You have to earn them
Editor of the Reformer:
I have been a long-time fan of Richard Davis' column, so I hope his next column is about issues he deals with best — health for our citizens. I would like to respond to his recent column dealing with Democratic Party rigging (April 14) and present another view.
It is my understanding that delegates to the Democratic Party convention, which is slated for May 22 in Vermont, will pledge support to a candidate on the basis of voting during the primary, but they are not bound at the convention. Generally, at the national convention, for party unity they will vote for the candidate that has come to the convention with a majority of pledged delegates through primary voting and the majority of primary votes. So far , Clinton has more than two-and-a-half million more votes than Sen. Sanders (this is being written before the New York primary) and is ahead by 244 pledged or primary delegates, with a possible 469 super delegates to Sanders' 31.
So, where does the rigging come in that he wrote about? I realize Sanders' campaign activists are arguing for more super delegates now, but that appears to me to be more rigged than not. Please explain to me why the Sanders surrogates demand that Vermont super delegates support Sanders just because he is the home town favorite? This is a contest for the president of the United States, not for the president of Vermont. In addition, it is interesting to note here that not many Bernie supporters even showed up for the town caucuses after the primary vote, which makes one wonder about his organizations's goals — rhetoric or what?
Further, ironically, when you think of it — Sanders has opposed the Democratic Party in Vermont during his entire public career. Now that he is a Democrat (and welcome aboard) his surrogates want the rules changed because they perceive them as unfair to their candidate. Granted, in Vermont, it is clear that many people run on the Democratic/Progressive ticket, but it does appear Bernie does not have much, if any, background experience with the super delegates who work hard to support other Democratic candidates.
Well, please explain, why would a super delegate from Vermont support someone (Sanders) who has been an opponent to their party during his political lifetime in Vermont. And, why would these super delegates support Sanders when by the logical deduction of his rhetoric, he says that they are incompetent, corrupt or unqualified for public office just because they accept political donations and have super pacs. Is this really about rigging?
Sen. Patrick Leahy, Gov. Peter Shumlin and former governor Howard Dean have never betrayed the interests of the people of Vermont and will not do so at the convention. They will do the right thing.
It seems totally unfair to accuse anyone of rigging the election, while trying to rig the vote for your choice. One could easily argue Sanders will have to win the majority of other state delegates and earn the respect from other super delegates before they pledge to him. Sanders chose to be on the Democratic ticket, but hasn't committed to working for other Democratic candidates that we will need for a Democratic Senate and follow through with getting the next Supreme Court Justice in place. Sanders is great for passion and rhetoric, so let's hope all those new voters he's inspiring will become involved in local elections and work for change.
I have the naive belief that if you want something to change in the political party of your choice, you work for it in that setting. Where has Sanders been for the past 26 years? Yes, representing Vermont voters ably, but not the party that he has now chosen to be the vehicle for his ambition. Where's party rigging in that?
I know we can agree that both candidates — both Sanders and Clinton — have promised to eliminate the terrible law that says corporations are people. I know, also, that we can agree that our political system needs change, certainly insofar as election funding. However, most importantly, we must approach change not by name calling but under the unified banner of the Democratic Party.
Steven Fine, Athens, April 17