Having candidates for president, whom a majority of the voters apparently reject, demeans faith in democracy, reduces confidence in the political system, and shatters trust in the major Political Parties. In the upcoming presidential election, no matter who wins the public loses. What can be done to repair the damage?
A practical solution for re-invigorating a moribund Democratic Party and renewing faith in a broken political system is to have Hillary Clinton release her delegates and open the convention floor. It is mainly the political capital, invested in her for many years by close associates that steered Secretary of State Clinton to become the candidate. Followers anointed her as the leading political personality and failed to notice that her popularity had peaked several years previously and the larger public no longer favored the former Secretary of State as the first female president.
Hillary Clinton’s decision is contingent on Bernie Sanders announcing the same to his committed delegates. Neither can announce unilaterally but Bernie’s decision is worthless unless Hillary makes the first commitment to release delegates and Hillary cannot commit unless she knows that Bernie will also agree to make the same announcement to his delegates.
The purpose of a Political Party is to win elections and winning elections means having the best possible candidate. In this election, more is at stake for the Democratic Party than gaining entrance to the White House. Senator Bernie Sanders introduced new agendas and created new forces that have invigorated a new set of voters to participate in the political process. The candidate for president must be able to accommodate this changed appearance of the Democrats or the Party will split into factions, provoke the emergence of a competing Third Party, and strengthen the Libertarian Party. The candidate must also be able to gain sufficient appeal from all of the electorate so that Donald Trump is decisively defeated. Significant elections in U.S. history had mavericks Abraham Lincoln elected president to save the Republic and Franklin Delano Roosevelt elected to save the nation from economic and social ruin. This election has a similar urgency; the elected president must be sufficiently divorced from the political elites and be able to save the political system from ruin.
Secretary of State Clinton can achieve a monumental place in history by subduing her ambitions and recognizing the demands of her political Party, realizing her commitment to the public she embraces, and realistically surveying the unique situation the nation faces. Opening the convention does not mean she will be refused the nomination; it means, that if she obtains the nomination, the mandate will be more complete and the Party will be more unified.
The primaries, which had only two viable candidates, considered rejection as much as choice. After Hillary and Bernie were left, many voters selected their preference based upon refusal of the other rather than wanting either; there was no other place to mark the ballot. The two front runners may gain the most votes in the first balloting but it is doubtful that either will obtain the decisive number. As the balloting continues, the person who bridges the policy gap between the two front runners will slowly emerge as an alternative candidate, one possible example being Senator Elizabeth Warren, who can supply the cohesion for uniting all factions of the Democratic Party and provide the agility and guts for confronting and defeating Donald Trump.
By considering a politically favored personality before its most winning path, the Democratic Party exposes its irresponsibility to the electorate and characterizes itself as managed by a self-centered and self-defeating clique of bureaucrats. Main Street and not Wall Street is the decisive force in this election.
Dan Lieberman is DC based editor of Alternative Insight, a commentary on foreign policy and politics. He is author of the book A Third Party Can Succeed in America and a Kindle: The Artistry of a Dog.