Texas Dem's: Can we silence the majority? Yes we can! Shut out seniors, the poor & single moms? Yes we can!
One Citizen's Opinion by Lee Dunkelberg
Texas Democrats in convention in Austin last weekend passed on giving the people a true voice in picking presidential candidates.
Though they voted to "study" the system, basically, the Dems let stand the precinct conventions, which effectively give most voters only two thirds of a vote for their presidential candidate.
Granted, we are told the system will be studied. However, I sense more of an "out of sight, out of mind" coalition here.
As it stands right now, in order to get your full vote for your presidential candidate in the Texas Democratic Party, you are two-timed by the party. You cast your vote at the polls, and you get two-thirds of a vote. Then, you have to attend the precinct convention after the polls close to qualify for your remaining third. No matter, if your job, family obligations, physical condition, age, illness or any other reason prevents you from attending.
[blog editor note - I caucused for neither Sen. Obama or Sen. Clinton.]
It comes as no surprise, as the system was set up to make sure the vote of the majority could be "corrected" by party loyalists. Now, the Obamgelicals head the party machinery. The precinct conventions allowed them to subvert the majority vote on election day, and they are unlikely to undo a system that has served them so well.
See what a difference a successful (though totally mismanaged) caucus makes.
This is from The Dallas Morning News following the senatorial district and county conventions (the ones following the election-night precinct conventions fiasco).
After watching a tedious credentials fight at his convention in Dallas, Sen. Royce West [blog editor note - Sen. West is an Obama supporter] said something needs to be done to avoid a repeat in four years.
"If we're going to keep the caucus system, there should be an extended time period between the primary and the senatorial conventions," he said.
"You program a period of time where credential challenges are determined."
Mr. Richie [blog editor note - Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie, an Obama supporter] said he anticipates a vigorous debate at the state convention in June over resolutions to change – or scrap – the caucus process.
Here is what happened at the state convention, this time from the San Antonio Express-News.
In an effort to avoid a convention fight over changing the system, party Chairman Boyd Richie named a special committee headed by state Sen. Royce West, an Obama supporter from Dallas, to report any needed changes to the state convention in two years.
West defeated efforts to debate the caucus system, which could have resulted in an immediate vote. West appealed for delegates to allow his committee to conduct public hearings around Texas so more Democrats could participate in the discussion. West prevailed on his motion to table debate, 6,042 to 1,637.
West said avoiding the fight this year is an important part of healing the party for a unified front for Obama in the fight against presumptive Republican presidential nominee U.S. Sen. John McCain in November.
“There's strong feelings all over the place about this issue,” West said.
“The issue is a visceral, divisive issue that would not be appropriate to take up at this convention.”
Delegates got a party questionnaire on what changes should be made and got the chance to vent at a hearing that was transcribed for study later. Some on the convention floor had signs that read: “End the Texas Two-Step. Count Votes Equally. Primary System Only!”
Many supporters of the precinct convention offer the Orwellian argument that less democracy is more democracy, as the conventions are a way to pump up the grassroots. It brings more people into the fold. It rewards those who care enough to know the secret handshake of the party, the real Democrats.
They, of course, ignore the fact that there is no problem holding the conventions, passing whatever resolutions they want, deciding who will be delegates to the next step in the convention process and then adjourn with hugs and Kumbaya if they want. That way, the party fertilizes its grassroots without denying a full vote to most of its members.
To quote a popular phrase - "Can we fix it? Yes, we can!"
However, unlike Bob the Builder, I fear it is unlikely Obamgelicals will fix this obvious block to complete openess. Hope and change will only go so far.