Last night, Associated Press – on a day when nobody voted – surprised everyone by abruptly declaring the Democratic Party primary over and Hillary Clinton the victor. The decree, issued the night before the California primary in which polls show Clinton and Bernie Sanders in a very close race, was based on the media organization’s survey of “superdelegates”: the Democratic Party’s 720 insiders, corporate donors and officials whose votes for the presidential nominee count the same as the actually elected delegates. AP claims that superdelegates who had not previously announced their intentions privately told AP reporters that they intend to vote for Clinton, bringing her over the threshold. AP is concealing the identity of the decisive superdelegates who said this.
This is the perfect symbolic ending to the Democratic Party primary: The nomination is consecrated by a media organization, on a day when nobody voted, based on secret discussions with anonymous establishment insiders and donors whose identities the media organization – incredibly – conceals. The decisive edifice of superdelegates is itself anti-democratic and inherently corrupt: designed to prevent actual voters from making choices that the party establishment dislikes. But for a party run by insiders and funded by corporate interests, it’s only fitting that their nomination process ends with such an ignominious, awkward and undemocratic sputter.
That the Democratic Party nominating process is declared to be over in such an uninspiring, secretive, and elite-driven manner is perfectly symbolic of what the party, and its likely nominee, actually is. The one positive aspect, though significant, is symbolic, while the actual substance – rallying behind a Wall-Street-funded, status-quo-perpetuating, multi-millionaire militarist – is grim in the extreme. The Democratic Party got exactly the ending it deserved.
– Glenn Greenwald, writing at The Intercept
Last night, the American public witnessed the most egregious example of mainstream media malpractice of my lifetime. By declaring Hillary Clinton the Democratic nominee based on the pledges of superdelegates who have not voted, and will not vote until the convention on July 25th, the Associated Press performed a huge disservice to American democracy on the eve of a major primary day, in which voters from the most populous state in the union (amongst others) head to the polls. If you are a U.S. citizen and you aren’t outraged by this, there’s something seriously wrong with you.
In this post, I have three objectives. First, I will set the stage by explaining how incredibly sleazy the move by the AP was. Second, I will outline the preposterous and unjustifiable nature of having superdelegates in the first place. Third, I will attempt to convince all true Bernie Sanders supporters to commit themselves to never supporting Hillary Clinton. Let’s get started.
1. Journalistic Malpractice
Let’s start with the Associated Press, which I have lost every single ounce of respect for. The “news” organization is now the most discredited entity in journalism as an result of what it did. Some are excusing its betrayal of the public as merely “trying to get a scoop” and call the race over before the other networks on Tuesday night. Personally, I think that’s only a small factor in what happened.
I’ve noticed for months now, that the AP from the very beginning was including super delegates in a way that was intentionally misleading. For example, this is how the graphics to their “delegate tracker” appear:
Notice that the big, bold numbers to the left representing the total, includes superdelegates who have not yet voted. There can be absolutely no doubt that the AP is being intentionally misleading by doing this, and is committing journalistic malpractice. How can I be so sure? Let’s take a look at this video clip from CNN aired earlier this year.
As you saw, Luis Miranda, the Communications Director at the Democratic National Committee, specifically told Jake Tapper that it is wrong to include superdelegates in the tally total for the Democratic primary. There can be no other interpretation. He said:
“Any night that you have a primary or caucus, and the media lumps the superdelegates in—that they basically polled by calling them up and saying who are you supporting—they don’t vote until the convention. And so, they shouldn’t be included in any count.”
Yet the AP and other media continued to do so. Why? It’s just blatant bias from the ostensibly neutral mainstream media for the status quo candidate Hillary Clinton.
That should be enough to turn the U.S. population away from these organizations forever. Yet there’s more. In calling the nomination for Hillary, the Associated Press had to get commitments from a few more super delegates. They achieved that feat yesterday evening (mind you, they still haven’t actually voted), and they kept the names anonymous. Yes, you read that right.
Of course, it wasn’t just the AP, it was virtually all mainstream media proclaiming the same thing in a unified chorus. Indeed, they seemed to relish in it. Particularly inexcusable was reporting from the LA Times. As Wall Street on Parade noted:
Particularly outrageous was the unethical conduct of the largest newspapers in California, where 1.5 million new voters have registered since January 1. California is an open primary, meaning Independents can vote. That fact, together with the massive new voter registrations and the tens of thousands who have turned out for Sanders’ rallies, was signaling a potential upset for Clinton in the state. That would not only be embarrassing but could lead to defections among the superdelegates prior to the Convention in July.
The Los Angeles Times, which calls itself “the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country, with a daily readership of 1.4 million,” was one of the most egregious in their reporting. After running the headline “Hillary Clinton Clinches Nomination in a Historic First,” it then ran an article that asked in the headline: “After AP calls nomination for Clinton, will voters still turn out Tuesday?”
This is a paper that’s supposed to represent and inform Californians. There’s only one word that comes to mind: disgusting.
So let’s recap. The Associated Press and virtually all other mainstream media declared Hillary Clinton the winner of the Democratic primary on the eve of a huge voting day with 694 pledged delegates at stake. They declared her the winner on a day in which no American primaries or caucuses were held, and via word of mouth from a handful of anonymous superdelegates. I don’t know what to call that, but it’s certainly not journalism.
2. Superdelegates as a Concept is Preposterous
I’ve read all the arguments and spin and there’s simply no reasonable justification for having superdelegates other than to manipulate the voting public via “delegate tracker” graphics such as what is used by the AP in order to always show Hillary Clinton with a big lead irrespective what’s actually happening on the ground. While Clinton has certainly won more pledged delegates thus far, the voting public has been intentionally manipulated from day one via the use of superdelegates.
As the Sanders campaign pointed out last night:
Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination. She will be dependent on superdelegates who do not vote until July 25 and who can change their minds between now and then. They include more than 400 superdelegates, who endorsed Secretary Clinton 10 months before the first caucuses and primaries and long before any other candidate was in the race.
Think about that for a second. 400 superdelegates pledged their loyalty to Hillary 10 months before any voters had a chance to make their opinions heard. These superdelegates have not switched based on the desires of the voters in their states, and their early loyalty oaths allowed the media to manipulate the public from day one by including these lopsided figures.
How lopsided are they? With a vast majority of the primaries completed, here’s the math.
Anyone else see a problem with that? While Clinton still has a comfortable lead in pledged delegates, she is slaughtering him in superdelegates. We can draw two important conclusions from this reality.
- Superdelegates do not proportionately represent the will of the voters.
- Superdelegates exist solely to manipulate voters through the media. Something that has happened consistently throughout the primary.
The fact that superdelegates exist solely to manipulate voters should be perfectly clear at this point. Proof of this can be seen in the incomprehensible answer DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz gave to why they exists:
Have you ever heard a bigger bunch of mumbo jumbo in your life? It’s pure nonsense. There is absolutely no good reason for superdelegates.
Equally interesting, is a question posed by Jeff Kurzon, a Democrat running for a Congressional district in New York City. He wonders whether the concept is even legal in a recent post:
As it turns out, as my lawyer, Josh Douglass, and I have discovered, the entire concept of super-delegates is in violation of the Party’s own charter. That the Democratic Party is even using super-delegates, is a clear breach of contract. It is also a violation of our constitutional rights, including the 14th Amendment of Equal Protection (our vote should hold just as much weight as a super-delegate’s!).
Last week, I instructed Mr. Douglass to sue both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the New York State Democratic Committee, on my behalf, over their use of super-delegates. We have requested a preliminary injunction which would cause the DNC to honor the average voter’s preference of POTUS nominee by having the super delegate votes be diminished to being proportional and in keeping with the preference of the primary voters. This would stop the DNC from permitting the super delegates from carrying Hillary over the finish line.
Very interesting indeed.
3. Bernie Sanders Supporters Should Not Support or Vote for Hillary Clinton
This section is for true Bernie Sanders supporters, not for Democrats who like them both. If you can like both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton I simply cannot help you.
The main reason a Bernie Sanders supporter should never support or vote for Hillary Clinton is that there’s really no similarity between the two candidates when it comes to the substantive issues facing America in 2016. They are on drastically different pages on issues of militarism, Wall Street criminality, trade and civil liberties. For more, see links at the end of this post.
No matter what Hillary Clinton says today, the moment she gets into office she’ll do the opposite. This is particularly true of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. If you think for one moment she will not push aggressively for its passage once in office you are either the most naive person on earth, or simply not paying attention. See:
Moreover, Clinton surrogates constantly talk down to Sanders supporters as if they are miscreant children who need to be disciplined. Here are just a couple of recent examples from The Hill:
Democrats appear ready to bring the curtain down on the tumultuous primary struggle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — irrespective of the results Tuesday in California’s primary.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest signaled at Monday’s regular media briefing that President Obama is on board with the Clinton team’s argument that the battle for the presidential nomination is as good as over.
“We’re going to give Democratic voters the opportunity to weigh in. But certainly somebody who claims a majority of the pledged and superdelegates, you know, has a strong case to make,” Earnest said.
How generous of you Mr. Earnest, you call the nomination battle over, but then throw some meager crumbs to the irrelevant peasant voters of California. Pure class.
Or what about this one.
“The people have spoken,” said Eric Jotkoff, who served as an aide on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. “Even before tomorrow, she already has 3 million more votes more than Bernie Sanders. I get it. It’s never fun to lose. But at some point, the crowd leaves the stadium, the band stops playing and it’s over.”
Well actually only some of the people have spoken. 694 delegates are still up for grabs today Mr. Jotkoff. The man is dripping with condescension.
Finally, I want to conclude with the most important reason of all not to vote for Hillary Clinton come November. If you do, you will be rubber-stamping everything the Democratic Party and the mainstream media has done during this election cycle. Voting for Hillary Clinton will send a message to the Democratic Party that change is unnecessary. That the status quo can kick you, spit on you and laugh in your face for months straight and get away with it.
Donald Trump is not your problem. Of course, Sanders supporters cannot actually consider voting for the man, but don’t let anyone tell you a vote for a third-party candidate or no vote at all is a “vote for Donald Trump.” The fault is not yours if Trump gets elected. The fault lies with the DNC and the media.
Independent Sanders supporters should be especially outraged. Despite independents comprising 43% of the electorate, many of them were given no opportunity to vote in the primaries. New York state presented a particularly egregious example, as I explained in the post, Hillary Clinton Will Win New York, Because New York is Running a Banana Republic Primary:
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ll know that New Yorkers go to the primary voting booths on April 19th. Unfortunately, only a small sliver of the population will actually be able to vote. First, it’s a closed primary, so you have to be registered as a member of one of the two corrupt political parties in order to participate. As the Guardian recently reported, 27% of New York state’s active voters were not registered in either party as of April 2016, meaning these people will have no say in the primary. Even worse, what about all those residents who aren’t active voters, but would very likely vote in this particular election given the increased turnout seen in other states? They’re iced out as well.
New York has one of the most archaic primaries in the nation. Not only is it one of only 11 states with closed primaries, but if you are a registered voter who wanted to change your party affiliation in order to vote in next week’s primary, you would’ve had to do it by last October. In contrast, if you weren’t yet a registered voter you had until March 25th to register under one of the two parties in order to vote in the primary. So if you live in New York and haven’t registered by now, you can’t vote.
Most importantly, all Sanders supporters need to understand that if you sacrifice your principles and shift to Clinton just to defeat Trump, you have psychologically taken yourself out of the real fight to come. By supporting her to defeat someone who you think is worse you are harming yourself and your ability to think clearly and engage in activism going forward. The best advice I can give anyone is to vote third party or sit this charade out. As such you’ll remain engaged in the real fight, and fully prepared to act as much needed resistance to whichever authoritarian is elected, Trump or Clinton.
For related articles, see: