I’ve been voting since the 2000 Presidential Election. In that short span of time, I’ve seen enough nonsense and frustrations with politics to become completely pessimistic towards the entire election process, both primary political parties, and the entire system we have in place. The funny thing is, I guess this is part of adulthood, as I would imagine many Americans and citizens of many, many countries would probably share these sentiments. I still taste the bitterness from the 2000 Presidential Election, where the Supreme Court stopped the mandatory vote recounts in Florida (where Jeb Bush was Governor) and named George W. Bush as President. Many later studies produced conflicting opinions on who would have won had the recounts continued.
I know most people say that “every vote matters” but does it really? The older I get, the more I feel like I’m wasting my time embarking upon an exercise in futility. The political ads on TV insult my intelligence. A local election shown in Georgia by David Purdue inferred that his opponent Michelle Nun would allow Ebola and terrorism to enter into Georgia’s borders if she was elected (the ad showed a man wearing a hospital face mask and then showed Middle Eastern looking terrorists). C’mon! Sidenote, David Purdue (R) won by a significant margin. How meaningful are votes from people (due to being fed false propaganda throughout the media) who have no clue what the true mission and actions of their elected officials are?
A nonpartisan organization known as the Free and Equal Foundation posted the above picture last week. It shows the grim reality of our present situation. It makes absolutely no sense to collectively and consistently give Congress dismal approval ratings, yet elect 96.4% of them back into office. See also: definition of Insanity. The Free and Equal Foundation’s mission is to open up our elections and media coverage to more than just the establishment candidates and political parties. They work to give all ballot-qualified candidates the opportunity to debate important political issues in public forums.
Voting is the perfect conundrum because if you don’t vote at all, you’re sitting idly on the sidelines while vultures continue to devour our country for personal gain. “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain” is often stated. On the other hand, George Carlin once put it this way:
Hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate sponsorship are given to people running for President, Senate, the House of Representatives, and Governor each election term. If you’d like to know what laws and policies they are going to rule in favor of once they get elected, just look at their campaign sponsors for that year. In that sense, our votes are actually going towards Wall Street bankers and law firms. Do we really think that elected politicians would rule against the very people that sponsored them?
Superdelegates – What are they and why do they matter?
Superdelegates were created within the Democratic National Committee in 1982 as an attempt to make it more difficult for “less proven” candidates to win the Democratic Nomination. Their reasoning was that by doing this, it gave known candidates who were “part of the establishment” a higher likelihood of getting the Democratic Nomination. It was felt that “weaker” candidates could potentially slip through otherwise. However, this rationale is entirely subjective and ignores the fact that elected politicians should represent who the people voted for. Elect who the most people want! Period. Jim Hunt, former governor of North Carolina was “tapped” to create this new system, and it was implemented in time for the 1984 election.
The Democratic nominee for president is decided based on which candidate wins the most delegates. You will find conflicting information about how many there are in 2016, but according to the AP, the delegate total is 4,763. It takes 2,382 of those to secure the nomination. And of the 4,763, 712 are “Superdelegates”—about 15 percent of the overall total. The 4,051 “normal” delegates are allocated based on the votes in each state. That’s why we have primaries and caucuses in all of them, eventually—the will of the people decides where each of these delegates goes. So if one Democratic candidate wins 60 percent of the popular vote in a state that offers 10 delegates, for example, that candidate will win six delegates in that state. This continues state by state, and usually one candidate manages to rack up a clear majority of the delegates before the convention.
Delegates won in primaries and caucuses are considered “pledged voters,” meant to represent the will of the people who voted for a particular candidate. At the national convention, these delegates are expected to vote for the candidate chosen by the thousands of voters they represent. This is not the case with Superdelegates. Superdelegates are simply “unpledged voters.” Their vote represents their own choice, rather than the wishes of the voters, and these “unpledged” delegates can pledge their votes as they see fit. Who gets to be a Superdelegate? Every Democratic member of Congress, House, and Senate; former presidents, vice presidents, and high ranking Democrats; every Democratic governor; certain “distinguished party leaders;” also, the Democratic National Committee can name an additional 432 Superdelegates—an honor that usually goes to mayors, chairs, vice-chairs of the state party, and other dignitaries.
In the 2008 election, each Superdelegate had about as much clout as 10,000 voters. It will be roughly the same in 2016. In a close election (such as 2008), who gets the Democratic Nomination can absolutely be decided by the Superdelegates. Superdelegates do not have to vote the way the majority of the voters in their party do, but can “vote their conscience” on who they feel is best. There is little if any protocol that says delegates can’t be given outright gifts or even money. By the time the 2008 primary season began, some already had received money in the form of campaign contributions. As you can see, there are many convoluted dynamics to our election process and obviously it would be too fair or simple for each citizen’s vote to actually count towards their preferred candidate.
…I guess I’ll just get back in line with everybody else!
Princeton Study: USA is an Oligarchy, not a Democracy.
Source: What are Superdelegates?
Source: Paste Magazine: Superdelegates