Read this carefully: I’m not a Bernie Sanders supporter who is going to suggest we change the rules of any primary or caucus midstream. I’m not going to tell you that the New York primary should be invalidated; there’s no time for that I would assume. But anyone — in any political camp — who doesn’t think yesterday was a clusterfuck and a pock mark on the election systems of New York, the Democratic Party, and the United States in general is kidding themselves pretty mercilessly.
The irregularities were so alarming that Mayor Bill de Blasio, who just endorsed Hillary Clinton while telling racially-charged joke at a fundraising dinner, called for an immediate audit of the city’s election board. Even knowing this could show where Sanders could have picked up more votes, de Blasio clearly gets what a horrible day yesterday was in terms of showing the world what it’s like to vote in New York.
I know a lot of angry New Yorkers will say things like, “Our rules have been this way forever,” or some variation. Cool story. Slavery was, like, totally legal for a long time too. Times change. And closed primaries are nothing more than the tools of the parties crafted to keep — God forbid — the people from choosing someone the super-duper, way smarter than the rest of us, elite power players in the party deems unelectable. You combine them with superdelegates, and you have in front of you all the evidence you need that the DNC cares first and foremost about campaign contributions, secondly about keeping themselves at the top of the pyramid, and thirdly about winning. Somewhere in the middle of the priorities list, I’m sure “counting every vote possible” is buried, too.
Also, can we talk about independents not being able to vote in closed primaries? Why the hell are any primaries closed? Oh wait, that’s right, another excuse for the party to control everything. Look, this can come off really easily as sour grapes from a Sanders supporter, but I assure you that this kind of shit would irk me if Sanders was in the lead. It wouldn’t feel right to me. Independents should absolutely get to vote for a nominee, in any party. As long as they still only get one vote per office, what does it matter?
Undoubtedly closed primaries have the same intentions behind them that superdelegates do — to move the will of the people to a “safe space.” The Dems are deathly afraid of the Tea Party, the “Rah-Rah!” contingent of the party will tell us. But I wonder how they’d all feel if the shoe were on the other foot. You can dress this up as whatever excuse you want, but the bottom line is that the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination system is anything but democratic, period.
Then you had the fact that voters were purged from rolls after four years of not voting. Gee. I wonder how often people tend to vote? That’s right, every four years. I’m not saying it’s a good thing that they sit out mid-term elections, but what a sneaky, dirty trick to make the deadline for party registration six months out and then to purge your rolls of people who have chosen not to vote for a couple years. Whatever happened to the idea that not voting was a valid voting choice? Oh, of course, I keep forgetting, party first, hearing the voice of the people second.
It would be one thing if New York was an isolated case, but it’s not. Arizona’s primary was an absolute shit show, with many of the same loosely above board shenanigans tainting that state’s primary as well.
People all over the political spectrum, who support all sorts of candidates, have several valid reasons to be skeptical of our primary process now. Yesterday in Vox, Ezra Klein laid out some pretty good arguments on behalf of Sanders, Clinton, and Donald Trump, as to why their supporters might question the legitimacy of this year’s primary results. That will only spell more headaches for whoever wins the nomination and/or the presidency, I would think.
No, there was no big conspiracy in the Democratic primary held in NY. That doesn’t mean their arcane and stupid closed primary rules didn’t help hand the win to Hillary, nor does it mean that the people who had their votes cast aside weren’t disenfranchised. When it’s all said and done, had the independents been given more time than six months before the election to register and vote, it still may not have resulted in a Sanders win, but from my untrained clownfuck perspective, it would have made it a lot closer.
Team Hillary will rightly crow about their win, that’s what winners get to do, but between New York and Arizona, if you don’t believe deep down we have a fundamental voting problem in this country, I congratulate you on your historical levels of willful ignorance. Mayors don’t usually call for audits of elections, and certainly not when they think the elections are running the way they’re supposed to.
We need to election harder, America.