As an American, I am proud of the democratic system we have in place, which despite its flaws does a reasonably good job of preserving basic rights. As a Lebanese friend of mine (born there, now a U.S. resident) has said, “American democracy is flawed, but compared with the rest of the world, it’s the best we’ve got.” I’m a bit too jaded and disinterested in glad-handing to get too closely involved in politics, but I follow it regularly as a concerned citizen. I am a registered independent who did not vote in the primaries.
I read with interest Geraldine Ferraro’s op-ed in Monday’s New York Times, “Got a Problem? Ask the Super.” In it, Ferraro takes up the issue of superdelegates in the Democratic party. She explains the reasons for their creation and notes that she was part of the team that created them.
Ferraro goes on and, in one fell swoop, completely dismisses the primary process and its voters.
Her argument for superdelegates is sensible enough: “Superdelegates were created to lead, not to follow. They were, and are, expected to determine what is best for our party and best for the country. I would hope that is why many superdelegates have already chosen a candidate to support.”
All well and good, until the next paragraph.
“Besides,” Ferraro writes, “the delegate totals from primaries and caucuses do not necessarily reflect the will of rank-and-file Democrats. Most Democrats have not been heard from at the polls. We have all been impressed by the turnout for this year’s primaries — clearly both candidates have excited and engaged the party’s membership — but, even so, turnout for primaries and caucuses is notoriously low.” [Emphasis added.]
Two days after I first read this I’m still taken aback. Geraldine Ferraro, former Vice Presidential candidate and long-time Democratic Party bastion, doesn’t think the Democratic primaries mean anything! This from a woman who ran the organization that determined the winners of primary contests.
The essay proceeds to defend this position from multiple angles: low voter turnout, independent voters allowed to cast votes in select primaries, etc. But Ferraro’s theories just blow my mind.
“I am watching, with great disappointment, people whom I respect in the Congress who endorsed Hillary Clinton — I assume because she was the leader they felt could best represent the party and lead the country — now switching to Barack Obama with the excuse that their constituents have spoken.” [Emphasis added.]
Democrats in good standing would do well to dissociate themselves from these thoughts, lest their party come to resemble the leave-me-alone-while-I-run-our-country attitude of the GOP.