A Philosopher's Blog

Nominations & Democracy

Posted in Politics by Michael LaBossiere on April 27, 2016

As the United States continues its ultra-marathon campaign season, the pundits speak relentlessly about the possibility of a brokered Republican convention and the inevitably victory of Hillary Clinton.

The Republican establishment is not at all pleased that Donald Trump has become the populist candidate. They wail because has harvested what they sowed and insist the wheat should go to the elite of their choice. The people should, as always, get the shaft. I mean, of course, the chaff. The current plan of the elite is for Cruz and Kasich to deny Trump the number of delegates he needs to secure the nomination and then have a desirable candidate selected at the convention. Trump has been expressing his dismay at this plan and his supporters have shared his orange rage.  Thus, Trump will almost certainly arrive at the convention with significantly more delegates than his rivals, yet he might lose the nomination because of the way the rules work.

In the case of Bernie Sanders, the Democratic establishment has anointed Hillary Clinton as the once and future candidate. As some critics have noted, many in the media have joined in the chorus and stick to the script which says that while Bernie has not been locked out, he has no chance at all of winning. Bernie supporters point to what they regard as the chicanery of the super-delegate system and are not pleased with the way the primary process works.

While Bernie is losing to Hillary, there is the concern that her winning is due to the rules of the party and not her popularity with the voters. As such, the populists are facing similar plights: they face being blocked by the rules of the parties which rule America.

The populists have raised a rather reasonable objection against the way the system works: the candidate with the most votes should become the nominee for the party. That is, as Trump points out, the way democracy is supposed to work.

Trump is right, but also wrong. He is right that the process should be democratic in a democracy. Otherwise, there is a mere half-democracy in which people can vote for anyone, provided that person is put forth by the ruling parties. As one of my undergraduate political science professors used to point out, the difference between the old Soviet system and the American system was one party—they had one, we have two.

Trump is wrong in that the parties are not democratic systems. That is, they are not part of the government and are, in fact, private organizations like corporations and unions. As such, they are free to make their own rules in regards to how the candidates are selected. Trump might well think that the parties are supposed to work like a democratic system—after all, the primaries do involve voting via the official voting machinery of the state. However, this is like having Exxon or GE decided to conduct its election process through the state—they could presumably make that happen, yet can obviously set their own rules and determine the outcome as they wish.

The parties do, of course, prefer to claim that they are following the will of the people and certainly want to avoid the appearance that the elections are actually settled in backroom deals. However, the parties remain private organizations and those that control the party decided how the process will work. If a party does break its rules, a candidate could presumably sue (one of Trump’s favorite past times)—but as long as the rules are properly followed, the only recourse of a candidate would be to appeal to the people.

When Hillary is crowned the candidate for the Democrats, I suspect Sanders will stand beside her throne. Trump, however, would be king by his own hand—if he is “robbed” of the nomination, he might decide to run on his own. This would be ideal for Hillary—her victory would be assured.

 

My Amazon Author Page

My Paizo Page

My DriveThru RPG Page

Follow Me on Twitter

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. TJB said, on April 27, 2016 at 8:54 am

    “When Hillary is crowned the candidate for the Democrats, I suspect Sanders will stand beside her throne.”

    Not clear. Bernie is a man of principle. In any case he has never really been a Democrat, but was an independent who caucused with the Democratic party.

  2. TJB said, on April 27, 2016 at 8:54 am

    “When Hillary is crowned the candidate for the Democrats, I suspect Sanders will stand beside her throne.”

    Not clear. Bernie is a man of principle. In any case he has never really been a Democrat, but is an independent who caucused with the Democratic party.

  3. ajmacdonaldjr said, on April 27, 2016 at 9:44 am

    04/25/2016 POLITICO: PLAYBOOK CRYSTAL BALL: Behind the scenes, most top Republicans – in Congress, on K Street and beyond – assume a President Hillary Clinton.

  4. nailheadtom said, on April 29, 2016 at 9:39 am

    The idea that a harridan like Mrs. Bill Clinton can be the elected leader of the most powerful country in the world is a complete indictment of the democratic/republic process. We’re seeing a replay of the decline and fall of the Roman empire. Who will be the counterpart of Caligula or Caracalla?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: