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Nominating Conventions are the only Parliaments in the American System and these are mighty short lived.  They burn out in a few days of feverish activity.  Here, all those previous arguments for this or that nomination’s statesmanship, character or wisdom are boiled down and reduced, chewed over and debated by these delegates of farmers, lawyers, county chairmen, feminists, postmen and loonies to one question.  Who will get the votes?

So where do these delegates come from?

Most people assume that they come from each of the States of the Union, chosen in number, and weighted by the size and population of the state, to step forward and speak for that state in the way that the said state voted earlier in the year in those snow bound primaries and caucuses. 

Except, of course, it doesn’t work that way.  Rather than trusting the people (what a revolutionary thought that would be) the parties decided in their corruption to endow a certain number of wise figures to join our farmers and peasants, to aid and guide their way. 

They call them Super Delegates.

These wise grey heads are the ex Presidents, the sitting Senators and Representatives from Congress,  Governors of States, Members of the Democrat National Committee and other luminaries such as Labor Leaders.  And they get to vote whichever way they want.  They don’t even need to declare that vote early on, or even when their State does, and they can declare one way and vote another.

These ex Presidents and Senators, as we have seen so clearly in previous posts, are already over representative of the oligarchical class in the USA.  We have seen how members of these political families, even when they could not be elected, would sit on the National Committees and thereby say who was to be President.  Kingmakers all.  Their influence, I contend, is so strong and essentially pernicious that they can continue to use these Super Delegate votes to significantly affect the choice of the Nomination.

They number 20% of the total vote.  That’s one in five.  Feeling hard done by?  You should.

August is a good month to bury bad news.  And this weekend the attention of the nation was either on the Political Wedding of the Year, or on packing for that annual break.  So maybe you didn’t note that the Democrat National Committee quietly smothered a proposal to change the voting power of these Super Delegates and which would have required them to vote the way their States voted.

Instead it “recommended” that they should “dilute” their power by increasing the number of ordinary, plain, small, less important delegates.

James Roosevelt jr. (yep he is indeed the grandson of President Roosevelt) even had the audacity –the gall, the sheer effrontery – to opine as follows.  “The answer is “, he oiled, “what you are doing is creating two classes of delegates, people with the vote and people without the vote.   Clearly, the people at the grass roots level should be the predominant voice, but if you don’t give elected officials a real voice, they are basically second-class citizens”.

What?  Governors and Senators unhappy with their already exalted positions in the party and the Country actually want to take more power away from the people?  This is nonsense on stilts. Since when were these people ever second class citizens?   I bet these guys are just the sort to say how undemocratic the British House of Lords is.

Still, power is to be diluted from 20% to 15% so that is progress isn’t it?  No, sorry, not even slightly. 

Should we lurch back in time to the dark days of 1984 we would still find that Super Delegates had 14%  of the Nomination.  Yes, the sums still mean they will be up on the deal!

Only if we staggered back to 1972 would we find that there were no Super Delegates and the States managed fine without “help”.  Back in the halcyon days of good old Tricky Dicky we actually had a more democratic system of choosing the presidential candidates.

They might still over-rule, it might be saved at the August 19-20 meeting in St Louis.  But everyone’s on holiday, so don’t hold your breath.

The oligarchs have all sorts of dark hidden ways of keeping their clammy hands on the highest offices.  This has been just one.

The onward march of the common man it’s not.

Copyright David Macadam 2012