Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Nevada's Unlearned Lesson for Hillary Dems

Barney Frank recently implied Bernie Sanders' supporters were responsible for Washington gridlock because they are low information voters. He suggested that the real problem in Washington is that Sanders' people don't understand how the system works and aren't participating in it.

Recent events would seem to pretty much prove he has everything

It's certainly true that certain Democrats' unwillingness to participate in mid-term elections is central to the odious political failures that pretty much defines their party these days. Laying that on Bernie Supporters, though, is absurd.

Never mind that so many of Sanders' supporters are independents whom one ought not reasonably expect to support Democrats, mid-term election or otherwise. The real absurdity of this assertion lies in the establishment candidate's recent upset in Nevada.

In the Nevada Caucus popular votes are calculated to assign delegates who are tasked to cast their actual votes at a state convention. In 1776, when news traveled at the speed of a trotting horse, this was a reasonable and necessary process. In an age of instant communications, it is an absurdity. Still, both parties cling to this "tradition".

There are a number of excuses for this offered by party bosses, but there is only one real reason.

Both parties work hard to rig their elections in favor of candidates preferred by the party bosses. State conventions help serve this purpose.

For this election the favored Democratic candidate is Hillary Clinton, while the preferred Republican candidate was Paul Ryan (although even if they can force the GOP primary result to a  national convention they may need to settle for Ted Cruz).

The parties assume that many grassroots "upstart" candidates will elect "low information" delegates who don't understand the importance of attending the state conventions. The assumption is that low-information delegates will think of the convention as an unnecessary formality and not show up, and this will give establishment candidates (who will presumably field delegates who understand and participate in the party process) an edge.

That's exactly what happened in Nevada, but it didn't work out the way the Dem party bosses had hoped.

Hillary won the primary in Nevada by 5 points. Based on these results both camps selected delegates to be dispatched to the state convention to cast their votes for a final tally, and this is when things went all wonky for the DNC.

Hundreds of Clinton delegates didn't show up to the convention.

When the delegate votes were tallied, Bernie Sanders had won the state.

I'm not even going to talk about the shady things the DNC did to try to keep the state when they realized what was happening. That's a discussion for another time.

What REALLY matters here is what it says about the DNC and their "presumptive" nominee. It's a bitter pill that the DNC has so far been unable to swallow. The events in Nevada are indisputable, though.

The low-information voters that Barney Frank is complaining about... The Democrats who don't follow through and fail to participate in the process when it really matters, are NOT Sanders supporters. The low information voters, the ones who stay home when it's time to vote, are the ones flocking to Hillary Clinton.