By Brent Budowsky - 02/11/08 06:23 PM EST
This column is dedicated to young people as the world asks: Will Democrats blow it? The answer: only if Democratic insiders show contempt for voters and steal the nomination from the candidate who wins the most elected delegates.
Howard Dean is wrong. Democrats do not need an “arrangement” to fix the nomination. They need to respect democracy and seize the historical moment.
If party insiders fix the nomination against the will of the people — when the entire election is about repudiation of the old politics — it will be an act of monumental political disaster that historians will condemn for generations.
Do Americans want a party that throws out its exercise of democracy and brings in a bidding war of insiders bartering super-delegate votes for ambassadorships, perks for pals and U.S. attorneys?
There are three great truths about 2008:
First, there is enthusiasm and excitement in state after state that is thrilling, unprecedented and historic. There is an explosion of democracy, grassroots action, voter turnout, and small-donor fundraising giving Democrats an advantage of epic dimension.
Memo to John McCain: Instead of being hugged by George Bush and kissed by Karl Rove and pandering to the right, put Condoleezza Rice on your short list for VP.
Second, there is a tidal wave of discontent against the old tactics of discredited politics. The president and Congress share dramatic levels of disrepute. The notion that super-delegates might kill the baby of real change, in the crib of insiderism, proves how far from reality many remain.
Third, 2008 is 1932. America has already realigned for historic change through a fusion of Democrats and independents. Democratic turnout and fundraising soar. Republicans in Congress retire in droves. The views of independents mostly align with Democrats.
Barack Obama runs ahead of Hillary Clinton against McCain because he embodies the movements of independents, surging participation and hunger for change. Clinton finds almost half the nation strongly against her because she embodies a polarizing politics that Americans want ended.
It would serve Obama, Clinton and Democrats for both candidates and super-delegates to pledge to honor the verdict of voters.
Both candidates have an equal chance of winning the voting for delegates. If Obama wins the voting but is denied the nomination by an insider fix it would be widely seen as stealing the election and would doom Democrats in November.
For Clinton, a principled stand for democracy would be the greatest single act she could take to reach out to independents and supporters of Obama, without whom her nomination is worthless.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are witnessing today not only the moment of a new realignment but the birth of a new great generation.
Once upon a time in America, the old left a better world to the young. Now we dump on the young our wars, our deficits, our pollution and dirty politics, yet they respond with high hopes, good spirit and faith in democracy that should lift the soul of the nation and the sights of the Democratic Party.
Super-delegates, do not stomp on their dreams; they have earned them. Do not stomp on our democracy; it is not yours to barter. Do the right thing and you will be astonished and amazed at the pride you will feel for the rest of your lives, and at the history you will make, as the trumpet summons us again.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then-chief deputy whip of the House. He can be read on The Hill Pundits Blog and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.