by police. The Democrats lost to Nixon.

Embarrassed and defeated, the party decided to channel the protestors’ activism and open up the nominating process. By 1972, the McGovern-Fraser Commission had done just that. Primary and caucus goers would select delegates to the convention. Sadly, the people were really really bad at selecting winning candidates. In the 1972 election, George McGovern lost every state except Massachusetts.

Then, Jimmy Carter came along (the Watergate Scandal likely gave him the edge). While the people may have liked Carter enough to nominate him, once in office he had a poor relationship with party leaders and often clashed with Congress. Ultimately, he lost his second bid to Ronald Reagan.

In addition to crushing losses, the primaries were not as open or fair as the party would have liked. With the open process, campaigns were longer which meant more money needed to be spent, which meant donors became even more important. Not every state has open primaries and those not registered to the Democratic Party, such as independents, could not vote for a Democratic candidate in some states (bad news for Bernie, since independents were often his biggest supporters). In other states, independents or Republicans could choose the fate of the Democratic nominee, which is also not fair. And don’t forget, voter turnout is super low for primaries, so there is a minority making the decision.

Under the Hunt Commission of 1981, the Democratic Party added superdelegates to help balance out the negative consequences of fully opening up the process. With superdelegates, the party could ensure that strategic nominees were selected. For better or worse, long-term party members are dedicated and would nominate stronger candidates. Additionally, superdelegates could end the battle early and cut costs by going with the emerging victor, in this case, Hillary Clinton with her 2,220 pledged delegates.

It is unlikely Sanders will get the 504 superdelegates to jump ship. Given the Democratic Party platform has now adopted many of the issues important to his base, it’s time for him to step aside.

Submitted by Laura Caccioppoli


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