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January 7, 2008

The ironic law of institutions
Posted by Avram Grumer at 11:25 PM *

MSNBC has a story about the national Democratic Party’s “super-delegates”, various party bigwigs who comprise 40% of the delegates who will pick the party’s candidate for president. The party set this system up after the 1972 election, to keep Democratic voters from picking losers like George McGovern, guaranteeing instead that we’ll wind with up with broadly popular candidates like Walter Mondale.

(Special note for Patrick: This post was written under the influence of Tyrrell’s Beef & Horseradish potato chips.)

Comments on The ironic law of institutions:
#1 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 01:16 AM:

Beef and horseradish you say? I must find some of these.

(sorry, I have nothing substantive to say on the issues at this hour, but now I feel compelled to go eat something with horseradish on it.)

#2 ::: Bill Humphries ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 01:31 AM:

But the parties are not government institutions, and for better or worse, get to determine how they nominate their candidates.

The office holders have a stake in who sits on the top of the ticket, and they have invested time and resources into the party.

Doesn't mean they make good choices, of course, but neither does a system that's biased towards the candidate who can hire the best media management squad.

Those potato chips sound good.

#3 ::: Jeliza ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 03:06 AM:

I was very irritated to discover today that although Washington State has a primary, the Democratic party does not regard the results of that primary in allotting their candidates -- that is all done through a (not well publicized) caucus a week earlier.

I guess I can finally vote for a Green in a national election with a clear conscience.

#4 ::: Rich McAllister ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 04:00 AM:

The best beef and horseradish sandwiches are Buffalo's "beef on weck", where the "weck" is "kimmelweck" a Kaiser roll with salt and caraway.

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 07:34 AM:

Jeliza, I've had serious fun at a Washington state caucus. Startled the hell out of Patrick, too. Those are fond memories.

Avram, where did you find the chips?

#6 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 10:11 AM:

I hope they're better than the dill pickle chips I had last week. Not really bad, mind you, but ... not exactly indescribably delicious.

#7 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 10:18 AM:

Oreo at dailykos has a list of superdelegates who have endorsed, and the ones who have not yet endorsed anyone.
Notice that Jimmy Carter & Al Gore are on the latter list.

#8 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 11:14 AM:

Teresa: I work around the corner from Myers of Keswick, and a couple of blocks away from the grocery store connected to Tea and Sympathy. Shall I look for beef and horseradish crisps for you this week? (I figure I can get to them easily during lunch, and faster than shipping them from the UK.)

#9 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 01:59 PM:

Teresa, Union Market (on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Union Street in Park Slope) was having a buy-one-get-one-free sale, so I picked up one Beef & Horseradish and one Mature Cheddar & Chives.

You could take the R train to the Union St stop, then either walk two blocks east to Sixth or take the 71 bus. They've got a Seventh Ave location, too, but I don't think that's any easier for you to get to.

#10 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Am I the only one that read Teresa's interrogative in #7 with a sudden shift in tone, an ominous reverb effect, and eerily glowing eyes?

Yes? OK, then.

#11 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 02:05 PM:

Er...#5. I was apparently too terrified to read.

#12 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 02:07 PM:

Bill, I've got just as much stake as any of those super-delegates. I'm a registered Democrat, and if the government screws the country up, I'll likely suffer more than any of those guys, since they've probably all got fatter bank accounts than I do to help shield them from the consequences.

Most important, though, is that this is yet another example of how the actual workings of democracy in the US betray the ideals we were (or at least I was) brought up to believe it served. The Democratic party claims to be the party responsive to the people, but heavens forbid that the people actually get to choose their candidate.

#13 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 02:14 PM:

The last few Precinct Caucuses in this small bit of Washington State, the democrats present were my husband, my son, and George, who I know from the 67 bus. Haven't seen George lately, wonder how he's doing.

The primary system in this state is entirely broken- at every level, not just the Presidential Primary. It was a blanket primary, with no party registration requirement, from the 1930s on, until a federal court decided that this forced the parties to accept candidates not of their own chosing. Most Washingtonians see this as a case of the elections being taken out of the hands of the electorate and into the hands of private, unelected bodies, but the truth is that we've never had much say in chosing Presidential candidates, anyway, and state and local office-holders are pretty much the same crowd that have been here since Abscam overturned the old power elite.

(Contemplating the utter lack of horseradish to go with tonight's roast beef. Darn).

#14 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2008, 02:40 AM:

Kayjayoh, #1, as soon as I post this, I'm going for salt & vinegar chips. Prescient of me to buy those today, what?

There's a chain that opened up near one of my doctors and I go there after appointments. Red Robin has a wonderful pot roast and horseradish sandwich. I know I should try something else, but every time I get there, I look over the menu and order the Pot Roast Burger (not a burger, chunks of pot roast).

Maybe I should buy some horseradish sauce next week. I have sandwiches at home sometimes.

#15 ::: Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 12:01 PM:

Does anyone know if the Republican party has a similar set up? It bugs me that the DNC is punishing states for holding their primaries "too soon" by disenfranchising voters. However, I do not get how letting people vote for whatever party they wish helps the party determine its pick to run in the elections.

#16 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 06:17 PM:

America, where we eat politics like potato chips.

Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

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