Yes, The Delegate Allocation Process Is “Undemocratic.” So What?

There are many aspects of the way delegates to the party convention are chosen that is "undemocratic," but it's unclear why this is a problem.

GOP Convention

With Republicans headed toward a potential contested convention for the first time in sixty years and supporters of Bernie Sanders beginning to realize that their candidates ability to win caucuses and small-state primaries isn’t helping at all in his effort to even come close to Hillary Clinton in the delegate count, many Americans are learning for the first time just how convoluted and arguably undemocratic the delegate selection process in both parties actually is:

When it comes to nominating presidential candidates, it turns out the world’s foremost democracy is not so purely democratic.

For decades, both major parties have used a somewhat convoluted process for picking their nominees, one that involves ordinary voters in only an indirect way. As Americans flock this year to outsider candidates, the kind most hindered by these rules, they are suddenly waking up to this reality. And their confusion and anger are adding another volatile element to an election being waged over questions of fairness and equality.

In Nashville a week ago, supporters of Donald J. Trump accused Republican leaders of trying to stack the state’s delegate slate with people who were anti-Trump. The Trump campaign posted the cellphone number of the state party chairman on Twitter, leading him to be inundated with calls. Several dozen people showed up at the meeting at which delegates were being named, banged on the windows and demanded to be let in.

Backers of Senator Bernie Sanders, bewildered at why he keeps winning states but cannot seem to cut into Hillary Clinton’s delegate count because of her overwhelming lead with “superdelegates,” have used Reddit and Twitter to start an aggressive pressure campaign to flip votes.

Javier Morillo, a member of the Democratic National Committee and a superdelegate from Minnesota, said he discovered his email posted on a website called a “Superdelegate Hit List.”The list had an illustration of a donkey, the party’s symbol, with two crossbow arrows behind its head. “I was a little annoyed,” he said.

Mr. Morillo, who is backing Mrs. Clinton, said he tried at first to reply to all the emails beseeching him to switch his support to Mr. Sanders, the Vermont senator who won 62 percent of the vote in Minnesota’s caucuses. But the volume has gotten so high lately, he said, “I haven’t been able to keep up.”

If supporters of Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders feel stymied by the delegate process, that is because it was designed years ago precisely to make it difficult for candidates like them to become their nominee — candidates who party leaders believe, rightly or wrongly, could never win in November.

Like with any private members-only club — political parties are not official government entities — the party leaders exercise considerable control over which candidate gets their endorsement and the attendant privilege of using their political infrastructure, financial support and loyal voter base, without which winning in November is all but impossible.

In the earliest days of the republic, members of Congress determined the presidential nominees, cutting ordinary Americans out of the process. The national convention system has evolved over more than a century and a half to gradually decentralize the decision making.

But not completely. The role of Democratic superdelegates was created after the 1980 election to ensure that rank-and-file voters could not easily vote in an activist candidate. Superdelegates include major Democratic elected officials like governors and members of Congress; national and state party leaders; and notable party figures like former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Democrats have added more superdelegates over the years, and this year they will make up 16 percent of all delegates.

Each of their votes has equal weight to delegates awarded through primaries and caucuses. In New Hampshire, for example, the site of Mr. Sanders’s first big victory, he won about 150,000 votes and 15 traditional delegates. Hillary Clinton won nine traditional delegates. But because six of New Hampshire’s superdelegates are supporting her (the other two are uncommitted), she is effectively tied with Mr. Sanders in the state.

Republicans have far fewer superdelegates. But the way the party conducts elections — a complex, layered system of contests that selects local delegates who in turn select state delegates who then vote for national delegates — can be difficult for newcomers without sophisticated operations to penetrate, as Mr. Trump is discovering.

“It’s hard to start explaining now,” said Curly Haugland, the Republican national committeeman in North Dakota who has tried to draw attention this year to the important role that delegates play. Mr. Haugland summed up the collective realization of many voters this way: “These primaries weren’t really worth much — except maybe to spend a billion dollars.”

Even if Mr. Trump wins a state, the delegates who are supposed to vote for him at the national convention might privately support one of his opponents, and if no candidate clinches the nomination after the convention’s first ballot, these delegates are usually freed from the requirement that they represent the preference of the voters back home. The campaign of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has been working in many states to get his supporters named as delegates, even if they must vote for Mr. Trump on the first ballot.

Though some voters are only now discovering that sometimes their choices amount to little more than a Facebook “like,” party leaders today say the rules are nothing new.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, pointed out that superdelegates have been around “since 1984, the year I graduated high school,” and have never been a decisive factor. Sean Spicer, the chief strategist for the Republican National Committee, said of the rules, “This is a process that has existed since the 1800s,” even though he acknowledged, “It is incumbent on us to explain it.”

But the sense of futility is building among supporters of Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders, both of whom have strong appeal with people who already believe that a rigged political system leaves them voiceless and disenfranchised.

“It’s people who are in charge keeping their friends in power,” said Tom Carroll, 32, a union plumber who lives in Bethpage, N.Y., summing up how he viewed the electoral system. Mr. Carroll, who was at Mr. Trump’s rally on Long Island on Wednesday, expressed irritation at a system that does not always abide by the one person, one vote concept. “In other countries, we pay to fix their election systems and they get their fingers colored with fingerprint ink when they vote,” he added. “What’s the point of everyone voting if the delegates are going to do what they want?”

Even if superdelegates did not exist, Mr. Sanders would still trail Mrs. Clinton by more than 200 delegates. And his hopes of catching her in the traditional delegate race are looking increasingly thin with several large states favorable to her yet to vote, including New York and Pennsylvania.

His supporters, however, say their votes are effectively being nullified by the superdelegates.

“Our presidents, our congressmen, anyone in Washington, should not be decided by anyone but the public,” said Jordan Float, 25, a nursing assistant at a Philadelphia hospital, and a volunteer with the Sanders campaign.

In reality, of course, the selection of candidates, whether its for President or any other position, has generally not been “democratic” as the general public understands it, partly for historical reasons and partly due to the very nature of the process itself. In the days before primaries and caucuses started playing a significant role at the Presidential level, for example, the selection of a Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates was left entirely in the hands of the party convention, which was largely controlled by party insiders who traded votes for political benefits or higher office on a regular basis. Quite often, the battles among party bosses would be contentious and it would take more than one ballot for a consensus candidate to emerge among the delegates, with perhaps the most extreme example of that being the Democratic National Convention of 1924 which lasted two weeks and took 103 ballots to pick John Davis as the party’s standard bearer only to see him go on to lose to Calvin Coolidge in the General Election.  This method of picking Presidential candidates continued right up through the late 1960s for the most part, although it had started falling apart earlier than that as many states began holding primaries that were, for the most part, binding on the delegates sent to the respective national conventions. Today, at least on the surface, the Presidential nomination process is far more “democratic” in the sense that it at least nominally reflects the results of the primaries and caucuses held nationwide, although the reality is far more complicated than that.

In many states, the outcome of a primary or caucus is quite often only the first step in the process that ultimately leads to the selection of delegates, and in some sense it isn’t even the most important one. The “real” work of picking delegates in many states, for example, is left to local and county party conventions, and ultimately a state party convention at which the final delegate selections are made. These selections are typically tightly controlled by party leaders and often easily manipulated by well-organized campaigns even on behalf of a candidate who did not win the primary or caucus. Four years ago, for example, supporters of Ron Paul were able to use to the convention process to get many pro-Paul delegates into the convention even though they were obligated to support Romney, or whoever had won the primary or caucus, on the first ballot. This year, it appears that Ted Cruz’s campaign is doing much the same thing, something which could prove to be crucial if the Republican convention goes beyond a first ballot. More importantly, though, it appears likely that if the GOP is unable to pick a nominee on the first ballot it is likely that that ultimate nominee will be someone other than the the person who will have won the most delegates, garnered the most popular votes, and won the most states.

If that happens, it is likely to lead many supporters of the candidate who comes out on the short end feeling as if the process has not been fair, or at least that it has not been “democratic.” On some level, I suppose, the answer to this question is “no,” and the same answer applies to the question of whether the Democratic Party’s use of superdelegates is “democratic.” In the end, though, I’m not sure that this is a fair criticism of either party or its delegate allocation process. Political parties are, after all, private organizations. Because of that, they ought to be free to select delegates to their conventions and candidates for office however they see fit. If the members of the party don’t like the method being used, then they can get involved in the governance of their party and change the rules. As a general rule, though, it strikes me that complaining about the “undemocratic” nature of party rules like those governing delegate selection is really little more than a way of trying to make up for failures of a campaign itself. If the Trump campaign finds itself blindsided by the fact that it didn’t adequately prepare for the possibility that the GOP convention could go to a second or third ballot, then that’s really it’s own fault, not the fault of “undemocratic” delegate selection rules. These are the rules of the game that Trump agreed to play, it’s rather late to start complaining now.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2016, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    It is humorous, that Sanders’ supporters are crying about the undemocratic nature of the selection process when Sanders has won most of his delegates in states that use a caucus system.

    Trump deserves his fate, the failure to build any sort of organization shows that his candidacy was an ego trip from the start. Holy Mouse That Roared, Batman

  2. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Because of that, they ought to be free to select delegates to their conventions and candidates for office however they see fit. If the members of the party don’t like the method being used, then they can get involved in the governance of their party and change the rules [or they can just start their own party & do whatever they like with it]

    (italics mine)

    Bingo 🙂

  3. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    It is humorous, that Sanders’ supporters are crying about the undemocratic nature of the selection process

    What I am finding amusing is the way that they have railed against superdelegates being “undemocratic” for months now, only to pivot and start asserting that superdelegates are actually ok (as long as they support Sanders).

    In other words, they couldn’t care in the least about anything being democratic. They simply want to win (and they’ve now decided that how they win doesn’t matter, as long as they do …)

  4. Slugger says:

    I’ll bite. If the political parties were truly “private organizations” as Dr. Mataconis deems them, then certainly their internal machinations to choose leadership and the face they show the public would not be answerable to the general public. However, the reality is that the reins of government are firmly controlled by a duopoly. There is no market for governance; if you don’t like the government you can’t go to the other guys across the street for a better deal. Consequently, we are all being ruled by these people and have a real interest in their internal workings. I am uncomfortable with the idea that my only options are at the end of the process when I am in the voting booth. Many of us have voted for the one who stinks the least rather than voting for someone we really wanted.

  5. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Slugger:

    However, the reality is that the reins of government are firmly controlled by a duopoly.

    Enabled by the voters who keep voting for the candidates fielded by that duopoly. If there truly was a market for a third party, a viable one would already have constituted itself long before now.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    However, the reality is that the reins of government are firmly controlled by a duopoly.

    While the Founders never foresaw the rise of political parties, it was never their intention to create a democracy, a republic controlled by the right sort of people was the aim and the duopoly serves that purpose.

  7. Pch101 says:

    Alexander Hamilton (that Federalist Papers dude) was more interested in stability than popular will. The checks-and-balances system was intended to contain special interests and whimsical ideas, even if they were popular.

    On the other side of the aisle, the anti-Federalists wanted some things to be above majority rule, hence the need for a bill of rights that imposes some absolutes.

    So no, we’re not real big on democracy in its purest forms here. Never have been, never will be.

  8. john430 says:

    Yes, the parties are private organizations. Having said that, it appears that the Democrats creation of superdelegates protects incumbents and gives them with power to override the elected delegates and supports and encourages cronyism.

  9. Mister Bluster says:

    @john430:..the Democrats creation of superdelegates protects incumbents and gives them with power to override the elected delegates…

    Of course no Republicans would think of doing such a thing in Cleveland this summer!

  10. PJ says:

    @john430:

    Yes, the parties are private organizations. Having said that, it appears that the Democrats creation of superdelegates protects incumbents and gives them with power to override the elected delegates and supports and encourages cronyism.

    Yeah, let me know when that actually happens. It hasn’t happened yet and it won’t happen this year. Clinton will end up with a big lead in pledged delegates, the superdelegates will not subvert the will of those having voted in the primaries.

    The GOP, on the other hand, is scheming to give the nomination to someone who two-thirds of the primary voters didn’t vote for, it may even be someone who didn’t even run in the primary, this despite the GOP primary having started with the most candidates of any primary in history.

  11. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Much truth in that. The system as created by the founders was nothing like a democracy. It gave the illusion of being a democracy while in fact being a benevolent oligarchy.

    Consider that under the system as they created it, senators were appointed by state legislatures, not elected, and at the time pretty much every state legislature had requirements based on property / wealth as a condition of participation.

    Then consider the power that the founders gave the Senate. It alone can approve treaties. It alone can approve nominations to office (especially SCOTUS). It alone has veto power over anything and everything that the House proposes via the requirement that legislation must be approved by both houses of Congress. It alone has the power to remove officials from office (including the president).

    Heck, Jefferson and Adams, among others, vigorously defended the principle of access to voting being conditioned on wealth.

    People romanticize history, never more so than where the Founding Fathers are concerned. They were many things, and they created IMO the most stable government the world has ever known, but egalitarians they were not …

  12. Gustopher says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Enabled by the voters who keep voting for the candidates fielded by that duopoly. If there truly was a market for a third party, a viable one would already have constituted itself long before now.

    Except fewer and fewer people are voting — they are opting out of the process entirely — so you cannot really say they are supporting that duopoly.

    The start up costs of creating a new party are so high that creating a new one, and getting ballot access across the states, is nearly impossible. And our 50%+1 elections strongly favor a two party system, making it difficult for a third party to gain traction.

  13. Facebones says:

    I’m worried that I’m agreeing a lot with Doug these days. I should really see someone about that.

    But, yeah. The rules were already in place for Democrats and Republicans. It’s incumbent upon the candidates to know and understand them. Of course Trump had no idea. He was never in this for the long haul and I’m sure he’s as surprised as everyone that he’s gotten this far.

    And I find it endlessly hilarious when I see the endless Bernie Bro facebook posts about superdelegates bending to the will of the people. Well, according to “the will of the people,” Hillary has won more states, votes, and delegates. So Bernie Bros should be totes cool with them supporting HIllary, right?

  14. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gustopher:

    Except fewer and fewer people are voting — they are opting out of the process entirely — so you cannot really say they are supporting that duopoly.

    Yes, I can. They are making the choice not to participate, and in doing so choosing to accept the status quo.

    “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice” (hat tip to Neil Peart).

  15. HarvardLaw92 says:

    The start up costs of creating a new party are so high that creating a new one, and getting ballot access across the states, is nearly impossible

    Sanders raised $140 million, and ballot access isn’t as difficult as it sounds. You file write in declarations in the majority of states that allow write ins, and you focus your resources on gaining ballot access in the fewer than 10 which don’t.

    Difficult, sure, but not even close to being mpossible.

  16. MarkedMan says:

    If I have my history correct, Ross Perot actually founded a party that was truly democratic. And after Perot was no longer interested in running himself, a bunch of consultants figured out just what they could do with a completely democratic system, went into the nominating convention, got their slate on the ballot and proceeded to loot the party treasury by having their ‘candidates’ pay them consultant and advertising fees. The money dried up and the party is a non-entity today.

  17. rachel says:

    @Gustopher: I think it’s more that third parties usually get absorbed by whichever of the two major parties they are ideologically closest to before they get far enough to threaten the status quo.

  18. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    I also agree with Doug that the fact that the process isn’t very democratic and that the lack of democracy doesn’t matter to me to any great degree. I just liked the irony of hearing GOP leaders telling Sean Hannity “how many ways to we have to say that the voters don’t decide anything, the party does” last Wednesday.

  19. de stijl says:

    Doug:

    If that happens, it is likely to lead many supporters of the candidate who comes out on the short end feeling as if the process has not been fair, or at least that it has not been “democratic.” On some level, I suppose, the answer to this question is “no,” and the same answer applies to the question of whether the Democratic Party’s use of superdelegates is “democratic.” In the end, though, I’m not sure that this is a fair criticism of either party or its delegate allocation process. Political parties are, after all, private organizations. Because of that, they ought to be free to select delegates to their conventions and candidates for office however they see fit. If the members of the party don’t like the method being used, then they can get involved in the governance of their party and change the rules.

    I’m trying to figure out how the above arguments square with Doug’s disdain for / hatred of state caucuses as undemocratic and anachronistic. State party organizations can choose to have a primary or a caucus and make it open or closed, but any caucus is bad with this argument from another post:

    (From 2/24/16 Another Chaotic Nevada Caucus Helps Make The Case For Eliminating Caucuses Altogether)

    As I noted at the time, caucuses present real problems for a wide variety of people, including those who are ill or home-bound, parents with children, people who are required to work during caucus hours, people who may be traveling at the time of the caucus, and members of the military to participate in what is supposed to be an important process.

    Apples and oranges, you say?

    Doug’s main argument in this post is that it is not undemocratic because national political parties are private organizations that set their own rules and if you don’t like that then get off yer butt and do something about it. But, in the previous post about caucuses, his argument is that state political parties (which are also private organizations) are acting in an undemocratic manner by setting their own rules in how they select delegates if they use a caucus. No mention of getting off yer butt and getting involved and eventually changing the party rules.

    To me, those two arguments are totally inconsistent.

  20. Paul Hooson says:

    Jesse Jackson’s unsuccessful 1988 run for president seemed to lay the cornerstone in future democratic party elections where winning over the strong bloc of African American voters seems essential to winning the democratic party nomination. Sen. Barack Obama won this segment of voters in 2008 and 2012, and Hillary Clinton has so far this year. In addition, the superdelegates seem to also reward party loyalty. Both of these factors seemed to have really hurt the chances of Sen. Sanders to win the nomination despite proving great strength among white liberals.

    While African American voters within the democratic party have helped to really solidify their strength in the party. other groups such as Irish, Catholics, and to some extent, Jews, have diluted their voting strengths over the years. Some groups such as Hispanic voters give democrats new hopes as their numbers rise while many white voters drift towards voting republican, while white voters also represent declining numbers as total voters as well.

  21. Todd says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Because of that, they ought to be free to select delegates to their conventions and candidates for office however they see fit. If the members of the party don’t like the method being used, then they can get involved in the governance of their party and change the rules [or they can just start their own party & do whatever they like with it]

    (italics mine)

    Bingo 🙂

    Fine, then there should be no taxpayer funding of closed primary elections. If all taxpayers can’t vote in an election, then tax money shouldn’t go to pay for it.

  22. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Todd:

    If all taxpayers can’t utilize a school, perhaps because they have no children, should they be allowed to opt out of paying for schools? Should elderly people who don’t drive be given a credit for the portion of their taxes which funds roads and bridges?

  23. Todd says:

    Otherwise, I absolutely agree with this:

    @Pch101:

    So no, we’re not real big on democracy in its purest forms here. Never have been, never will be.

    I’m not a fan of political parties, at least not to the extent that just two of them control the process; and especially when taxpayers fund their “private” activities. However, the only thing worse in our current system is the ridiculous ballot initiatives/propositions that many States use. While one could make a compelling argument that many of our politicians are possibly not well informed enough about the issues they vote on, when it comes to the population as a whole, there’s very little doubt that electorate is very often too uniformed and/or too easily misinformed to be trusted with having the “final say” on our most important issues.

  24. Todd says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    If all taxpayers can’t utilize a school, perhaps because they have no children, should they be allowed to opt out of paying for schools? Should elderly people who don’t drive be given a credit for the portion of their taxes which funds roads and bridges?

    That’s a false equivalence.

    There’s long been consensus that schools, roads and bridges benefit society as a whole … including those who may think/complain that they don’t personally get any benefit in relation to the taxes that they pay.

    Please explain how taxpayer funding of “private” elections that explicitly exclude some citizens benefits society as a whole in any way, shape or form?

  25. Todd says:

    Just to clarify, I don’t necessarily have a problem with closed primary elections. I have a problem with taxpayer funding of closed primary elections.

  26. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Todd:

    Those citizens choose to be excluded. No false equivalence. That having been said, a primary election funded by and conducted by a private party opens the door to all manner of chicanery. The public benefits via the surety that an election conducted by the state is far less subject to the risk of such games.

    Were they to form their own party, or indeed even field a write in candidate, they’d enjoy public financing of their ballot effort as well.

  27. Todd says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    The public benefits via the surety that an election conducted by the state is far less subject to the risk of such games.

    I agree with this point. But if we are going to have a two party system, then citizens should not be forced to join a party simply because they wish to participate in the process. It’s not really all that big of a deal at the Presidential level. But in many congressional races, especially on the Republican side, the primary election is often the only election that matters. I don’t think it’s going out on a limb to say that closed primaries are probably one of the leading contributors to the increased polarization, and in the case of the Republican party, the extremism that we’ve seen more and more of in recent decades.

    I’m not implying that open primaries “solve” the problem. But when we already have some of the lowest voter participation rates in the world, it makes little sense to let an even smaller (and almost always more extreme) subset of that already small percentage make the decision about who will represent all of a district or State’s citizens.

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    @Todd:..when it comes to the population as a whole, there’s very little doubt that electorate is very often too uniformed and/or too easily misinformed to be trusted with having the “final say” on our most important issues.

    Come on Todd, don’t hold back. If you think citizens are too gullible and stupid to make these decisions just say so.

  29. Todd says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Come on Todd, don’t hold back. If you think citizens are too gullible and stupid to make these decisions just say so.

    I thought that’s what I did say. But just to be clear, yes.

    The only thing worse than our bought and paid for elected officials making important decisions that affect the lives of their constituents, would be for each of those same decisions to be made by a 50%+1 vote of average citizens, based on ads they saw on TV or links their friends shared on Facebook/Twitter.

  30. Dave D says:

    @Todd: It’s free to join a party and you can switch affiliation at will. If you live in a red state join the republican party and vote in their primaries, and vote for the less extreme candidate. For all the flaws in our system, complexity isn’t a major one. Even in most closed primaries if you’re an independent you get to choose which party’s ballot you get.

  31. Pch101 says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    It gave the illusion of being a democracy while in fact being a benevolent oligarchy.

    I would say that this mischaracterizes the intent.

    The founders were heavily influenced by John Locke, who argued that government shouldn’t do much and that natural law should prevail. Hamilton was concerned that special interests (factions) would essentially violate the natural order by elevating agendas above reason.

    Hence, the system was intended to make it very difficult to change anything. Change would have to pass through many layers so that it would provide sensible people with the chance to stop bad ideas. But the federalists also wanted to have the US to function as a nation, which meant having an executive who would provide leadership on foreign policy and some administrative matters (i.e. appointing judges and senior officials) while playing referee on the domestic front.

    Personally, I think that Hamilton and Locke got some of this wrong, but the political theory behind them was not intended to be dictatorial.

  32. gVOR08 says:

    @Pch101:

    …elevating agendas above reason.

    Certainly got that right re our current Republicans. “Movement Conservatism.” Why not just call it the First Church of the Conservative Faith?

    Federalism was, as I understand it, a small r republican philosophy of people choosing the best person from among them to represent them. This idea of people acquiescing to government by those recognized as the best people didn’t seem to survive very long after they ran out of George Washington.

  33. Pch101 says:

    @gVOR08:

    I would say that one of the flaws of Hamilton’s argument is the underlying presumption that the primary threat to stability comes from change.

    What we’ve often seen in the modern era is that greatest threats to the long-term success of the country comes from an inability or unwillingness to adapt to change. Along those lines, Hamilton is presuming that factions are self-interested change agents, when they often serve to perpetuate a quagmire that compromises our ability to adapt and compete with the outside world.

    More to the point, the founders anticipated that the government would not have to do much. That doesn’t really work today, when the world is changing rapidly and becoming more interdependent. Isolationism is dead.

  34. gVOR08 says:

    @Pch101: Good point. In Winner Take All Politics Hacker and Pierson talk about “drift”. Our system is indeed designed to make change difficult and drift is what you get when the numerous veto points are used to stop action. Drift preserves the status quo, which tends to favor those already favored by the status quo. Which is why Republican “elites”, our .01% and their minions, are content to live with a do-nothing Congress. They’ve got theirs and change is likely to help someone else.

  35. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pch101:

    I wouldn’t say dictatorial so much as paternalistic