While the GOP is busy perpetuating a "racist, sexist, xenophobic demagogue" as their current frontrunner, the democrats -- if nothing more than by default -- continue to serve as their minority-friendly, gender-inclusive, progressive counterparts. We democrats like to think we're the party of common sense, the party of tolerance, the party of compassion. We aren't owned by big business or special interests and aren't swayed by fear mongering. Okay, what I'm trying to say is we're supposed to be the smart ones.
And yet, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, head of Hillary Clinton's campai-- I mean the Democratic National Committee, is giving us about as much autonomy as a 16-year-old girl whose dad is a retired Army officer.
First, we have a debate schedule that was so blatantly light and ill-timed that I wouldn't be surprised if more people actually saw Gigli in theaters than democratic candidates square off against one another. The DNC originally announced only six debates for the campaign season, compared to 26 at the same time during the 2008 campaign cycle. As it stood, fewer eyes would result in an edge for frontrunner Clinton over the less familiar Sanders. To be fair, the DNC has since sanctioned four more debates, to bring the total to ten, although unconfirmed sources have indicated that all four would air consecutively against the Super Bowl.
Next comes the issue of superdelegates. Despite that fact that Sanders won the New Hampshire primary by 20+ points, he and Clinton will walk away with the same number of delegates, thanks to Clinton's prior efforts in securing New Hampshire's six superdelegates, who are not bound by the popular vote but by old fashioned politicking. She accomplished this in very much that same way that contestants advance to the next round on Dancing with the Stars. Sure, you vote and those votes are tallied, and you as a proud American have done your due diligence and your voice was heard and freedom and liberty and patriotic buzzwords! But ultimately the producers decide who moves on to next week's show. So despite the fact that a quarter of a million people voted in the democratic primary in New Hampshire, those six superdelegates (half of whom are DNC members) can opt to support Hillary, thereby rendering New Hampshire a theoretical tie despite a more than 20-point margin of victory. Because America!
And most recently, DNC leadership has lifted a ban restricting PACs, lobbyists and other moneyed interests from contributing to the DNC; in other words, Wall Street can now siphon unlimited sums of money into the convention. You might remember Wall Street from such exciting events as the 2008 financial collapse and the epicenter of the greatest redistribution of wealth to the top 1 percent of Americans in history! The ban was enacted by President Obama who, after being elected in 2008, said that [political action committees and federal lobbyists] "will not fund my party. They will not run our White House. And they will not drown out the voice of the American people when I'm president of the United States of America." To which the DNC most recently replied, Yes [they] can!
But what makes the DNC's decision even more offensive and obtuse is the fact that a central and widely accepted platform of this entire election season is campaign finance reform, rejecting the use of corrupt money in politics, and overturning Citizens United. Ironically enough, the Citizens United case was born out of the conservative PAC's desire to broadcast TV ads criticizing, who else, but the 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Clinton has already set up a joint fundraising committee with the DNC, the Hillary Victory Fund, which has raised $26.9 million so far. In all fairness, FEC records show that Sanders, too, has a joint fundraising committee with the DNC. They've raised $1,000. The Sanders joint fundraising committee with the DNC could buy one iPhone 6S.
Mark Paustenbach, deputy communications director for the DNC, was quoted as saying, "The DNC's recent change in guidelines will ensure that we continue to have the resources and infrastructure in place to best support whoever emerges as our eventual nominee." I can only assume that he was wearing a t-shirt with Hillary's winky face screen printed onto it.
The fact is, like so many in the Democratic party, I am an undecided voter. And be it a blessing or a curse, living in California, I have about as much influence in this campaign right now as Lincoln Chafee had in the first debate. But, as an eventual participant in the primary process, I value my right to choose. What I don't value is being steamrolled by the DNC into having Clinton selected as my nominee by way of backroom politicking and granting special moneyed interests free reign of the political arena. In an election that is so obviously a referendum on the current lopsided economic situation in the country, why play such a narrow-minded short game as to render the Clinton campaign synonymous with the very corrupt system that we're trying to overcome?
Without any interference from the DNC, Clinton would hands-down be the frontrunner for the democratic nomination. Let's face it. She has the name recognition, the experience, [insert Clinton stump speech here]. But as Mrs. Wasserman Schultz and the DNC continue to try and hedge their bets, I would not be surprised if the democratic caucus fought back. That might even be to the tune of, say, a $6.4 million dollar injection into the Sanders campaign in a 24-hour period, as was the case after the NH primary. Even if it's $34 at a time, the lowly plebes -- or "Americans," a name they've taken a liking to -- can still make a difference.
The point is not whether I want to vote for Clinton or Sanders or Bloomberg or God damnit Lincoln Chafee. It's that I want to choose who I vote for. I mean, come on. We're supposed to be the smart ones.