Delegates to Both Conventions Need to Start Over from Scratch
Americans may flatter themselves that they aren’t susceptible to putting much faith in a mere politician. But one sees a lot of emotion at our campaign rallies. And at national conventions, one can see actual fervor for a party’s nominee. Such displays are embarrassing, and are unseemly in a nation founded by individuals who had a healthy distrust of government and of anyone in power.
One of the more revolting things in American politics is when our politicians get onstage and allow us to watch them embrace each other. Even male politicians will wrap their arms around each other and hug each other as though they were the best of friends and haven’t seen each other in twenty years. As they gallivant around the nation, they pull these stunts at each campaign stop. You’d think they’d get tired of the fake emotion, but they probably just need the attention.
What are we, the American people, supposed to think of such displays; that these politicians are human, just like us, or that they’re celebrities, or what? Particularly disgusting is when politicians publically kiss each other (video). We’re supposed to vote for you because you kiss your husband for all to see; even when we know he’s cheated on you for decades? Gag me with a spoon. Enough already! Just tell us how you’re going to balance the budget.
For more than a year now, America has had to watch these guys campaign and listen to them tell us how great they are and how bad the other guy is. Imagine how different the last year would have been if we had no primaries and party nominees were chosen by delegates only. In such an America neither Bernie Sanders nor Donald Trump would have had a chance at being a major party nominee. Also, they wouldn’t have received millions of dollars of free media.
When “outsiders” like Sanders and Trump can take over a major party, you know that the primary system is fundamentally messed up. All eligible Americans should be able to run for any office, including Sanders and Trump. But why do the parties allow anyone to run in their primaries? Indeed, why do we have these stupid primaries? The main reason is, supposedly, delegate selection. But as I reported recently, the parties are sovereign when it comes to seating delegates. Not only that, but all GOP delegates are “unbound.”
Unbound: The Conscience of a Republican Delegate by Curly Haugland and Sean Parnell was published on May 22, 2016, and it posits that GOP delegates are not “bound” to vote for anyone; not Trump, not Cruz, not Rubio. The only way that could change is if the Rules Committee changes the rules. (Unbound was published by Citizens in Charge Foundation, where one can download it as a free PDF.)
If Haugland and Parnell are correct, then the primary system is an expensive and irrelevant sideshow. What have the primaries accomplished this year but produce a bunch of disaffected, het-up, dug-in voters who threaten to stay home on Election Day if their candidate doesn’t get nominated? And because the major parties have already (supposedly) chosen their nominees, there’s the possibility of outside agitators disrupting the conventions in protest over those very “nominees.” Oh, and there’s one other thing the primaries have produced this year: the two presumptive nominees with the highest negatives ever.
Primary voters comprise a minority of eligible voters. So we have a minority of voters determining whom all voters get to vote for. Those minorities have chosen very badly. Consider what it would mean to elect Mrs. Clinton. Not only is she the subject of an FBI investigation, but she would be dragging back into the White House the only president impeached in 150 years, who lied to us repeatedly, who presided over the Branch Davidian siege, etc., etc. There were about 31 million votes cast in the 2016 GOP primaries and Mr. Trump received less than 45 percent of them, a minority of a minority. Primary voters seem to have quite a knack for choosing divisive, deeply unpopular candidates. In July of last year, I wrote:
Parties exist to save voters from themselves. Convention delegates need to be able to do an “intervention” and override the selections of primary voters. A year from now, delegates to the Republican convention may be facing a hard choice: go down with the primary voters or do something bold.
Pretty prescient, I’d say, (perhaps I’m a precog). The only thing I would change about that is Democrat delegates also need to do an “intervention.” Despite my dissatisfaction with its presumptive nominee, I’ve said that I’ll support the GOP nominee. But there is a remote possibility that I’d support a Democrat nominee. And that’s if the Democrat delegates dump Hillary and draft someone decent. But the Democrats no longer have a Henry M. Jackson or a Daniel Patrick Moynihan. What if the Dems took a cue from the GOP in 1952 and drafted a general? If the Dems nominated, say, General “Jack” Keane, and the alternative was Trump, I’d vote Democrat, something I thought I’d never do again.
“Binding” the convention delegates is a progressive thing, and quite undemocratic. The establishment and the media have encouraged the voter to think he has a right to have a say in how private organizations (i.e. parties) are run and who’s in charge of them. Next thing you know, ThinkProgress is going to insist that country clubs start interviewing bag ladies and hobos to get input on whom they think should be the clubs’ presidents.
America’s two major political parties are failing us. Institutions that can be taken over by outsiders can’t be taken very seriously. Delegates to both conventions need to correct this nonsense this year. Delegates need to ignore the primaries, nullify them, so they can enter into nomination new people, the best people, perhaps even America’s “savior.” After eight years of Obama, we’ll need one.
Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.
revised 1102 EDT