Monday, April 21, 2008

The Day Before Pennsylvania

Last March 4th I posted "The Morning of Ohio and Texas," and started by saying that by the end of that day, maybe we would know who the Democratic nominee would be. It certainly didn't turn out that way. After that primary day we had a few weeks of everybody (including me) wringing our hands about six more weeks of bloodletting by the Democrats while McCain consolidated his campaign, and that is exactly what we got. The good news is that this dark time didn't really change much. A Republican victory is still predicated on the unlikely circumstance that we have no national discussion at all of any substantial issues: the financial crisis, health care, the environment, education; even foreign policy and crime aren't issues that trend towards the Republicans this time around, and that hasn't changed. Not that it's not possible that we actually won't discuss any substantial issues between now and November. Big Media, that I continue to spend lots of time consuming for some increasingly inexplicable reason, is practically issues-free even now, the latest debate debacle being only the most conspicuous example.
Meanwhile the political situation is remarkably unchanged since I posted on the morning of March 4th. Barack Obama still looks like he's going to secure the nomination eventually, but Hillary Clinton still has a chance and can't be made to go away. I find my interest wandering off to Iran, Tibet, Cuba, Zimbabwe. But I do think that little blogs like this make a contribution, a thousand little voices swelling into a big noise when enough of them harmonize on a single note. And the note that I have to sound is this one: isn't the voter sovereign in our system? The electoral system, that is, is meant to serve the voters, not the candidates or the parties. Reagan understood that when he saw that George H. W. Bush and his buddy-in-arms James Baker had secured somewhere around twenty-five percent of the delegates heading in to the Republican Convention of 1980. Governor Reagan didn't presume to decide on the basis of whether he wanted to work with those guys, much less whether he liked them. He did it the old-fashioned way: he respected the voters. And here we are, Obama and Clinton separated at this point by about a half-million votes out of some 15 million votes cast in Democratic primaries thus far, Clinton running well in most of the big states that the Democrats need to win. I think that the difference between now and last March 4th is that the ticket has indeed been decided: Clinton has shot her way on to it. I would like to see them on the same ticket, but that's not the point. It's possible that we are already at the point where she has to be on the ticket, even if we don't yet see it clearly.

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