“The system is rigged!” Donald Trump shouts.
And there it is: possibly the only issue of importance that voters of all stripes agree upon.
Both major parties are controlled by a small group at the top, who determine the platform and select the party nominee. The challenge both parties face is portraying the selected candidate as having been democratically elected. Democrats created superdelegates to override their voters; the Republican system is more complex.
The GOP and What Passes for Normal
Each election cycle, disappointed Republican voters are puzzled when the nominee is announced. Yet the Republican presidential nominee profile is as predictable as it gets.
- Gender: Male
- Race: White or Hispanic
- Height: Tall
- Demeanor: Distinguished, commanding
- Issue focus: Fiscal and foreign policy
- Experience: Governor (preferred); senators and corporate executives considered
- Known as: Unrelentingly dull
- Support: Tepid
The primary process is deliberately confusing, and it comes down to 2,472 individual delegates. A candidate needs the support of at least half of the delegates to win the nomination. Each state has its own rules but in most cases, the delegates go to the convention and vote for the person who won the popular vote in their state or district.
Usually the nominee is a foregone conclusion and the convention is used to introduce the running mate. However, if no candidate has a majority, some of the delegates are unbound (i.e., they no longer have to vote for the candidate who won their state or district) and they re-vote. More delegates are unbound with every vote, until someone has enough votes to win. Gifts and promises of future influence are lavished upon the delegates by the candidates for months prior to the convention, just in case of a close vote. Thus, you have McCain/Palin 2008 and Romney/Ryan 2012.
This doesn’t feel right. It’s wrong. Wrong and frightening, with latent horror oozing from the mental pictures my brain is conjuring. I refer, of course, to the fact that I agree with President Obama on an issue of great importance: the Supreme Court.
I’ve mentioned before that I am a Court watcher and Justice Scalia’s death is a huge loss.
I totally understand why the Republicans don’t want Obama to select another activist justice. Apart from the threat to our civil liberties, this is a huge pick because it shifts the balance of the court leftward. It’s fair to say that the president and I have opposing views on nearly every topic of importance. The idea of another Obama appointee like Sotomayor on the Supreme Court for decades to come is frightening indeed.
But you know what?
Do it anyway. The Constitution says that appointing a justice is a role the president plays. The GOP’s argument is that Obama is in his last year and it should be “up to the voters” to decide on the next justice.
That’s such a putrid pile of garbage it’s barely worth responding to.
There’s no fine print in the constitution, nor anything about letting the voters “have a say”. That’s a particularly annoying argument since anyone who happens to be conscious is aware that the Republicans care not a bit what the people want, unless it happens to align with what they want. No, the wishes of the Republican establishment don’t Trump the Constitution (ha! I bet you’ll be hearing a lot of those in the future!)
Also, if the GOP had run a viable campaign in 2012, with a candidate the people supported, they would be the ones choosing Scalia’s replacement.
Back to dear self. To add insult to injury, Obama made a point I had been considering too: a president’s term is 4 years, so if letting the people have a say means what kind of president they choose, then Obama and his nominee are the people’s choice. (Just a choice they deeply regretted less than a month after the election.) Once again, the president makes an inarguable point
And yet, we have had a string of presidents (bush I, clinton, bush II, obama) who act with such contempt toward the Constitution, that we can only be sure that whatever motivates the president and Congress with respect to the judicial brench, it is NOT patriotism.
The Republicans are now attempting to justify their refusal to have a vote on Judge Merrick Garland by pointing out that the Democrats made an identical argument about waiting until the election several years ago.
You know what that means? It means nothing!
If the Democrats disregarded the Constitution, call them on it. Protest. (Does anyone ever counter-protest?) Fine them. But don’t try to outdo them by disregarding it even more than they do.
You don’t have to approve him, Republicans. But don’t be jerks, either. Give the guy an up-or-down vote and move on.