I wrote a while back, as did may other bloggers and journalists looking for click bait or an easy assignment, about how, if the GOP held out any hope of maintaining, let alone expanding, their influence after the 2016 election, it was imperative that they regroup and evolve. No mere rebranding is going to suffice. Voters, for better or for worse, have come to distrust the hegemonic propaganda machines obviously engineered by marketing and analytics teams, hence their overwhelming support — at least as far as primary results go; the actual percentages are far more damning — for Donald Trump. I wrote this because it’s true and because I grew up in Georgia, and poking dead things with a stick is how we pass the time in between boiling peanuts and eating boiled peanuts.
But the past few weeks have made it abundantly clear that this message, this necessity, this come-to-Jesus moment is not exclusive to the Republican Party. The political process is and, let’s be frank, has been dysfunctional at best and shattered at worst for a long time now; this extends to the Democrats. And it’s a little difficult for me to admit this, because the process in its existing form certainly benefits Hillary Clinton, who I’m supporting; she’s the perfect storm of experience, social progressiveness, Washington clique-navigator and giver-of-no-f***s that this country so desperately needs. But it’s hard not to see that this business of super delegates and closed primaries does benefit her.
And no, Bernie Bros (aka Nerd Rage), I’m not suggesting for a second that, if the primary rules were any different, Sanders would win the nomination. Writers with more patience for math, charts and graphs than me have run the numbers and concluded that, though the race might be closer, Sanders would still lose out on the nomination even if all the primaries were open.
Because, like it or not, the Democratic Machine is a very real, very 800-pound gorilla type of thing, just like the Republican Machine, and it’s used to getting its way, at least in the context of the party. That’s why the Nevada convention a couple of weeks ago was so important, despite the inexcusable nature of how it went down. It illustrated, plainly and painfully, that this is not an issue the Democratic Party can just wish away into non-existence. Though they’re teetering dangerously close to the same sort of entitlement complex that they’re so angry about in the first place, Sanders supporters are backing him in large part because they feel disenfranchised; and the more the Democratic Machine, who, again, are fully behind Clinton, simply try to bowl them over, the uglier it’s going to get.
I’ve been old enough to vote in three general elections and, every time, without fail, the underlying narrative of sweeping change, of reform, of precipitous doom colors the whole proceeding. It’s mostly BS, a way to galvanize support for this or that candidate, to paint him or her as the apostle of whatever doctrine. I’ve tried not to buy into it, but it seems more real this time — maybe I’m just paying more attention, but I don’t think that’s entirely it. A new generation of voters is materializing, I think, one that is only going to vote the party line if they have a say in what the party line actually is.
There’s some movement on this front from the Democrats, which is heartening. The Democratic National Committee rules allow the chair to pick all 15 committee members, but the DNC recently struck a deal that allows split assignments between Clinton, Sanders and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Essentially, this gives Sanders more control over the party platform, which is really the entire reason he’s still in the race, despite the official statements from his campaign. This is a good thing.
The situation looks, and is, chaotic right now. But those fearing an Armageddon for either party can take heart in the story of our universe. Scientific American recently published findings positing that, in order for our solar system to end up in its current state, there were several million years of pure, unadulterated violence and chaos. As the things that would become planets settle into orbit, other planets were destroyed, matter was flung across billions of miles and the laws of gravity threw out a grappling hook that, over the course of several eons, gradually settled things into a rhythm.
It’s all going to be fine. Just know that, for now, it will keep sucking.