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party-bosses-pick-candidatesNational Review:

The Left rages against Democratic ‘superdelegates’; the Right must envy them

Kevin D. Williamson

March 2, 2016


If you want to annoy a conservative pedant, describe the United States as a “democracy.” Tut-tut: Not a democracy, a republic.


The distinction is important, not least because the best features of the American system of government — the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court, the pre–17th Amendment Senate, the filibuster, the congressional committee system — are not only undemocratic but, to varying degrees, antidemocratic. It does not matter a whit whether 1 percent of the voting public or 99.9 percent of the voting public supports freedom of the press or due-process requirements: These protections are built into the Constitution because they are unpopular, not in spite of it.


The antidemocratic features of the American order are linked to the Founding Fathers’ belief that the fundamental rights of men come not from states — even representative states — but from God, and hence are unalienable. And unalienable means unalienable: by one man, by a dozen men, by a million, by a majority, by a supermajority, by a unanimous vote. This arrangement constituted, at the time, a rather extreme expression of ideological liberalism, which was foisted upon the people by — oh, pardon me for noticing! — the elites. Mr. Jefferson’s hifalutin francophilia and Mr. Madison’s Princeton-cultivated dread of popular passions shaped our founding documents, not the earthy wisdom of the Pennsylvania farmer, however hard-won.





It is a little ironic that at the very moment when railing against the “establishment” of either party is so very fashionable, the parties are in fact shells of what they once were. To the extent that there is a Republican-party establishment, it plainly does not have the power to, e.g., call down anathema upon a potential Republican-party presidential nominee. The day before yesterday, Marco Rubio was the anti-establishment, tea-party insurgent; today he is the establishment, if the doggie-treat salesmen on the radio are to be believed. If that leads you to believe that the word “establishment” does not actually mean anything, you are correct.


It was democracy that did the parties in, of course. One of the harebrained progressive reforms foisted upon our republic is the so-called open primary, which amounts to something close to the abolition of political parties as such. If anybody can vote in the Republican primary — Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, independent, etc. — then membership in the party does not mean very much, and, hence, the party itself does not mean very much. Instead of two main political parties, we have two available channels for the communication of populist spite; the parties themselves are mere conveniences for political entrepreneurs and demagogues. Trump might as easily have run as a Democrat — he is a longtime supporter of Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer, and he raves about the wonderful things the butchers at Planned Parenthood do — but the opening was more attractive on the R side.




If the alternative to vicious demagoguery is back-room deals negotiated by party insiders, then bring on the back-room deals.




Closed Primaries/Caucuses Bring Them Back!!!


(serious question)

Why should a person who is not a party member have say about who a party nominates for office?

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Should political parties be able to reject candidates?
Taylor Millard
March 2, 2016

Party bosses are certainly becoming all the rage, especially with the chaos on the GOP side and the rise of Donald Trump. National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson believes national political parties should be able to toss candidates off ballots, and blames open primaries for why it doesn’t happen.


I happen to be a fan of open primaries, mainly because I don’t like getting mail from political parties. Maybe that’s petty on my part, but it made sense when Tom Clancy wrote it in one of his Jack Ryan books. But Williamson does make sense because he believes open primaries have actually made it easier for demagogues to slip into the parties without being ostracized into their own little group. Williamson also believes political party bosses should have more power, especially because political parties are a private organization.


Williamson is calling for a return of pre-1968 politics, when the party delegates were mostly the ones who selected candidates versus what we see now with proportional primaries and winner-take-all primaries. The blame actually goes to the Democrats for setting up the national primary system because Hubert Humphrey beat out Eugene McCarthy in 1968, even though McCarthy was the more popular candidate. This caused Democrats to form the McGovern-Fraser Commission which successfully lobbied Democrat-controlled state legislatures to change election laws into what they are today. This is a little ironic, given how the Democratic Party is essentially controlled by “superdelegates” (thanks to the Hunt Commission), but it does show how the democracy can end up causing the mob to run amok and let demagogues in.

This is why Trump is the current “front runner” for the GOP nomination. It is the mob run amok (as I wrote earlier), but it’s also what happens when the elites don’t listen to the base. Matt Welch at Reason believes the elites are afraid of the voters they flock to every election cycle because they have no interest in actually being the limited government, free markets, freedom party they claim to be. This is why the GOP is in even more trouble because there are parts of “the base” which want to see the GOP burn and damn the consequences. It’s democracy in action.



From The Comments

Chris of Rights
Everyone at NRO has gone batsh*t crazy. No, we don't want to go back to party bosses making all the decisions. Wow, so much for "power of the people". No thanks.

And while I can see the argument for open primaries and have even taken advantage of them myself, I wouldn't have a problem with going exclusively to closed ones.
Like · Reply · 1 · 9 hrs

Rich Horton · River Falls, Wisconsin
You do realize "power to the people" was the rallying call of 1960's socialists, right? It never has, nor should it ever have anything to do with a conservtive party.

I certainly think the private nature of political parties should be emphsized. Today they operate as quasi-governmental bodies which was most likely a mistake on the balance of things. By definition independents should have zero say in who a political party puts forward as its candidate. And I do think "being a party member in good standing" should be a bare minimum requirement.

Really Drumpf is an illegal immigrant who snuck into the nominating process.
Like · Reply · 9 hrs

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