Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Fowl Return, Make Nest

Afters years of preaching a certain kind of "fairness", the Democratic Party faithful have seen the results. Barack Obama, whose name was not on the ballot in Michigan, was awarded 46% of that State's delegates to the Democratic National Convention, by the convention's Rules and Bylaws Committee. The committee decided that the results of the Florida election should stand, but that the delegates for each State would get half a vote at the national convention.

It was almost justice. It was almost the right decision. But in attempting to achieve fairness, the committee forgot to be fair to the voters. They also acceded to the threats of violence by Obama supporters should the Party "steal" the election from him.

At the root of the problem is the Fallacy of the Golden Mean: if two people disagree, then the truth is somewhere between what each says. But that is clearly not always the case; sometimes people are just wrong.

Fairness, likewise, has come to mean the absence of unpleasant consequences. But justice demands that we receive the consequences of our actions.

The Democratic Party has a means for making the difficult decision over which of their candidates should be their nominee. It's the nominating convention. The process leading up to the convention is not supposed to be manipulated, though no one with an ounce of sense would suppose it not to be manipulated. On Saturday we saw just such manipulation.

Rather than allowing the Florida and Michigan results to stand as the voters cast their ballots, the committee shifted votes around in an attempt to achieve consensus ahead of the convention and avoid violence in the streets. Hillary supporters were deemed less prone to tantrum, it seems.

It is doubtful that the shifting reflects the will of the voters in Michigan and Florida. But it should never have been done at all.

Because the primary process is supposed to win delegates for each candidate, who then go to the convention pledged to that candidate. Candidates are free to drop out and pledge their delegates to another, but those pledges are not binding on the delegates at the convention. After the first round, none of the pledged delegates are bound to the candidates at all, in fact. In subsequent rounds, all of the backroom deals and politicking can be made and delegate votes cast in full accordance with both rules and fairness. Eventually, consensus develops.

But by shifting delegates from one candidate to another, and from "uncommitted" to the front runner, the Democratic party has shown itself to be undemocratic, unjust, unfair, and unable to perform the most basic duty to which it is assigned: picking a nominee.

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1 comment:

David M said...

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