Nothing is more threatening to a representative democracy than discouraging voters or disenfranchising them. The newest incarnation of voter suppression and denial of access to the ballot box has surfaced in one of the most unlikely places. It is created within the Democratic Party by party rules and under the guise of the privileged “super-delegate” appointment. Clearly a creation of homage to a bygone era of aristocratic recognition within the party powerful it allowed those at the top of the pyramid of power, often beholden to the status quo of party politics, to be given access to the party convention and front row seats from which to preen. This mimicking of the English style of a “House of Lords” and a “House of Commons” would seem harmless enough until the “super-delegates” presumed that their appointment precluded any vote of the party faithful yet to come.
Although legally placed as a democratic party rule it is no less offensive than abrogating the party memberships’ vote or simply putting a match to the ballot box when these “super-delegates” preempt the primary election and pledge their allegiance and delegate vote to one candidate or the other before the votes have been cast and counted.
Let me make it perfectly clear that my challenge to this system is not based, in any way, on the individuals who are seeking the nomination. I do not care, in the least, about which candidate or candidates will be named or chosen for this benefit. It is the fact that preemptive pledging of a delegate vote will result in voter disenfranchisement, discourage voters from going to the polls, (viewed as an exercise in futility thereby suppressing the vote), and render the ballots yet to be cast as meaningless. It is an almost arrogant presumption on the part of those appointed “super-delegates” to think that they have the right and/or privilege to force their personal choice (or that of the party apparatus that they feel allegiance to) upon the voters of record before their votes are recorded.
They can still enjoy the honor and recognition of their positions within the party but they should have absolutely no right to pledge their delegate vote anywhere other than to the majority dictate of the people who actually vote.
Once again Delaware’s Governor has chosen to add to the ever burgeoning Department of education bureaucracy in Dover. In this instance there has been a particular concerning manipulation of the General Assembly’s intentions and authority. When the Governor’s budget was originally presented it included $7.5 million to continue Race to the Top (RTTT) initiatives funded by expiring federal funding. In that $7.5 million was a proposal to create and fund ten positions created under RTTT and place the funding burden on Delaware’s taxpayers. I, and others, had consistently and persistently warned that it would be unacceptable for the taxpayers to assume the costs of continuing the failed policies of the federal education reform movement known as RTTT. When the full $7.5 million was challenged and halved, I and other GA members were assured that the remaining $3.75 million added to the budget would not be used to fund those positions and that essentially those temporary employees would not be continuing once the RTTT federal funding expired. In what has become a commonplace practice under this Administration there has been a deliberate effort to manipulate and circumvent the intentions and will of the General Assembly. This Governor has stated time and again that his efforts to shrink government involved freezing vacant positions and the funding for those positions as part of his austerity plan to balance the budget. It therefore becomes even more striking that the Governor and DOE have continued their expansion of the Department of Ed bureaucracy, which has grown over 10% in recent years, with the addition of these ten positions to the budget despite assurances that these jobs would not be funded except by RTTT monies. I only discovered this secretive maneuver by happenstance when I requested a full and specific accounting of the use of the budget approved $3.75 million from the Controller General’s office. The email chain that follows shows the specifics of that budget addition and is accompanied by the rather shocking revelation that the ten temporary RTTT positions were being added to the DOE bureaucracy funded by Delaware taxpayer money.