Thursday, February 7, 2008

Struggling to understand... the Democrats

Ok, I'm just going to start by saying this: I have never voted for a Democratic Presidential candidate in my life. (Incidentally, that also meant that for the first two Presidential elections I voted in, my guy lost.) 

This year, barring some unforseen circumstance, I will vote Democratic.

Actually, let me clarify... if Barack Obama is the candidate, I'll definitely vote Democratic. If it's Hillary Clinton, I might be like a child kicking and screaming as I go in to vote... but I'll likely still do it. That is, if the election were tomorrow, this is how I'd vote. There's still a lot of time until November and I have a lot more learning to do before then. John McCain could still convince me. Maybe.

One of the things I am learning more about is the Democratic nominating process. I guess I haven't paid much attention to it before. I just wasn't interested because the only other Democrat who even piqued my interest was John Edwards and he's never made it far enough in the primaries to follow that closely. I also live in Illinois, where the primary used to be much later and virtually useless in the political scheme of things. Plus, we do not have an open primary and many years I've found it easier to skip voting as my own form of protest than to actually go in and pick a side. (For the record, I struggled with that this year too, but in the end decided the stakes were too high not to participate somehow. Our system forced me to choose who I thought needed my vote the most, not just who I wanted to vote for. Messed Up.)

But I am digressing, as usual. Here is my point: I am completely dumbfounded to learn about these so-called "Super Delegates" and the prominent role they will play in determining this year's Democratic nominee.

The party that is still crying foul over the 2000 "stolen" election in which Al Gore won the popular vote but lost in the electoral college now gives us a system that is even more backwards and open to corruption. This year, roughly 800 super delegates will likely have the deciding vote. But wait, this is the Democratic party... champion of the poor and underserved... party of the people. So these super delegates must be ordinary folk, representing you and me, right?

No! They are big name Democrats like... Clinton (ugh) and other former Presidents, Vice-Presidents, and congressmen. People who have undoubtedly donated large sums of money over the years and are being rewarded with these super powers to pick the next President. (Which is another argument, I realize... but at this point I think the good money is on the Democrats to win this election, even if they nominate Bozo the Clown.)

I am finding this pretty hypocritical. How is this system any different or better than the electoral college anyway? It seems to me that it's even worse. I've skipped voting in the primary before, but this is the first time I've actually voted and felt like my vote didn't really matter.

It is entirely possible that Barack Obama will win the popular vote through the primaries, but still lose the nomination. Sound familiar? Where is Al Gore now? What does he think about that?

I'm also noticing how many high-profile wealthy people are Democrats. Did you see that last debate in Los Angeles? It was like the Oscars, not a debate. Which is fine. But it seems I hear so much whining about the Republicans only looking out for their rich friends. Newsflash: Jason Alexander and Steven Spielberg aren't exactly in *my* tax bracket. Somehow I doubt they've had to cut their monthly grocery budget to buy gas for their car or leave the A/C off all summer to make up for the winter's outrageous heating bills. Just a guess. I just think it's unfair that the Republicans are the only ones to get painted with that brush, that's all.

I'm not all doom and gloom on the Democrats. I think we have reached a very exciting time in the history of our country's politics, and I credit a lot of that to what is happening in the Democratic party right now. It's the first time in my lifetime that I've felt enthused and inspired by a Presidential candidate, and optimistic about the future. I don't feel things are the "same old, same old" except of course, for who's deciding who we get to vote for. But once those wealthy, powerful people decide who's going to run it's all up to you and me.

Power to the people, man.

1 comment:

Maria said...

I heard on NPR someone say they were not going to vote, because they felt like their vote didn't matter.

Of course the women they had on saying that only a man should ever be president, and that women are here to serve men.

Both broke my heart...