Our current system of backroom deals made by Party Bosses is untenable in an era so distrusting of political institutions and will be the end of the Democratic Party if not reformed.
By David Todd McCarty | Thursday, December 19, 2019
There was a time when America believed in its exceptionalism because it was a matter of faith that we possessed democratic institutions worthy of our confidence, that prevented bad actors from taking advantage of the public trust. Sadly we have left that field of play and have entered the seventh circle of hell, where facts are debatable, ideology is dependent on maintaining power, and morals are out for bid. We have come to a tipping point in this grand democratic experiment, and it’s not entirely clear on which side of things will fall.
In the last week, we have witnessed the impeachment of a President for abuse of office and bribery, with half of the country denying it’s very existence, as well as our very own Congressman defect to a party who did not elect him, in order to hold power by any means necessary. Throughout this, our Party leaders have proven completely ineffectual in their duties, since it was they who rallied around an unworthy candidate simply because he was politically expedient and willing to do the bidding of the top brass. This is not bending to the will of the people.
Congressman Jeff Van Drew has long been a closet Conservative who, if it weren’t for a strong Democratic Party machine in South Jersey, would have run, and won, as a Republican in an already conservative legislative district years ago. Party officials coddled and courted him, with the notion that they could control him on matters of importance, even as he voted against core Democratic values such as sensible gun control, gay marriage, and raising the minimum wage. That was until he made it to The Show, bought shiny new suits, and showed the world what he was really made of.
Jeff Van Drew is simply a blatant example of the disfunction of our political system, where powerful interests supersede the wishes of the electorate. Party bosses make choices based on political expediency, loyalty and personal interest, not the wishes of voters in their districts.
We need to rethink how we view democratic elections in South Jersey and if that means destroying the party in order to rebuild it, then so be it, but it would be preferable to work together to build a coalition that works for everyone, as we have no interest in anarchy. That said, the voters need a seat at the table, not relegated to the scraps that self-proclaimed elites choose to toss aside.
Progressive Democrats are tired of being treated as the petulant children of overbearing patricians, only listened to when we throw a fit, and then ignored as soon as it’s tenable.
We call on all Democratic Party Chairs to refrain from endorsing any candidate until they have property vetted each candidate and held open forums for committee members to express their opinions, ask questions and make an informed opinion.
In a pure democracy (from the Greek demos, meaning “people”) the citizens participate in government directly, rather than by electing representatives. One of the challenges in a direct democracy is that there is no protection for the inalienable rights of minorities, leading to the possibility of tyranny by the majority. The term, republic, comes from the Latin res publicae, meaning “thing of the people.” In Federalist #10, Madison explained why a republic, or system of representation, is the form of government best suited to protecting the rights of all. He wrote that the Constitution’s limitations on power created a government that would “refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.”
We recognize fully that we do not participate in a pure democracy, where each citizen is accorded a vote on every issue, but a fundamental premise of a republic should be, at minimum, that we all deserve the right to elect the person we wish to represent us to make decisions for the good of the whole.
It seems only fitting, therefore, that the Democratic Party end this charade of democracy and allow the people to express their wishes without interference from so-called elites, in order to elect those who we believe are best suited to govern us.
This seems to be a matter at the core of what it means to be an American, regardless of political affiliation, and central to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
All we ask is that you give us the right to vote for a candidate of our choosing.
We deserve that much at least.