Current Issue
Back Issues
 Subscribe to BartBlog Feed
How to Read
Members ( need password)
Subscribe to BartCop!
Contact Us
Advertise With Us
Link to Us
Why Donate?
The Forum  -
The Reader
Poster Downloads
Shirts & Shots
BartCop Hotties
More Links
BFEE Scorecard
Perkel's Blog
Power of Nightmares
Clinton Fox Interview
Part 1, Part 2
Money Talks
Cost of Bush's greed
White Rose Society
Project 60
Chinaco Anejo


Search Now:
In Association with

Link Roll
American Politics Journal
Barry Crimmins
Betty Bowers
Consortium News 
Daily Howler
Daily Kos
Democatic Underground 
Disinfotainment Today 
Evil GOP Bastards
Faux News Channel 
Greg Palast
The Hollywood Liberal 
Internet Weekly
Jesus General
Joe Conason 
Josh Marshall
Liberal Oasis
Make Them Accountable 
Mark Morford 
Mike Malloy 
Political Humor -
Political Wire
Randi Rhodes
Rude Pundit 
Smirking Chimp
Take Back the Media
More Links


Locations of visitors to this page

Passion Runs High for Democrats 
  by Gene Lyons
              Here are the numbers that make Democrats optimistic about running the table come November, regaining the White House and controlling both houses of Congress: On "Super Tuesday," 15,417,521 citizens voted in Democratic primaries, versus 9,181,297 who participated in Republican contests.
            The proportions have remained like that since January, with Democrats outpolling Republicans by 3 to 2 or better nationwide. We appear to be headed toward a paradigm-changing election like 1932, with Republicans relegated to secondary status. Reading the tea leaves, many GOP congressmen have announced their retirement, scrambling for K Street lobbying firms ahead of the rush.
            It couldn't happen to a more deserving party. Fourteen years after Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America," we've seen the consequences of conservative dogma in action: disastrous wars, authoritarian lawlessness, staggering corruption in Washington and Baghdad alike, growing budget deficits, and repeated episodes of massive financial fraud. 
            But can Democrats screw up the presidential contest anyway? Many are starting to think so. The possibility that neither Sen. Barack Obama nor Sen. Hillary Clinton will win enough delegates to lock up the nomination before the August convention has tensions running high. The prospect of so-called "superdelegates," i.e. senators, congressmen and other Democratic office-holders, deciding the nominee has led to great anxiety, particularly among Obama supporters.
            If party rules aren't interpreted to their satisfaction, some say they'll quit the game, take their ball and go home. Longtime Democratic operative Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore's 2000 campaign, has announced that if "superdelegates" settle the contest, she'll abandon the party. 
            Writing in his influential Open Left weblog, Chris Bowers warns, "[i]f someone is nominated for POTUS from the Democratic Party despite another candidate receiving more popular support from Democratic primary voters and caucus goers, I will resign as local precinct captain, resign my seat on the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee, immediately cease all fundraising for all Democrats, refuse to endorse the Democratic 'nominee' and otherwise disengage from the Democratic Party."
            Several things must be said. First, everybody making such threats needs to take a deep breath and calm down. This isn't about you, your hurt feelings, or your pure, unsullied idealism. It's about the future of our country. Any Democrat who can't concede that either Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama would be an enormous improvement over President Bush or the bellicose, irascible Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, has no business participating in politics to begin with.
            Second, a deadlocked convention ain't likely to happen. History shows that these theoretical trainwrecks rarely occur, although the memory of the 2000 Florida debacle can't help but provoke unease. Chances are the voters will decide the issue between now and the April 4 Pennsylvania primary, maybe before.
            Third, and this is the tricky part, how exactly would one go about determining, assuming neither candidate wins a clear majority during the primaries, which one most Democrats favor? Given the hodgepodge of procedures in place across the country, it won't be easy.
            "[W]ho decides what the popular will is anyway?" asks Kevin Drum in his influential Washington Monthly weblog. "Is it number of pledged delegates from the state contests? Total popular vote? Total number of states won? What about uncommitted delegates from primary states? Or caucus states, in which there's no popular vote to consult and delegates are selected in a decidedly nondemocratic fashion to begin with? And what about all the independent and crossover voters?"
            As I write, Obama has won eleven caucuses and nine primaries. Caucuses clearly discriminate in favor of wealthier, better-educated voters, not necessarily those with most at stake or most critical to Democratic chances. A number of his caucus victories have been achieved in small states such as North Dakota, Utah and Nebraska, which Democrats have basically zero chance of winning. Several primary wins (South Carolina, Alabama) have also come in places Democrats won't carry come November.
            With the obvious exception of Illinois, Obama's home state, the higher the turnout and the bigger the state (California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts), the more likely Clinton is to have won it. This leads many political professionals to see her as the stronger candidate come November, the Woodstock-like zeal of Obama's supporters notwithstanding. An amateur, I see him as the second-coming of Adlai Stevenson, another high-minded orator from Illinois who made Democrats feel superior while losing. 
            Then there's the ticklish matter of Florida and Michigan. Yes, they broke party rules. (In Florida's case, a GOP legislature made them.) Together, though, they constitute roughly ten percent of the nation's population. Is it sensible or fair to disenfranchise them? Both states are crucial to Democratic hopes. With neither candidate campaigning, Clinton prevailed easily in Florida. Likewise, Obama's withdrawl from Michigan may have been tactically clever, given the demographics.
            None of these dilemmas have easy or obvious solutions. Anybody who thinks they do may as well go home now. 

  Back to

Send e-mail to Bart  |  Discuss it on The BartCop ForumComment on it at the BartBlog

Privacy Policy
. .