Friday, June 3, 2016
Below is my campaign literature for the election to be a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia at the end of July. I brought slightly over 200 copies of it to the Sanders caucus in my Congressional district. (There was another caucus for the 3 Clinton delegates from our district.) I handed almost all of them out to other attendees at the caucus.
There were some 300 men and women at the caucus. About 30 people, including myself, had earlier, online, applied to be one of the 4 Sanders delegates. Most of us were pretty naïve about parliamentary procedure, a fact that was used in a maneuver which eliminated all but 8 of our names from contention. None the rest of us realized we would have to be ‘nominated’ at the caucus, and our nomination seconded. So none of us were.
As for the 8 who were nominated, and seconded, these 8 were comprised of two groups of 4, each of which formed a ‘slate’ for the full quota of the delegates for Senator Sanders. They were allocated to the senator for winning the district. While the 8 candidates were voted on individually, one slate, (the more willing to compromise with Hillary slate,) won. On average something like 170 votes to 130.
The Democrats do themselves no favors with this procedure, since it is incongruent with the electoral college, which is an all or nothing process at the state level. The result of their procedure is not optimized to result in the nomination of the most electable candidate.
It is, however, optimized to insure the establishment candidate is the nominee. It minimizes (statistical) variation, (Sort of like what would happen if you scored most of the points in a basketball game say, by a score of 73 to 65. But instead of it being called a win for you, it was called a tie.) and, assuming that the “Superdelegates,” some 15% of the total, and who largely are the (Democratic) establishment, actually vote for the establishment candidate, all but guarantees the nomination of the establishment candidate, no matter what the outcome of the primaries.
It is not enough for the outsider to just win the popular vote by over 18%. (719 is 17.7% of the 4051 pledged delegates, which are more or less determined by the primaries.) He must capture 59% of the pledged delegates, or 2390 delegates, to overcome the establishment’s Superdelegates.
In order to overcome the 719 Superdelegates, the outsider candidate would have to win virtually every one of the 435 Congressional districts. And some he would have to win by humongous margins, to gain enough plurality of delegates. For a district with an even number of delegates, a close victory leads to an evenly split delegation. To split a district with say 8 delegates, 5 to 3, the winning candidate would have to win with over 56% of the vote. (I think that’s the way it works.) To split a district with 7 delegates 5 to 2, (instead of just 4 delegates to 3) the candidate would have to win over 65% of the vote. This he would have to do in may districts in order to obtain the necessary delegate plurality. In the reality, this is assuming the other pledged delegates, the at large and the PLEO (Party Leader and Elected Officials) delegates, are evenly split.
The whole process is window dressing. The procedure, and the Superdelegates, effectively disenfranchise the Democratic voters. If Senator Sanders does win, it will only be because the Democratic establishment has decided that Hillary Clinton is unelectable. Which, by the way, she likely is. Whether the party elite realize this before the National Convention is the interesting question. In these situations, where the individuals are committed to their positions in more than one dimension, the evidence usually does not suffice to change people’s minds.
But here’s my campaign literature. All of it: (2 copies a sheet, which I cut in half.)
(SIDE 1:) Any delegate we elect will bring Bernie his vote. Go Bernie. But Bernie needs more. Bernie’s opponents have attacked the cost and practicality of all of his positions, and this has weakened his appeal and his campaign. Just a vote at the convention will not be enough. Bernie needs more. Bernie needs someone who can show him how to solidify his positions and broaden his appeal. And help him turn the votes of Superdelegates at the convention.
Bernie’s plan for single payer health care is attacked as too costly. Organizations like the AMA and monopolists like Big Pharma have restricted the supply of healthcare services, and now American healthcare is simply inadequate to provide services for everyone. This is what is driving up the price, and Bernie needs to address this by attacking these organizations and providing mechanisms for increasing the supplies of doctors, nurses, and the other things American healthcare needs.
To assure justice for all, and in particular the poor and minorities, Bernie, as President, can bring suit against local jurisdictions for their inadequate funding of their public defender’s offices. There should be about as much money for the public defenders as for the prosecutor’s offices in each jurisdiction. Right now the whole justice system is just a scheme to keep our prisons filled, and with a disproportionate number of minorities. If Bernie advocates for adequate funding for public defenders, it WILL be revolutionary.
I haven’t been able to reach Bernie. If I am a delegate, it will increase my chances of being able to talk to Bernie, and, if I can, and Bernie wants it, I will be able to help him, his campaign, and the people. No other delegate you could elect would be able to do this. Elect me to be your delegate. …Help Bernie!
(SIDE 2:) Capitalism rewards efficiency and punishes resiliency. Capitalists seek to maximize their profits, and will do so even if it harms society. Capitalists seek to maximize the consumption of resources, so they may maximize the profit they can take. They do not, and in fact cannot, take the long view. Society, however, is interested in lasting as long as possible, and thus seeks to maintain the flow of resources at a sustainable rate. When capitalists take control of government, society is no longer able to do reduce and maintain the flow of resources to a sustainable rate, and the future is consumed at an ever accelerating rate. The interests of capitalists are not the same as society’s, and never were. Bernie opposes the TPP, and has always opposed free trade. Economists believe so much in free trade that they ridicule Bernie’s position, and right now Bernie does not have the arguments to fight back. There are two arguments, however, which economists cannot answer. The first is that under a trade deficit, the losses to producers are greater than the gains to consumers. The second is that because all taxation is a tax on production, if a government does not tax all sources of production, production will migrate to those sources government does not tax. This is because any producer the government does not tax will have an advantage over a producer the government does tax. The government cannot tax foreign producers. It can only put a tariff on imports. If it does not do this, all domestic producers will eventually go overseas, and the government will then not be able to tax any of them.
Ask me about college tuition. Ask me about CEO pay. Ask me about the police. Ask me about climate change. Ask me about the tax system. Ask me about government and society.
Donald Trump, who is a member of the establishment, has become the anti-establishment candidate. Hillary has become the establishment candidate. Should the economy go South, as it is likely to do, Hillary will take the blame, and the Democrats will be crushed in the election. The Republicans, and their wealthy sponsors, who are the actual establishment and ones actually responsible and who should take the blame, will be absolved. The government will be largely dismantled, as will the rights guaranteed by that government. These are the rights that protect us from the depredations of the wealthy, rights which the Republicans are already steadily taking apart. The economic consequences of this will be terrible, even for the wealthy, because the people are the foundation of all wealth, and without the people there is none. Even if Hillary is elected, the depredations by the establishment of the people will continue, and worsen, also to the point the of eventual economic and political destruction of the United States. That is why I am for Bernie Sanders. Only Bernie is truly opposed to the establishment policies, which are looting and destroying our country, and all our futures. We must do what we can. ….
The ellipses are where I put my name. Only one person asked me about anything, and that was about energy. Since I was put off by what happened, (although encouraged by the fact that so many were participating, even if the exercise was, ah, irrelevant to the real nomination process. That was a fact they did not know.) I gave the larger picture some thought, and, I think, gained insight. Altogether, a worthwhile adventure.