Thursday, May 26, 2016

More problems with caucuses

Earlier this week, I mentioned how Bernie Sanders won Nebraska's Democratic caucus - and received most of our delegates - but Hillary Clinton's supporters actually bothered to vote in the primary.

So I was interested to hear another example of how caucuses are suppressing the vote and, this year, clearly in Sanders' favor:
What I am quite sure about is that primary process has not been 'rigged' as the Sanders forces claim. As I've argued, to the extent they're rigged, they're rigged in Sanders favor!. Last night's Washington state primary tells the story. Back in March Sanders got a huge morale boost and a minor delegate boost when he absolutely crushed Clinton in the state's caucus. Last night, when the state held a primary Clinton scored a solid win. The difference is that a bit over 200,000 people participated in the caucus and well over 600,000 voted in the primary. Unfortunately for Clinton, the delegates were all awarded on the basis of the low turnout caucus. Caucuses should be abolished in every state. They're just the best voter suppression method in politics today.

This is similar to what happened in Nebraska, where two and a half times as many Democrats voted in the primary as participated in the caucus. And those Democrats who actually voted chose Hillary Clinton, while Sanders was awarded two-thirds of our delegates because of the caucus win. [Note: My original figures were wrong, so check my revised post here.]

Votes matter. If you're not going to bother voting in a primary, why should we expect you to vote in the general election? Note that, there are other important political races, too, besides the presidential contest. Other issues, as well, in primary elections.

And what does it tell you when Sanders wins caucuses which have, in nearly every case, a very low turnout compared to elections?

I saw nothing about this in the media when Nebraska announced our primary results, absolutely nothing. I hope the same thing happening in Washington will get some notice, at least. I agree with Josh Marshall. Caucuses should be abolished.

I'm fine with getting rid of superdelegates, too, but caucuses are the bigger problem. Caucuses suppress the vote. That's not anything Democrats should be doing.

No comments: