When it comes to party alliance, I’ve always been an Independent. I never put the Democratic Party on a pedestal. It’s only recently that I registered as a Democrat, so I could vote for Bernie Sanders in the Florida Democratic Primary.
Yet, as emotionally detached as I am from the Democratic Party, I find myself feeling a deep disappointment. Apparently, unconsciously, I entertained a naive expectation regarding the Democratic Party’s attitude and standard of behavior. I thought it might be honorable and, well, democratic.
That misguided belief is corrected. Now I think of the DNC as more like… royal.
Too Few Debates, Less-Viewed Debates
We all know how the Democratic National Committee (DNC) scheduled only six presidential debates and placed them in low-viewer time slots. Many suggested this was intended to give presidential candidate Hillary Clinton an edge over her competition. I must admit, it did look royally bad.
Debate Eligibility Rules Change
Then the DNC changed the rules mid-stream so that presidential candidate Larry Lessig, anti-corruption champion, was ineligible to join the Democratic debates. This action seemed rather un-democratic, and perhaps the behavior of royal a**holes.
Super Delegates Need Protection
One day I happened upon this video:
Unbelieveable. The “royal” DNC Chairperson Debbie Wasserman-Schultz actually said…
“Unpledged delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists. We, as the Democratic Party, really highlight and emphasize inclusiveness and diversity at our convention, so we want to give every opportunity to grassroots activists and diverse committed Democrats to be able to participate, attend, and be a delegate at the convention. And so we separate out those unpledged delegates to make sure that there isn’t competition between them.”
The front of my mind reels that Debbie Wasser-Schultz openly admits the DNC aims to squash competition and the voices of American people. The back of my mind wonders, since when is presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders an “activist?”
The DNC Invites Lobbyists to Be Super Delegates
Now, this is really royal: I recently learned that the DNC invites lobbyists to be Super Delegates. Like me, you may have assumed Super Delegates were elected officials, like governors, mayors or retired members of Congress. To be honest, some of the lobbyists are indeed retired members of Congress – who have moved on to lucrative corporate employment as lobbyists after political retirement.
Lee Fang reports:
Lobbyists are not only staffing and financing Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, they’re also tipping the nomination process in her favor by serving as so-called superdelegates to the Democratic National Convention.
There are 712 superdelegates in all, which is about 15 percent of the total delegates available and 30 percent of the total needed to win the nomination. If the nomination process is close, superdelegates may effectively pick the party’s presidential nominee, potentially overriding the will of voters.
The following individuals are unelected, Clinton-supporting superdelegates who simultaneously work in the lobbying industry:
Jeff Berman… A “top lobbyist” at Bryan Cave LLP, Berman previously worked as a lobbyist for the private prison company Geo Group and as a lobbyist helping TransCanada build support for the Keystone XL.
Bill Shaheen… Shaheen’s firm is registered to lobby on behalf of the American Council of Life Insurers and PainCare Centers, among other clients.
Joanne Dowdell… is the senior vice president for global government affairs at News Corporation, the parent company of Fox News.
Jill Alper, Minyon Moore, and Maria Cardona are officials at Dewey Square Group, a lobbying firm that is closely affiliated with the Clinton campaign and retained by the Clinton-supporting Super PACs Priorities USA Action and Correct the Record.
Jennifer Cunningham is the managing director of SKDKnickerbocker…. In recent years, SKDKnickerbocker helped a coalition of corporate clients lobby the Obama administration on a tax cut for overseas earnings; lobbied for weakened rules governing for-profit colleges; and helped a food industry group undermine Michelle Obama’s nutrition guidelines for foods marketed to children.
Tonio Burgos… is a lobbyist registered to influence New York City officials. Burgos’ current client list includes Verizon, Pfizer, and American Airlines.
Emily Giske… is registered to work on behalf of Airbnb, Yum Brands (the parent company of Taco Bell), Pfizer, and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, a trade group for Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs, Fidelity, and Bank of America.
Although they make up only a small proportion of the superdelegates, the presence of lobbyists in such a potentially decisive role adds fuel to the critique that the Democratic Party is influenced by monied special interests. In recent months, the DNC quietly repealed rules instituted by Barack Obama that banned lobbyists from donating to the party.
— Lee Fang, The Intercept
After Lee Fang published his article, he realized he missed a few:
- Dick Gephardt – Former U.S. Representative (D-MO), now a lobbyist for Taiwan and Peabody Coal
- Tom Daschle – Former U.S. Senator (D-SD), now a lobbyist for Taiwan and Japan
- Chris Dodd – Former U.S. Senator (D-CT), now the top lobbyist for MPAA, the movie industry that backs SOPA and the TPP
- Howard Dean – Former Governor of VT and Chairman of the DNC, now works at a lobbyist firm and is a business partner with Newt Gingrich
It’s a good thing I’m not really a Democrat, or I would be royally distraught. Instead, I’m a proud Progressive. We’re the ones with a little class.