Sunday, December 10, 2017

For Those Who Believe The Democratic Party Is Salvageable...


As you may-- or may not-- know, the DNC has been working to heal the wounds left from Wasserman Schultz's reign of terror, particularly over how she worked to undermine Bernie's campaign and rig the primaries for Hillary, making the party weak and un-unified and giving Trump more opportunities to gain ground. Over the weekend the 8 Bernie appointees to the Unity Reform Commission-- Our Revolution Board Chair Larry Cohen, Our Revolution President Nina Turner, Our Revolution Board members Lucy Flores, Jane Kleeb, and Jim Zogby, as well as former Berkeley Mayor Gus Newport, Jeff Weaver, and Nomiki Konst-- participated in the last of 5 meetings on how to reform the DNC. These were some of the top recommendations that came out of their work:
Reducing the number of unpledged, "superdelegates," in the presidential nominating process by 60 percent.
Electoral reforms and a process for rewarding states that have same day registration, same day party change, open primaries, other measures that increase civic participation
Commitment to re-evaluating allocation formulas so primary and caucus winners receive more pledged delegates
Commitment to reexamine the primary calendar, and offer incentives to states to ensure the calendar is appropriately spread out so voters in each state receive the necessary exposure to the candidates
Steps toward transparency and greater inclusion in Democratic National Committee spending including the creation of an Ombudsman Committee and strengthening the conflict of interest provision.
Larry Cohen, who served as Vice Chair of the Commission, reported that the "proposals, assuming adoption by the DNC in 2018, lead to a Democratic Party that would be a beacon in voting rights and transparency. Much of the attention of the Unity Reform Commission is on the Presidential nominating process, particularly the cut in unpledged superdelegates on the first ballot from 715 to less than 300. Just as important, the reforms mandated for party caucus and primary reform provide for same day registration and same day party registration. Similarly party leadership elections must be open and transparent rules for nominations and deadlines must be simple not controlled by insiders. In all of our recommendations we are saying to party officials in all states: This party must be inclusive in building membership and leadership-- no barriers."

Our old friend, Norman Solomon, one of the authors of the 2016 Autopsy, isn't as high on the Commission's work. He pointed out to the Real News Network that the chair of the commission is Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, a co-founder of Precision Strategies, a consulting firm that in the years 2015 and 2016 received more than half a million dollars from the Democratic Party. "Dillon, holding a gavel, oversaw a discussion about a series of proposals to basically cut back on what one Bernie Sanders supporter on the commission referred to as 'outright corruption of the Democratic Party,' involving consultants. So, the very measures that were aimed to eliminate financial conflicts of interest between the party and high-rolling consultants, those proposals were being overseen by a chairperson who had received a great deal of money, including in the four-month period between February and June of 2016, 230,000 dollars to the consultant firm that she co-founded. You look at the big picture, and you see that there’s a lot of money that keeps flowing to Clinton-aligned political consultants from the Democratic Party, and the majority on this commission clearly does not want to shake up that game, much less end it."
Keith Ellison is in a bind and a box, really, when he lost a close election nine months ago to be chair of the Democratic National Committee to Tom Perez. Then Perez immediately invited him to be deputy chair. In that role, Ellison is supposed to be a team player, but when it comes down to these nitty gritty power issues, he’s pretty much in a hamstrung position. So, we know that in 2016 at the national convention, 712 of the delegates were superdelegates. That’s 15 percent of the total. There’s a proposal on the table, and it looks like it’s now being recommended by the Unity Reform Commission, to cut that number back to perhaps about 250 or 300 superdelegates.

Just to sort of recap, superdelegates means that people get to vote for the nominee for president at the national convention without any accountability or relationship to what voters or caucus members have voted for. A good example is that 11 weeks before a single vote was cast in a caucus or primary in the Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton battle, Hillary Clinton had already lined up half of all the superdelegates. It’s as though in a race, the starting gun goes off and immediately one of the candidates, one of the people in the race in an instant is far ahead of the other.

That’s the way the corporate forces like it. Naturally, the superdelegates being made up largely of members of Congress who are Democrats, Democratic governors, not that there are many of those anymore, others who are on the Democratic National Committee, including a lot of lobbyists and elite insiders. They love being able to put their money down literally and figuratively with endorsement quickly for their preferred candidate. It puts them ahead as media frontrunner immediately. They’re part of the delegate count as superdelegate and also gives enormous fundraising advantage. It likes to or is aimed to put forward the image that perception as reality idea that hey, there’s a frontrunner. There’s a sort of inevitability.

Another way to put it is the superdelegate battle is the question of whether corporate power in the party is going to continue to dominate. As we say in the Autopsy report, “Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis,” it’s really not possible for the leaders at the national level of the Democratic Party to have a close working relationship with the base when it’s afraid of the base. I think what’s happened here at this final meeting of the Unity Reform Commission is a further indication that those in control of the DNC by a small but significant margin are afraid of the grass-roots. They did everything they could for this ostensibly open meeting to prevent access by the public to even show up at the meeting.

...[M]ore than half, and we saw this on a number of votes today, more than half of the commission is composed of people who, when push comes to shove, when the chips fall, they make the chips fall in a way that protects corporate interests that prevent transparency or accountability about the hundreds of millions of dollars that are spent by the Democratic Party. It reminds me of something that Bernie Sanders said more than six months ago in speaking to a reporter from The New York Times Magazine when he put it this way, there are people in the Democratic Party who don’t mind being on the Titanic as long as they have a first-class cabin.

There are vested interests, both personal interests of lucrative contracts and power and so forth in and in relation to the DNC as well as the big Wall Street and big bank firms and so forth. And they want their party. It’s sort of a tacit division of labor. There’s an unspoken sense that yeah, you have African Americans and Latinos and lower, working class people. You want them to turn out and vote but when it comes to the policies, those policies that will be pursued by the Democratic Party are largely circumscribed by the donor class.

So, it’s talk about you support the working class. Have the ship steered by the donor class, by Wall Street. This is so corrosive because when you get real about politics and power and the future of the country, there is no way to split the difference and say we’re going to help the big bankers. We’re going to help the multimillionaires and billionaires and we’re going to help the working class. This Democratic Party has a split identity. There’s the rhetoric that says we’re for the working people. There’s the overarching policy and control the DNC that’s vested in those who feel a direct kinship, a connection with and often are of the banker and donor and Wall Street class. That’s a part of the battle that I think is being fought and must be fought.

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At 1:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How like the "real" corporate media! A Hopeful headline, followed by the ugly and opposite reality that nothing is going to change. Orwell would immediately recognize the situation for what it is - control of the proles.

At 4:59 AM, Blogger Garry Gentry said...

I have to believe it is worth a try. If the people flooded their local Democratic County Parties and basically took them over and push from the ground up I believe we could reshape the Party. It would not happen but people are angry and energized right now and see the damage being done. I think if people did that versus playing around on FB and thinking their comments are going to change the world we could succeed,

At 6:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:00 is correct. I, for one (but the number continues to mushroom), am now more convinced than ever that it is not salvageable.

This has the same stench to it as the 2009 congress' pretense in passing "health care reform" where SP and PO were refused and it became a corporate welfare bill wherein insurance and phrma were subsidized but premia, copays and all other forms (current and yet to be dreamed) of out-of-pocket expenses are unencumbered. Just another tax that is not called a tax on the middle class and, most damaging, the poor.

Any DNC that has ANY corporate and lobbyist influence is one that nobody should support.

Garry is a fool. It's been proven for the past 35 years that you cannot both reshape from the ground up AND tolerate the total corruption from the top down. The money always wins. But at least you are correct that comments on FB and DWT won't change it. Voters have to change it by refusing to support it.

For 35 years and counting, voters have refused to insist on a democratic party that represents THEM rather than the money.

If the party were not totally corrupt, everyone would have health CARE (insurance would be a meme from history), 1200 bankers would be in prison, 300 torturers would be in prison, TBTFs would have been broken up and many would be defunct (Wells Fargo), voting would be fair and verifiable everywhere, Bernie would be the president and the Ds would have a permanent majority in congress, trump would be in asylum in Russia, and so on and on...

The DNC is making sure this never happens.

At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, it all seems like shit-colored lipstick on a shit-covered pig. We already know that the corporations dominate the committee membership. Their number of superdelegates was clearly overkill, so reducing it to 300 or whatever is still plenty of insurance against a popular insurgency. And there will always be room in the committee for corporations' lobbyists and board members.

Anyone who looks at this as salvageable is a fool.


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