We learned from Donald Trump that the Republican Party has a moral high ground; but the Democratic response to an endangered democracy is not exactly better.
Since the beginning of the Primary for the nomination, the Democratic National Committee has maintained its grip on political traditionalism, often arguing that the goal is to get “the right candidate” to beat Trump, but leaving the door open to ambiguity about its true intentions.
Does the system really work?
Although the U.S. Constitution makes no mention of the process for nominating each party’s candidate for president, since 1912, in general, the delegate system that puts the entire party behind a character who represents its ideals does not exactly match the will of the voters.
While this system saves resources when campaigning, the overall results do not equal public opinion.
Candidates such as former Housing Secretary Juliàn Castro or Senator Elizabeth Warren have spoken openly about the corrosive effect this system has on the country’s democracy.
“Our party should be the champion of reforms that protect our elections and expand participation,” Castro said back in November about the Democratic Party traditionalism. “Speaking up for the representation of every voter in our elections is as American as it gets, and if we can’t fight for that, then why in the hell are we Democrats in the first place?”
The latest developments in the Primary elections would seem to prove the former candidate right.
After a turbulent start in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, Senator Bernie Sanders leads the race with 60 delegates out of the 1,991 needed to get the nomination, closely followed by former Vice President Joe Biden with 54, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 26, and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar with 8 and 7 respectively.
However, both Buttigieg and Klobuchar have announced their withdrawal from the race over the past few days, being the two candidates who made the most effort to attract the white liberal center-left voters and to unify the party away from the divisive extremes.
While Sanders maintains a solid base of supporters, it seems that the Democratic Party is beginning to close ranks against his radical progressivism, for fear that the senator’s “socialist” label will cost them victory over Donald Trump.
As reported by the New York Times, the space left by Buttigieg and Klobuchar seems to give Biden the impetus to “capitalize” on his opportunities in South Carolina.
“If Mr. Biden appeared suddenly ascendant on Sunday, the Super Tuesday map still favored Mr. Sanders, given his money, organization and breadth of support in key states,” added the Times. “But the primaries on Tuesday remain highly volatile because so many Democrats are competing, each with some pockets of support in multiple states, and because Mr. Buttigieg’s departure makes his supporters free agents.”
Both Senator Klobuchar’s and Buttigieg’s decision to endorse Biden after ending their presidential bids after South Carolina confirms this anti-Sanders coalition.
Biden’s “comeback,” on the other hand, meant that campaigns like Warren’s had to reevaluate its possibilities.
In a memo, the senator’s campaign anticipated this week’s scenario much more clearly: “The reality of this race will be clear: no candidate will likely have a path to the majority of delegates needed to win an outright claim to the Democratic nomination,” wrote Roger Lau, Ms. Warren’s campaign manager.
For writer and activist David Atkins, the obsession with defeating Trump in November has caused Democrats to lose sight of the true meaning of the country’s failed representative democracy.
“The reality is that while Democratic voters are obsessed this cycle with who is most capable of beating Trump, pretty much everyone’s theory of electability is probably wrong and no one knows what will happen,” he wrote in his column for the Washington Monthly.
In one way or another, the political system is failing the country, and the consequences paint no less than devastating for the world’s most powerful democracy.