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Crouching Party, Hidden Dagger: Sanders, the DNC and The Brokered Convention

America’s Dad Bernard Sanders looks increasingly likely to secure at least a plurality (if not an outright majority) of pledged delegates and thus the nomination. The corporate establishment is thus forced into a delicate situation. In the last few days, some have ‘bent the knee’, which warrants some discussion. However, there are also plans in the works to have what is called a ‘brokered convention’. This is a strategy designed to use Superdelegates to effectively steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders. If he does not have a majority on the first nominating ballot at the convention, there is a second ballot. This is where the Superdelegates come in. In this piece, I want to discuss the establishment figures ‘bending the knee’ to Sanders, the issue of Superdelegates and the brokered convention and what such a brokered convention would mean for the future of the Democratic Party.

Many figures in the establishment have noticed that Sanders is where the power is. Like any other political invertebrate, they bow at the knee of power. Now, it is true that they damn with faint praise, but this is considerable progress. The establishment has been going through the five stages of grief around Bernie Sanders, and we now seem to be approaching the final stage: acceptance. But, as we will see, there is a catch.

Genuflecting at the Altar of Power, Part One: Nancy Pelosi for the Politicians

The news of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressing ‘comfort’ with Sanders at the top of the ticket first broke on The Hill’s Rising with Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti. Pelosi had previously expressed opposition to Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and other parts of the Populist Left Agenda. Her political bona fides with the Left are thus rickety at best. In her most recent statement, she may not have explicitly endorsed Sanders, but her statement that ‘I think whoever our nominee is, we will enthusiastically embrace…’ speaks volumes. In particular, about the change in the establishment’s attitude toward Sanders. They now appear to be living their conviction of ‘Vote Blue No Matter Who’. Their hostility to Trump is such that any Blue will do. Maybe. Below we will see how this looks to be a ruse to distract from the plans for a brokered convention.

Genuflecting at the Altar of Power, Part Two: Chris Matthews for the Media

As I discussed in my last piece, MSNBC actor Chris Matthews recently compared Sanders’ Nevada victory to the Nazi occupation of France. To his credit (how voluntary it was is unclear) Matthews did apologise to America’s Dad for his poor choice of historical analogy. This is yet another example of genuflecting at the altar of power. Anyone unsure of this should consider all of the other lies, smears and misrepresentations of Sanders in the media since 2016. This is the first time he received an actual apology. What could have changed from 2016 to now? Simple: Sanders is the centre of the dance, and if there is one thing the media thrives on, it is access.

Some journalists, because of their hostile coverage of Trump during the campaign, were denied access early in the administration. The media has no intention of allowing that to happen again. There is also the fact that MSNBC is losing the ratings war as well as the propaganda war. In my last piece I mentioned that woman who said she supported Sanders precisely because of MSNBC’s hostility to him. The network sees some sort of shift is needed (if only temporarily) and so they are playing the game. Also, as I said above about Mrs Pelosi, Matthews’ apology and promise to ‘elevate the political discourse’ could well be sleight of hand to distract from the plotted brokered convention. We turn to that now.

The Plot to Stop Dad, Part One: The Brokered Convention

The New York Times reports of a plot to use Superdelegates, along with the pledged delegates of other candidates, to prevent Bernie Sanders from winning the nomination. At the recent debate, the candidates were all asked if the person with the most votes should be the nominee. All candidates, Bernie Sanders excluded, said that ‘the process’ should ‘play out’. The ‘process’ to which they refer is that of a multi-ballot system and potential Superdelegates. Superdelegates are quite literally ‘beyond normal delegates’. The term refers to party insiders who are ‘wild cards’ and can vote as they (or more likely the party leadership) pleases.

According to the rules set up as part of the Reform Commission, Superdelegates would only have a vote on the second ballot. Such a ballot would only take place if a majority was not achieved on the first ballot. It must be noted that this was a compromise position: Sanders never wanted Superdelegates at all. But he compromised to have them on the second ballot only. If he only has a plurality of delegates, a second ballot would become necessary, and this is where things get ropey. The Superdelegates, party insiders (read corporatists) remember, would vote for some corporate candidate. This would, in a very real sense, overrule the will of the voters.

What is amazing about this is the fact that the media has said some version of this throughout the primary. If you combine the votes of Mayor Pete, Amy Klobuchar and Joe Biden, Bernie loses, they said. Ignore the fact that this is not how elections work and focus on the subtext. Combining the votes (and by extension the delegates) of the corporate candidates is, in the minds of the media, a legitimate strategy for defeating Sanders.

The Plot to Stop Dad, Part Two: Consequences for The Party

The Times piece comments that the Superdelegates acknowledged the risk of ‘intraparty damage’ if they tried to stop Sanders. It is almost as if they know that Superdelegates are by definition undemocratic. However, they also do not seem to care. The issue for the establishment is not, despite their seeming obsession with it, defeating Donald Trump. Rather, the issue for the establishment is maintaining their own power, wealth and control. They are also likely to be so naïve as to expect Sanders’ supporters to fall in line behind the chosen candidate.

This partially explains the notably tepid comments from Pelosi, Schumer and even Hillary Clinton. They have all said some version or another of ‘I will support the nominee’. People who are so openly hostile to one candidate are usually only willing to make such statements if they know that this candidate will not be the nominee. These comments also lay the foundation for the demand that Bernie supporters fall in line. We said we would support the nominee, why are you refusing to support the nominee? The sheer cynicism, manipulation and Machiavellian nature of this entire conjob is remarkable.

Finally, what would the consequences be for the Democratic Party were Sanders to be denied the nomination by Superdelegates? In short, chaos. Those who have supported Sanders and seen how the media has treated him would likely, in the words of Common Dreams, revolt. If the establishment uses an undemocratic process (Superdelegates) to overrule the will of the people, that would likely be the final straw for the Progressive wing of the party. Burn the f*cker down, they would likely yell – with some justification.

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  1. Phil Pryor

    For centuries, the USA political world has divided, squabbled, morphed, atrophied, rigged, conned, tweaked all to get advantage, control, suitable results, net gains, supremacy and stares and glares. What a history of seeping shit this has been, as decency, especially a reasonable democracy, has been corrupted, depraved, altered, nobbled, ruined. Policy and philosophy, decency and intelligent planning are suppressed, unwanted, A pose, a glare, a suit, a headline, a headjob, a deal, a little understanding, a double cross, a compromise, this is the shit served up to the mugs, the people. And these empty vessels, turdpots, never stop GRINNING.

  2. New England Cocky

    Somehow the Democratic Party has demonstrated that democracy in the USA (United States of Apartheid) bears little resemblance to democracy as practiced in Australia where there is compulsory voting of all compulsorily registered Australian voters. I know which system I value, and it is not the American way.

  3. Kathryn

    New England Cocky, whilst there are arguments for and against compulsory voting in Australia, my support for compulsory voting has seriously waned since that dreadful day in 2013 when our country turned to SHIT under the mismanagement of the worst pack of rorting grubs and sociopathic liars on record!

    Sadly, there are millions of conservative people throughout the country who believe EVERYTHING they read in the appalling, Z-rated Murdoch rags; they don’t make ANY effort to inform themselves (from more reliable sources such as the ABC, The Guardian, SBS or even the SMH) of the type of criminally corrupt, career political parasites they are assisting to cross the electoral line. Many of them can barely name more than TWO people in the appalling party they vote for! Many conservative voters say they only vote for the LNP because their misinformed parents voted for the LNP! Really?

    Who can EVER forget the relentless LIES spewed out by the swaggering, misogynistic and totally deluded hypocrite, the paedophile-protecting Tony Abbott; the never-ending broken promises, the appalling way he made Australia look like a third-world backwater on the international stage, the way this obsequious imperialist handed out a bogus knighthood to Prince Philip (a man who has demonstrated absolute contempt for Australia and Australians)! Yet, despite committing enough atrocities, faux pas and criminal acts of nepotism – that made the Rudd/Gillard governments look like SAINTS by comparison – the deaf, dumb and blind right-wing electorate decided to overlook all the depravity of a government that went SO WRONG in such a short time and STILL chose to rush to the ballot box to push the WORST, most diabolical government across the electoral line!

    It seems that even the worst, most contemptible, arrogant and fascist LNP regime is preferable to these gormlessly one-eyed right-wing sycophants to ANY left-wing democratic socialist government when history has PROVEN that the most effective, progressive and high-achieving governments in our nation have all been LABOR governments!

    Now we are literally STUCK between hell and oblivion with the most depraved, cowardly, bible-thumping hypocrite (Morrison) one can imagine! Our debt and deficit has trebled, the LNP have shut down our car industry, attacked and vilified the most vulnerable citizens in our society, are desperate to privatise and sell off Medicare, have defunded our children’s State schools into oblivion whilst pouring MILLIONS into schools run by the cult of pentecostal brainwashing, have fraudulently misappropriated countless MILLIONS of taxpayer funds for their own political expediency, have placed their hands on their stone-cold black hearts and lied, lied and lied, have vandalised our environment, sold off just about EVERYTHING we cherish, handed our precious water across to the greedy (foreign owned) cotton industry who then took it all and just about dried up and polluted the longest river system in the country! The sad, tragic tale of LNP corruption, vandalism, climate-change-denying idiocy and ineptitude just goes on and on – with a NEW revelation of corruption and depravity EVERY SINGLE DAY! Do you think ALL of this will make a difference at the ballot box at the next election? By then Murdoch will have spewed out his daily venomous attacks and character-assassinating slander against The Greens and the ALP and the gullible sycophants to the LNP/Murdoch/IPA scourge will suck it all up like oxygen!

    Compulsory voting? No thanks! Compulsory voting – especially using the vile preferential voting system infecting our nation – favours the stupid, favours the obscenely rich, favours huge multi-national corporate predators, favours the corrupt banking industry, favours the ill-informed and favours unspeakably corrupt, right-wing extremists who are voted in, time and time again, by migrants from China and eastern Europe (who are brainwashed by the Murdoch press and SkyNews to believe their prejudicial BULLSHIT that at our Labor government is a signed-up branch of Communism!

  4. leefe

    Compulsory voting – which, technically, we do not have; we have compulsory attendance at a polling booth or submission of postal vote – is only truly democratic if you also have compulsory political and economic literacy. If someone can find a way to ensure the latter, I shall begin to support the former.

  5. New England Cocky

    @leefe: Agreed leefe, you are technically correct. It remains a flawed, but still the best voting system available.

    @Kathryn: Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Your disappointment is understandable, but throwing the voting system out with the worst misgovernment since 1788 is not really a sensible option.

    Rather it is time to get organised and mobilise your neighbours to take responsibility for their personal indifference to politics matters and corruption by this Smirkie Sacked from Marketing misgovernment. It will require considerable devotion to the cause of returning Australia to a democratic egalitarian country, but it is an ideal worth defending against the COALition scum bags who would destroy it for their personal benefit.

  6. Kathryn

    New England Cocky, thank you for your comment. Sadly, after two catastrophic, misguided federal elections, compulsory voting is now viewed (by many people) as being terminally flawed. The tragedy is this: most ultra-conservative Lieberal supporters, especially the unspeakably stupid, died-in-the-wool idiot sycophant who, despite ALL the evidence to the contrary, think Abbott was a “good idea” and that the Crime Minister, Morrison, is a better bet than the ALP – absolutely REFUSE to be influenced to (what they believe) is the “dark side” of democratic socialism! They are so intellectually “shuttered”, so entrenched in elitism, so unaware that – unless they were multi-millionaires – they, themselves, would benefit greatly from social democracy which favours the rights, well-being and progress of ordinary members of society – as it has in countries like Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Iceland et al. It is THIS type of sanctimonious, brainwashed and complacent member of our electorate who is more likely NOT to bother turning up at a ballot box on Election Day if our nation did NOT have compulsory voting – and this would be a GOOD thing, would if not?

    The fact that apathetic conservatives are dragged to the ballot box forces a lot of very misinformed idiots to automatically put a tick next to the worst, most racist, totally inept fascists on the lunatic fringe of the hysterical right-wing, eg the LNP, Pauline Hanson, Christian Democrats and others. Voting for the LNP, even governments as depraved, corrupt and deceptive as the Howard, Abbott and Morrison regimes – are set in cement for appalling, totally deluded fanatics of ultra-conservatism because they are completely hoodwinked and have brought into the grotesque lie about Trickle Down Economics hook, line and sinker. They have feasted on the heartlessly cruel Murdoch/LNP/IPA propaganda that they are part of the “elite”, that the poor, sick and homeless citizens among us deserve our contempt, that multiculturalism is the devil, that desperate people eeking out a subsistence existence on Newstart don’t matter and are nothing more than second-class parasites, that our children’s State school education is not worth a dime and that countless millions of taxpayer funds should be poured into religious institutions which are, after all, the breeding grounds for conservatism and future LNP sycophants, that Medicare (the egalitarian taxpayer-funded health care which should ensure that ALL Australians receive standardised effective, high quality health care) is split up, sold-off and privatised to greedy, profit-obsessed (probably foreign-owned) predators who won’t give a rat’s arse about the quality of health care but, rather, be motivated by profit at the expense of our current health care system, once (under Whitlam) regarded as the best in the world.

    We cannot be held responsible for another person’s lack of foresight, disinterest in politics, appalling lack of good judgement or refusal to become “politically aware” …. self-education and the willingness to become educated and informed must become an INTRINSIC form of motivation to be effective. Sadly, we all know that the type of intellectual midget who keeps on cheering-on a government systematically destroying, selling-off and vandalising everything we love, is highly unlikely to seek self-improvement. Thus, my genuine despair and rising disillusionment with the compulsory voting system – a system that continues to fail us over and over again.

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