It came out publicly not too long ago that the democratic political system in the US doesn’t quite work the way many people had imagined. When senior GOP official Curly Haugland told CNBC that he isn’t even sure why caucuses are held, considering the votes don’t matter, it validated what many who criticize the political system have been saying for years.
Here are two very interesting statements from Haugland as he spoke to CNBC.
“The media has created the perception that the voters choose the nomination. That’s the conflict here.”
“The rules haven’t kept up,”Haugland said. “The rules are still designed to have a political party choose its nominee at a convention. That’s just the way it is. I can’t help it. Don’t hate me because I love the rules.”
As this story made its way amongst the collective consciousness, people began to really question the system they are part of. And as people found out that a superdelegate can essentially decide who will be eligible for president regardless of what the public desires, anger set in — and for good reason.
Politicians always claim to be acting in the best interests of the people, but when you have large numbers of people voting for certain politicians and yet a superdelegate can still go ahead and choose different ones, how can that claim be said to hold true? In what way are the interests of the people being considered or represented?
This is what led Levi Younger of Eagle River, Alaska, to reach out to superdelegate Kim Metcalfe on Facebook and ask her to side with the nominee her state’s people were supporting — Bernie Sanders — at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Metcalfe, who is listed on the Alaska Democratic Party website as being the state’s national committeewoman since 2012, instead told Younger she would be supporting Hillary Clinton. Her reason? She had “negative” conversations with Sanders supporters.
You have to understand, in Metcalfe’s state 81.6% of people are voting for Sanders and yet Clinton will still get the vote, overruling the people entirely. And this will happen because of the vote of one woman who is making a decision based on her own personal feelings.
“I pointed out how our state’s caucus had turned out and hoped she’d vote for our resounding majority,” Younger told US Uncut in an email. “Things unraveled pretty quick from there.”
Let’s jump into this whole conversation. Below is also an image of the entire conversation so you can see how Younger approached the whole exchange from a respectful manner.
YOUNGER: While I understand your personal preferences would naturally come first (you are human after all) and conversations with Bernie supporters (not the man himself) would possibly leave a bad taste in your mouth, I believe that the people’s vote should probably have heavier precedent. Unless you were implying that it’s we are in charge of who you vote for, but rather something/someone else. Sanders will only be our nominee if those we’ve chosen to represent us do exactly that.
METCALFE: Again, negative conversations about our candidates do nothing to further Sanders’s cause.
YOUNGER: I’m not sure how negative it is to question your voting discretion in spite of overwhelming support. If critiquing Hillary or your apprehension to accurately vote for those you represent is negative, then I’m not sure you’re the one I’d like representing me.
Metcalfe then asked Younger where he lived.
METCALFE: Because I believe Hillary Clinton would be a better president. End of conversation.
YOUNGER: And that’s why people get angry. Bernie supporters can be quite vapid. But voting in opposition to what we voted for is only supporting the idea that Hillary and her supporting super delegates are in the pockets of others. Bernie won in Alaska. End of story. Your personal preferences for president are represented in your vote as a citizen. Not as a representative of your state.
At this point in the conversation, you will notice Metcalfe take a different approach, reminding Younger of her experience as a Democratic Party officer for decades and suggesting fairly bluntly that his opinion has no merit.
METCALFE: I’m in the pocket of no one. I have no financial connections to Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat. I am a retired union representative. I put in my time in the trenches for 40 years, and I really object to someone like you who has probably done nothing except caucus telling me what to do. I am voting for the best interests of my country. And that would be Hillary Clinton.
Younger let her know that he was exercising his right to vote as an American citizen. He also reminded her that those who supported Sanders in the Alaska caucus vastly outnumbered Hillary Clinton supporters.
YOUNGER: You’re not making a concerted effort to vote for the public. I am the public. Everyone who “did nothing but caucus” did exactly like we should. We voted. You, ma’m[sic] are the one who is missing the point. You said it yourself, you’re voting for interests. But they’re not mine not the rest of the, what 75% of the state who opposed the Establishment (40 year Democratic veterans content with the status quo) and their choice for us.
METCALFE: You know it all.
As the conversation was ending, Metcalfe told Younger that if he wanted to change the way the Democratic Party worked, he should get involved and work to change the party from the inside. He thanked her for the advice and told her to be the change she believes in.
YOUNGER: Thank you for your time Kim. You’re stealing this for Hillary. And you’re rubbing it in all our faces. If you find these comments “negative” it’s because what you are doing is wrong. As a citizen you get to vote for your choice. As a rep, you vote for us. In the end, we’ll hold you accountable.
METCALFE: Sure. You’ll be involved after the election?
YOUNGER: You better believe it now. Having someone tell you your vote doesn’t matter is enough to insight[sic] a riot.
METCALFE: Now you’re talking like Donald Trump.
How does this make you feel? Do we truly have democracy? Are we just voting for puppets who are selected based on methods of which many of us would disapprove? I’ve said for a long time that I do not believe a leader of a country has much influence over what happens in his or her nation, but I do think they can, through their public appearances and perceived power, influence their nation’s culture.