Kowalko: Better a lit match in the ballot box

The News Journal | Delaware Voice | by Rep. John Kowalko

When a 12 percent Bernie Sanders’ margin of victory in the Wyoming primary translates into a two-to-one delegate deficit for the winner, due to the Democratic Party, super-delegate aberration we can clearly identify a serious problem facing the sanctity of the electoral process.

Here in Delaware as we rapidly approach the day, April 26, when Delawareans will be able to cast their vote of preference for the Democratic standard bearer in the presidential election, we are given small consolation in the fact that five of Delaware’s democratic “super-delegates” are pledged to Secretary Clinton and have been for months. This total disregard for the rights of the voters to have their ballot counted and used is absurdly condescending to all of those individuals who have taken the time to study the issues and the candidates’ positions on them.

The audacity of these precommitted delegates, here and across the country, displays an arrogance and isolationism not befitting the ideals of the Democratic Party. They might as well throw a lit match in the ballot box and spare us their feigned justification for being able to place their personal choice and agenda over the will of the electorate,

The biggest threat to a Sanders’ primary victory is the taint of the “super-delegate” process, a pejorative of the status quo within the party that intends to preserve an aristocracy of power in the party that hinders any outside challenges to policies or power-brokers.

Nothing is more threatening to a representative democracy than discouraging voters or disenfranchising them. Another 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.

It seems to be the intention of most of the super-delegates who have pledged before any formal vote in the states they come from to position themselves in the most optimum, political camp that will best nurture their future political ambitions.

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. From the moment the primaries and caucuses started it has been the consistent habit of CNN, MSNBC and other media outlets to tabulate a running delegate count that invariably includes the ten to one super-delegate presumption as part of Secretary Clinton’s amassed count.

Night after night, you cannot help but witness the scroll along the bottom of the screen screaming this artificially constructed unassailable advantage. It is irresponsible on the part of these networks and an inexcusable manipulation of potential voter’s enthusiasm and loyalty by the Democratic Party apparatus. This constant barrage of propagandist type statistical accounting casts a pall on future voters’ enthusiasm and can and will significantly discourage those voters from turning out on primary day to exercise their constitutional right to vote and have that vote count.

Let me make it perfectly clear that my challenge to this system is not based 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, 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 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.

John Kowalko is the Democratic Representative of the 25th District.

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