Harold Monteau: Some Democratic votes count more than yours

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama embrace at the Democratic National Convention on September 6, 2012. Photo from DNC / Facebook

With the 2016 Democratic National Convention approaching in July, Harold Monteau, a member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe, takes at closer look at role the party's "super delegates" play in the presidential nomination process:
What are Super Delegates, and why do their votes count so much more than yours or mine? Basically, they are the Democratic Establishment Elite. Reflecting the makeup of Congress, about half of the Super delegates are white men, even though they make up only 28 percent of the Democratic primary electorate. They are called PLEOs (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) in the parlance of the DNC. They are the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of each State Democratic Party, Democratic Members of Congress and other party leaders, past and present. While they number a little over 712 of the approximately 4200 or so Delegates, their “weighted” votes can equal approximately 10,105 votes equal approximately 30-40% of the votes at the Nominating Convention and do not have to reflect the vote of the Rank and File Democrats (You, I and anyone else who votes in the State Democratic Primary) in the state from which they come. They can also influence the Primaries by endorsing a candidate even before the Primary Elections take place. Their “endorsement” of one particular candidate can demonstrate to the Caucuses and Voted Primaries who the Rank and File should support, and who the State Delegates should support, if they want to be in sync with the DNC which controls a lot of money and power in the Democratic Nominating System and in the State Democratic Parties. Retribution after going against the DNC and the Establishment Elite can be swift as demonstrated recently when the DNC Co-chair Tulsi Gabbard broke ranks, resigned from her position as Co-Chair, and endorsed Bernie Sanders. She was quickly ostracized and voted of the Island, so to speak.

Aren’t our State Delegates, who are supposed to represent the Vote of the Rank and File, who outnumber the Super delegates at the Convention, supposed to vote in accordance with how we voted in the state primary? Actually, only a few states require that the “normal” Delegate’s, chosen at the state level to represent the Rank and File Democrats at the Nominating Convention, vote reflect the vote of the Rank and File in their respective States. Most of the approximately 3300 State Delegates do not have to vote in accordance with the Rank and File of their State. Only their “good conscience in representing the vote of the people” is supposed to guide their Convention Vote. Yet another rule that allows the DNC Elite to cajole and coerce Delegates into line and, in some cases even, “extort” the Delegate’s vote for some promised future assistance, or some future retribution for failure to go along to get along.

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Harold Monteau: Do Super-Delegates Violate Our Constitutional Rights? (Indian Country Today 3/20)

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