Posted by: Bruce Allen | March 17, 2008

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

The Democratic Party, by virtue of a heritage stained with chicanery, backroom deals, and political incest, is poised to lose the election this fall, despite the unpopularity of the President and the efforts of Mr. McCain to ally himself with Bush and his failed programs.  If there were ever a year where the Democrats had an open field to regain the presidency, 2008 is the year.  Accordingly, the party has placed itself in a position to alienate a good number of its own members and virtually every independent in the country.  Here’s how.

The rules governing the party’s nominating and delegate counting process are a dog’s breakfast.  Completely opaque to the everyday citizen.  Arcane.  Super delegates, indeed.  The whole thing reeks of the aforementioned backroom deals.  Add to this the “disgracious” behavior of the Michigan DP and Florida DP in moving their primaries ahead, in clear violation of national party rules.  The odor sure to emanate from a brokered convention will send every independent in the country out to campaign for McCain, warts and all, and a number of “party faithful” to abstain in the general election.  Both Obama and  Clinton will be at risk.

Nothing can be done to save the Democrats this year.  But going forward, the party of Howard Dean needs to jettison the political BS and simplify the process.  Whichever candidate arrives at the convention with the majority of delegates wins.  Period.  If a state delegation forfeits its right to be seated at the convention, it’s delegate count is subtracted from the total (currently 4048), resulting in a new “clinch” number.  Were this to be done this year, the combined 367 delegates in Florida and Michigan would be deducted from the 4048 number, leaving 3681.  A majority of these would amount to 1841.  This, in fact, should be the number required to nominate in 2008.

I’ve been a Democrat my entire voting life.  I was looking forward to this year’s election as an opportunity to hit back after 8 years of obstinate, wrongheaded, Hardingesque leadership.  I would be happy with either Clinton or Obama.  But if the Democratic convention devolves into an auction, with IOU’s and big political markers flying around a smoke-filled room, a lot of people are going to be turned off.

I worry about what four or eight more years of Republican stewardship will do to this country.  In a presidential election year that should be a gimme, the only thing that can save the Republicans is the Democrats.

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