Here’s the first paragraph of a New York Times article on the dysfunction in the DNC.
Lacking a clear route to the selection of a Democratic presidential nominee, the party’s uncommitted superdelegates say they are growing increasingly concerned about the risks of a prolonged fight between Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, and perplexed about how to resolve the conflict.
And these people want to deal with the Middle East?
The story goes on to say that the superdelegates on likely to give the nod to Obama, assuming he still has the lead in elected delegates and popular vote at the end of the primary process.
But the story reveals, subtly, a larger problem for the Democrats. They cannot win the White House in November.
Many of them said that in deciding whom to support, they would adopt what Mr. Obama’s campaign has advocated as the essential principle: reflecting the will of the voters.
This would indicate Obama will win the nomination if he doesn’t withdraw. (He might withdraw because of his repeated lies about Rezko and Wright.) But Obama was never vetted. The party didn’t dig into his past because they wanted the Great Black Hope. The media ignored this superstar for the same reason, plus the laziness inherent in reporting. That left it up to the most vicious vetting corporation ever formed: Clinton Inc.
Had the Clinton campaign attacked Obama from the outset, his recent “lapses in judgment” would be old news. Either they would have done him in, or he would have risen above them. But once he obtained a popular vote lock on the nomination, it was too late to hurl dirt. The only thing these stories can do now is to make him unelectable in the fall. I believe that mission has been accomplished.
This leaves the DNC with the mother of all quandaries:
If Obama withdraws, large numbers of black Obama supporters will leave the party, at least temporarily. Without 80 percent of the black vote, Democrats cannot win.
If Obama gets the nomination, he will lose working class whites by the droves. They will either sit home or, more likely, vote McCain.
If the DNC makes a deal to give the nomination to Hillary, black anger at the party will be more than just apathy. The convention will be travesty with African-American superdelegates demanding, cajoling, and inciting. It will be ugly for the country, not just the Democrats.
In the end, the Democrats have only themselves to blame. Their vilification of George Bush made this election an emotional powder keg. The superdelegate and proportional delegate rules demonstrate the DNC’s long failure to understand organizational behavior and good order. They invite chaos unless one candidates sprints to certain delegate-count victory very early in the process.
These “inclusiveness” rules are dangerous even without the demographic divide in the current race. As this AP story (which MSNBC has pulled from its .com) indicates, the Democratic electorate has moved rather quickly to identification voting: white women for Hillary, blacks for Obama, the rest confused and feeling left out.
By that accounting, backed by evidence in exit polls, polarized politics is still ingrained, taking bites out of “Yes we can” unity.
The Republicans would be smart to stay out of this mess. It’s a no-win situation. The process will hurt the country just when our economy can least afford it. Smart Americans will rightly blame liberalism and the Democrats. Let’s hope that blame sticks this time.
UPDATE: Rick Moran at Rightwing Nuthouse disagrees. He says Democrats Will Be Fine By November (Probably)