Then There Were Three

When the 2016 Presidential primary season kicked off, I was equally apathetic about the Democratic choices and equally appalled by the Republican ones. The only thing I was certain of was that whoever survived the Democratic race would have my vote, because the clown car carrying the Republican Party's potential nominees was stuffed to overflowing with a collection of buffoons, morons, idiots, blowhards, and religious zealots. In other words, the party I once was a loyal member of had once again presented me with no sane options to vote for, as they have repeatedly done for ages now. As far as whether I felt any special feelings towards Clinton or Sanders? No, I did not. Not my party, let them sort out which one they like, and I'll show up and vote for them.

In fact, I had equally good feelings about both Sanders and Clinton … and equally bad feelings. While I respected Sanders for having an ideology and walking his own path without seemingly wavering, it is an ideology that is exceedingly far left of my own fiscally conservative and socially liberal outlook on things. Clinton, on the other hand, says things I can agree with, and I know she is fully capable of running the government, but ugh … I just don't like her. It's not even that really. It's that after 25+ years of hearing this, that, and some other thing about one or the other Clinton pretty much nonstop, I'm sick to death of hearing the name Clinton. But like I said, whichever of them found their way to the general election ballot would have my vote, because none of the Republican options needed to be anywhere near the Oval Office unless they were visiting on a guided tour.

And so I didn't pay any attention to the primary brouhaha. This was easy to do since we no longer have cable television, and I had many other more personal and pressing matters to give a damn about. But sometime around the New York primary, I thought I should check in and see how things were going. I really wish I hadn't. I wish I would have gone on ignoring it all until November, because once I opened the Pandora's Box, there was no closing it. I'm a political junkie. I can't help myself once I get a taste.

So I have watched as Republicans marched into polling stations to vote for Trump, proving just how stupid, hateful, closed minded, and bigoted that party has become. Back before the Internet was a thing that existed, I began to lose faith in the Republican Party, which eventually lead to me no longer giving them my time, money, or attention, and I predicted then (and have continued to predict) that their ever rightward sliding would eventually lead to a complete nutcase being nominated for President. I'd envisioned someone more like Ted Cruz, but Donald Trump is, I believe, the perfect candidate for the current Republican Party. The ultimate panderer who will say whatever he has to say to the people in the room with him to make them like him, even if it's the exact opposite of what he said two hours ago. This is the end result of decades of the GOP doing more pandering to special interest groups and the far rightwing crazies than standing up and fighting for things they actually believe.

I watched as Clinton gained her footing, found her focus, and garnered votes while batting away the piles of poo being flung by all the usual suspects. As I listened to what she had to say, I discovered I don't dislike her as much as I thought, and occasionally I found myself excited about the idea of voting for her. I've voted for a great many people who didn't especially excite me and who I didn't especially like. I don't have to like them, I just have to have faith they'll keep the train on the tracks and not kill us all. I'm confident Clinton will keep America rolling in a generally good direction, and we agree more than we disagree. I guess what I'm saying is I wouldn't have to roll my eyes or hold my nose to vote for her.

Then I turned my eyes to Sanders. As I listened to him speak and read his interviews, he annoyed me, not because I didn't agree with much of what he had to say about his big plans for America but because something felt “off”. Since I didn't really know much about Sanders, I started digging into his past. At some point during my journey backwards through this life, the warning bells that go off in my brain when I am exposed to far rightwing craziness began clanging loudly. I discovered that Sanders is a far left crazy. He is an example of the other side of the far right crazy coin, and just like Trump, he's a narcissistic, egocentric, “the rules don't apply to me”, win at all costs politician with a good helping of sexism lurking beneath the surface. But I told myself that people change over time, and maybe the Sanders of now wasn't like the Sanders of back then, and as Clinton pulled further ahead, I was sure he would eventually come around to helping her pull the party together to kick Donald Trump's butt in the general election.

Well, I feel stupid for not listening to my gut reaction and giving him the benefit of a doubt. So convinced of his own righteousness, he is determined he must be the Democratic nominee, even if it means burning everything to the ground and handing Trump the Oval Office.

Mr. Sanders, however, insists that the convention will be contested because he is still lobbying superdelegates — party officials and state leaders who cast their final votes at the convention — to withdraw support from Mrs. Clinton and back him instead. He plans to make the case that he is a stronger candidate against Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee. A number of polls, he said, show he can beat Mr. Trump by larger margins than Mrs. Clinton can.

So Sanders would have the super delegates overturn the will of the millions more people who voted for Clinton than voted for him because polls say he has a better chance to win? Well, isn't that special. How arrogant and egotistical and disrespectful of the democratic process and the voters who have taken part in it. I am appalled and disgusted. Any hope that I might regain some measure of respect for him and his ideas is lost forever. I would now prefer he not be elected to any office anywhere ever again. If he believes the will of voters should be overturned on the basis of numbers churned out by pollsters, he isn't worthy of being called a statesman. I'm not even sure someone who believes such a thing should be called American.

11 thoughts on “Then There Were Three

  1. Isn’t that what the superdelegates are for?

    More questioning why they’re a thing than his choice to continue.

  2. First a brief history: A long time ago, the candidates were selected by party leaders. This caused some problems, so they decided primaries/caucuses were the way to go, but … “The Party” then lost its voice and power in the matter, and that also wasn’t seen as good. Super delegates became a thing.

    They are a way for “The Party” to have a say in who represents said party in the general election. The very few times their votes have really mattered were in cases when the popular vote or pledged delegate count was so close as to be a tie. While it is in their power to chose to support anyone, they haven’t historically voted in opposition to whoever it was that won the primary race, and while this year isn’t a good case for them doing so, I can see how they might have someone like, say, a crazy Donald Trump type win the primaries, and they could stop him cold if they wanted to do so.

    I’m opposed to them. Hell, I’m actually opposed to open party primaries where any voter can vote in any party’s primary election. I think if you want to take part in party politics, you should at least have to join said party. Open primaries lead to cross party voting which can actually skew things one way or the other. I’d be fine with super delegates going away, but I doubt they ever will, because “The Party” wants to feel like they have some say in the matter.

    It’s really, really hypocritical of Sanders though, to rail against the “corruption” of super delegates for his entire run, and then demand they support him when he has obviously not come close to even tying Clinton. In fact, all he has done is call the Democratic Party corrupt, evil, and complain about the “rigged” system, which makes me wonder why he decided to join the party and run as one.

    I’ll just be glad when it’s all over. Unless Trump wins. Then it’s going to be at least four years of awful.

    • None for voters. A least not here in Texas. Party membership is a pretty casual thing. Except in states with closed primaries, and even then, you only have to declare your party to vote, and then I’m pretty sure you can change it right away again. Now I am fairly certain that elected officials have to pay some kind of party dues.

      The parties aren’t a function of the government, so it’s more like a club. A very casual club with the only actual membership rule being voting for the party’s candidates. In short, our political system is a mess. It’s not usually as much of a mess as this year’s though. I’ll be glad hen it’s over and done with, and hopefully we don’t end up with President Trump.

      • You ever get the feeling like the West is in a grand competition to see who has the most obscurely fucked-up democracy ever?

    • So how do you feel about Brexit? Seems crazy to me. And wow did the pound drop even before they were done counting the votes! But hey, maybe my ancestors will finally get their wish of a free and independent Scotland! Though I don’t think that would be a good idea either.

      Man, world politics is just all kinds of messed up right now. I wish stuff would stop falling apart.

      • Mostly negative, but then I mostly am.

        There is a sense that people’s political overlords are not listening to them and so the electorate are breaking things until things get so bad that they have no choice. Brexit, Corbyn, Trump, it’s all part of the same thing. In olden days we’d riot in the streets, burn the local lord’s favourite tavern and maybe ransack the home of some poor sod who never did anything to deserve it. These days we just vomit into a ballot box and imagine it’s progress.

        I’m exaggerating. Slightly.

        An independent Scotland will happen this time. Last time, they were in a weak position to bargain internationally, which swung it for Better Together. France and Spain especially were not looking to reward separatism lest they encourage their own, so the chance of getting into the EU was uncertain.

        Now, Brexit just gave those countries an excellent motivation to reward the Scots for their loyalty by letting them back in. I can afford to buy a Scottish apartment outright so I’m waiting for the referendum date to make any plans. I predicted one before which is why I was in Scotland for half of the aughts. Dual English/Scottish citizenship would be so useful.

        As for the campaigns, I never saw a single leaflet or speech for either side that I couldn’t pick out an obvious lie in. I don’t think any of them really thought that Brexit would actually win.

        Grassroots Remainers were just as bad. Many were so busy accusing Brexiters of all being racists that they ironically ignored the ethnic minorities. Around a third of ethnic minorities, rising to 52% of Sikhs and 54% of Jews, were brexiters. This meant it was very easy to ignore campaigners who played the racism card.

        Meanwhile, grassroots Brexiters were boasting about all the things that they imagined we would get back once we left, like reinstating historical fishing treaties that had been revoked on joining the EU and anyway most of the fishing grounds we will get are Scottish. Oops.

        Also a woman at work was really annoyed to learn that most Islamic hate preachers are not EU nationals.

        Now that the dust is settling, we’re looking at two leadership elections at the same time (joy!) and the most likely new Prime Minister has effectively promised to negotiate a new relationship with the EU which is exactly the same as the old one but technically not. Nothing changes and nobody notices.

        Still, with only one murder we’re doing better than we used to do when someone got upset.

        Wow, that’s a wall of text. Thanks for a place to unload it.

        • Don’t apologize! Thank you, that was awesome! Unload whenever you feel like it! :D

          There have been a lot of our talking heads over on your side of the pond doing man on the street interviews with folks, and I’ve been amazed by how many people are all “Yeah, I voted to leave, but I never thought it would happen! I’d vote to remain if we voted again!” We have a percentage of voters right now who want single payer healthcare and free college tuition RIGHT NOW, and while that’s something I think we should work toward, I’m concerned that they will protest vote for Trump to send a “message”, and it’s going to push him over the top to winning. Then the USA will have one of the worst presidents its ever had, and the world will help pay for it … kind of how a lot of Americans are paying for Brexit in the form of shrinking retirement investments. Listening to some friends complain about that the ther day almost made me glad we had to close our retirement accounts to survive our year of unemployment without losing everything. At least we got to use that money for something good, instead of just losing a bunch of it into the ether.

          I’d hoped the world could keep it’s crap together until I was old enough to be feeble minded and not give a damn anymore, but no, apparently everything has to go completely crappy the last couple decades of my useful existence. Argh! LOL!

          • There are over a million Leave voters who have expressed that sentiment. Meanwhile, the papers who supported Leave are now reporting as fact what they reported as scare stories last week.

            The problem is that politics has become harshly divided in much of the world. How many people who listened to Trump and thought he sounded correct will never be rebutted because people are too busy calling them scum and/or getting angry at them?

            Trump is good at sounding correct, after all.

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