Monday, March 31, 2008

Superdelegates in the Democratic Party, A European Precedent

Much has been made of the looming spectre of a Democratic convention which might be considered by many to be less than democratic. Super delegates, which comprise about 20% of the delegates needed to nominate a candidate for president, are usually elected government officials such as senators or governors belonging to the Democratic party.
Elected delegates usually represent tens of thousands of voters. They are bound to represent the candidates that they were elected to vote for. Super delegates are not pledged to any one candidate. They can be courted with persuasion, favours or contributions to their campaign. Defenders of this arrangement say that it is a counter balance to organised lobbying groups that might be out of step with the majority of Democratic Party registered voters.
I have agonised over the pros and cons of this arrangement. Is it truly democratic? My google research brought me to the German Democratic Republic, known in popular speech as the former East Germany. Their national legislature was known as the Volkskammer, which translates as "People's Chamber. Seventy percent of its approximately 650 members were elected by popular vote. The other thirty percent were chosen by trade unions, the Free German Youth organisation, the Democratic Women's Federation of Germany and other "people's" organisations.
This system of "Uber" delegates insured that the ideology upon which the German DEMOCRATIC Republic was founded would not be challenged by passing reactionary and anti DEMOCRATIC trends.
So now dear readers you can see that we can look to Europe for precedents and political guidance. If we want to guide the DEMOCRATIC party in the proper path, where would be a better place to look than the German DEMOCRATIC Republic? Since they are for the workers and peasants, lets take a page from them in political organisation as well. I for one feel much better knowing that the DEMOCRATIC party has such a worthy precedent as that established by the Volkskammer of the German DEMOCRATIC Republic.
Copyright 2008 by Magdeburger Joe
P.S. For your listening pleasure I have put the East German national anthem,"Auferstanden Aus Ruinen" or Arisen from the Ruins at the head of this post. Its title expresses my hopes for a return of the Democratic party to its original values that I remember so well from the early 60's.

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