SHOULD HILLARY BOW OUT?

It was not a goodnight for Hillary Clinton.

She lost North Carolina in a blow-out and won Indiana by a hair. As a result she will never have enough pledged delegates to win the nomination. (Neither, of course, will her opponent) Still, she has vowed to fight on and, as I understand it, plans to be in the field in West Virginia today.

Senator Clinton has two choices now: to watch the inevitable play out, choosing the appropriate time to concede defeat: or to fight to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations, even though the DNC has disqualified those states for holding their primaries too early.

She could, if she wanted to, force a floor fight at the convention;  she would probably lose.  (She would have the DNC and the Obama forces ranged against her).  Win or lose she would leave the Democratic party shattered.

She may well be, as she claims, the better candidate to fight John McCain this fall.  But some of her own supporters are beginning to wonder how formidable she would be if she somehow won the nomination by snatching it from Obama at the 11th hour.

Does Senator Clinton’s courageous campaign entitle her to keep on fighting?

Or for the good of the party should she bow out?

What do you think?

11 Comments »

  1. 1
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    I heard a great analysis on why the Democratic Party instituted the system of Superdelegates from Tucker Carlson, the conservative pundit. He said that back in ’72 party members at the convention chose ultra-liberal George McGovern as the candidate who, it was obvious even then to the higher-ups in the party, could not get elected against Richard Nixon, which he didn’t.

    The reasoning is: the United States is, ultimately, a conservative country and simply won’t elect someone as far to the left as Barack Obama is. Clinton herself knows this…that is why she has come out of late with strong words vis a vis being pro-guns and dropping nuclear bombs on Iran. She’s trying to get her chops prepared for the general election by showing everyone how “conservative” she is.

    The Superdelegate system was put in place precisely to prevent the kind of thing that happened when the rank and file chose McGovern. That is, the Superdelegates would act like a kind of chamber of sober second thought — an upper house like Canada’s Senate — which could act like a kind of veto against the irrationale choices of the hoi-polloi. Quite ironic, seeing that the Democratic Party bills itself as the party of the people!

    But I read today where Clinton is even having trouble mustering up Superdelegates…they won’t even return her phone calls.

    Nevertheless, the contest still is close even if Barack has the numbers to win. I’d like to see her continue because I admire her fortitude. Staying in the fight the way she is shows that she’s got balls…and that’s what people want to see and what they want in a president. She’s using everything she has to fight for the nomination which is a kind of test in itself, isn’t it, to tell us what kind of president a person would be when confronted with a big problem once they get the job. When the going gets tough, as they say.

  2. 2
    Chimera Says:

    “…Superdelegates…which could act like a kind of veto against the irrationale choices of the hoi-polloi.”

    In other words, ignore what the people tell you they want and force them to accept what you think they ought to have.

    Damn, but that sounds like Canada to me! Or Cuba. Or the erstwhile Soviet Union.

  3. 3
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    The Superdelegates are patterned much like the Electoral College, the real electors of the US President. And it was set up to “correct the possible errors of judgment *of the hoi polloi* as Tony wrote. The higher-ups were always diffident of democracy. And remember: the Electoral College, a few times in the past, has confirmed the guy with the less popular votes as US President. Canada has a minority government allowed by a weak opposition to govern like it had a popular mandate. The US President does not even have that check within his or her constitutional prerogatives as Bush has time and again demonstrated by his actions and vetoes. Why should power hungry Hillary renounce backroom deals with Superdelegates?

  4. 4

    The historical points you all made about the Superdelegates are very informative. But a new theory seems to be emerging: that far from being a sober second chamber, the Superdelegates should vote the way their districts voted. In other appointed people should not overide the decision of elected people.

  5. 5
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Neil:

    The “new theory” you cite parallels the history of chambers of sober second thought.

    The U.S. Senate was originally set up as a protection against federal encroachment on states’ rights. Before the passage of the 17th amendment to the U.S. constitution in 1913, all of the senators were appointed by their state legislatures. The 17th amendment put into place election of senators by popular vote, which is the regime still in place today. This parallels what you write above vis a vis the system of the Superdelagates which, you observe, appears to be going the way of abiding by the will of the people.

    And, of course, there’s been a push for an elected Senate in Canada for years now (Senators are currently appointed by the Prime Minister).

  6. 6
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Paul:

    I can remember two governments elected in Quebec during my lifetime (I’m 53) in which the ruling party got less popular votes than the official opposition: the Union Nationale of the 1960s and the last PQ government. In both cases, the Liberals got more of the popular vote (Lesage and Charest, respectively). I suspect in both cases it was the rural ridings that carried the day for the winning parties.

    Isn’t that why the Quebec Electoral Office (I forget, at the moment, its official name) recently came out with proposals that rural ridings in Quebec lose their traditional lopsidedness? I refer to the fact that rural ridings have, traditionally, less registered voters per riding than urban ones do. If I remember my understanding of Quebec’s Election Act, ridings are allowed a range of plus or minus 20% from the average population for all ridings…and rural ridings consistenly were near the minus 20%.

    Of course, for lopsidedness, nothing beats the U.S. Senate where wee Vermont with about 500,000 population gets 2 senators, just like California with about 33,000,000 people…about 65 times more than Vermont! One-man, one-vote does not the U.S. Senate make!

  7. 7
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Chimera:

    I think we have to make a distinction between popular elections and “elections” within organisations, such as political parties.

    Political parties are notoriously anti-democratic, just as you suggest the Democratic Party is with its Superdelegates system. For example, here in Quebec, the “party leader” of a party has absolute veto over a riding’s choice to stand as a candidate for that riding in a general election. A riding association can have a so-called “democratic” election of a nominee by all the riding’s members but if the leader of the party wants to parachute in his childhood buddy or someone the leader feels is best for the party, that is his perogative.

    That certainly isn’t the “will of the people” yet it’s the law according to Quebec’s Election Act and, gosh, it happens quite often (although the exception is the PQ which has a tradition of the leader NOT interfering with a riding’s choice). This happens on the federal level even more often.

    There are other rules in party situations as well that are not “democratic” such as requiring a certain number of candidates to be members of certain ethnic, language or visible minority groups or that a certain percentage of all candidates be women.

    Although we may feel these goals are laudible, they are hardly “democratic”. Indeed, if a legislature tried to pass a law to put in place such rules for general elections, they would most certainly be struck down as unconstitutional as they would be held in violation of equality guarantees.

  8. 8
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    Could Hillary still win? I am not sure how it all works, but couldnt she become a Republican and unseat John McCain and run against Obama for President. She would like to be President at any cost. The majority of republicans probably want their troops home. She has played the conservative card to a degree.

    It would make quite an interesting election Hillary a Republican conservative and Obama a Democrat liberal.

  9. 9
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Tony, you are right about minority party getting most seats because of rural ridings in Québec. Our electoral law allowes for 25% one way or the other. One precinct is protected by law: Les Ïles de la Madeleine.
    Of course changing the electoral map is almost difficult in Québec than amending the Canadian Constitution. Most small counties are way off the 25% mark. Montrealers and surrounding counties get short shrift in any provincial election.

  10. 10

    Interesting comments.

    Peter, not a chance.

    Crossing “the floor” in the U.S. is not like here in Canada which seems like a game to some.

    Besides, I’m not sure I follow this line of thinking. Are you suggesting that both Democrats (indeed any Democrat) is a better option than McCain is?

    Conservatives, the real ones who have been pushed aside, would never stand for her. She’s no conservative. She’s just a politician. End of story.

    She never had a chance in my opinion. The SD were never going to overturn the pledged votes. Not for her anyway.

    McCain will win. I just don’t see how Obama can rival him in key sections of the country. I think this is as good as it gets for him.

    I could be wrong…

  11. 11
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    The Commentator. Thanks for your information re crossing the floor. However for the sake of argument. Hillary was once a Republican and switched parties. She could easily repent and say she made a wrong choice
    McCain was recently asked if he would accept her on his ticket. ” Bom bom bom, bom bom Iran. “


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