Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Texas Is Going Crazy

It's been twenty years since the late-date Texas primary voters have had a chance for a real say in the Democratic Party nomination contest, and the voters are stumbling about excitedly like chickens whose coop has been invaded by a weasel. Registration is up and neither those new folk nor hundreds of thousands of people registered for years understand our confusing dual system, involving some delegates chosen based on the primary, and some chosen based on caucus participation.

With Super Tuesday over, and two serious contenders still standing, it is chaos on the streets. Pros are coming in from other states, but many ad hoc groups of supporters are not waiting for orders, and are getting things going on their own. Often this leads to different and competing meetings and events. Schedules are literally changing by the hour. Anarchy rules!

True, my first two choices didn't even run this year, and of those who did, my first choice is already out of it here. While I ponder which imperfect (but still far better than McCain) next President to vote for, there is much work to be done setting up for those huge floods of newcomers at conventions, and helping show both factions how the process works. Dallas County alone has hired an extra 75 poll workers, and printed an extra 100,000 ballots just for the Democrats.

Mostly, both sides have been civil and positive here. I think it will still be that way at the precinct conventions on the evening of March 4. We won't see the kind of angry, bitter and even physical fighting Texas conventions had in the 1950's. That's because those days of railroads and lockouts and rump conventions happened when this was a one-party state with the segregationist reactionaries still fighting dirty to maintain their control. With the Civil Rights movement's victories and real voting rights, those antediluvian thugs defected to the Republicans. Yes, they do currently have every statewide elected official -- but at least they aren't messing in our primaries any more.

I have a feeling I'll be recovering all day March 5, but it'll be a really great feeling to have a voice for a change.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Only Savior For Democrats?

Right now Clinton and Obama are neck and neck, and the way upcoming primaries and caucuses lay out, there is a good chance that it will stay that way. At the Convention, it may boil down to whether or not the Florida and Michigan delegates (mostly for Clinton) are recognized.

If they are, she likely wins -- and the Obama people accuse her of stealing the convention, giving them an excuse to sit on their hands and giving Republicans ammunition to accuse her of being a corrupt manipulator. Great way to lose in November.

If Florida and Michigan are not counted, then Obama may win -- and the Clinton people accuse him of being anti-democratic and denying the will of the people , giving them an excuse to sit on their hands and giving Republicans ammunition to accuse him of being a corrupt manipulator. Once again, the Democrats are crippled or doomed in November.

Is there a way out of this dilemma, short of a Vice-Presidential deal before the Convention?

Yes. We can avoid this problem by turning to the only untainted candidate still in the race -- the forgotten Mike Gravel. What's more, he actually came in ahead of some of the already-withdrawn candidates (like Dodd) on Super Tuesday, bettering his usual dead last place. This means he's got momentum, or Gravementum, or Gravelitas, or something. The deadlock means turning to the man from Alaska.

In passing, we should note that this will not only avoid a bitter party split, but also best McCain's appeal to the most heavily-voting demographic, the youth-challenged geezers out there. Gravel (born six years earlier) is the only one who can pull a Reagan against McCain and talk about that Republican's youth and inexperience.