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Democrats and democracy

 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:I think whether Sanders is or isn't a Democrat is a bit more nuanced.


True. I was referencing this quote where he said:

I'm not a Democrat, I'm an Independent, but I caucus with the Democrats



Bloomberg (the former mayor of NYC) wasn't a Republican until he wanted to run on the Republican ticket. This does happen.
 
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fred rosenberger wrote:Superdelegate for all future elections while he/she is still alive or the DNC charter is amended.


Whether or not s/he remains a member of the party?

I don't feel wildly strongly one way or the other on this issue. Unless you want national referenda on every little issue, whatever system of "democracy" you come up with is going to involve some sort of delegation. I think it's reasonable, however, for a vote in a party election, to have to present some sort of current membership credentials; whether you're a punter or a past president.

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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
To me, that seems like you are voting for A and B at the same time. And in this case, that B is a subset of A.

Let's take a non-political example. Suppose we run a binding poll on the ranch and the choices are:

  • Jeanne should remain a Marshall at the Ranch
  • Jeanne should remain as a non-moderator member of the Ranch
  • Jeanne should be banned from the Ranch


  • Since a Marshall is a moderator plus some of other stuff, that makes being a moderator a subset. And something that is implicitly being voted on.



    Ok, so as you say, sometimes one role is a kind-of subset of another, and in that instance, it isn't a problem. But in other instances it is.

    So Jeanne is moderating this forum, and I am cool with that, everything is smooth, and then one day Alex comes along and becomes a moderator too, but Alex isn't a good moderator - he is draconian, shows favouritism towards some posters, and isn't very pleasant. Paul Wheaton decides to call it a day as he has too many other interests to pursue, and so we have Jeanne and Alex stand as candidates to be the new owners of this forum (I'm not too sure of the structure at CodeRanch, so this is just an example).

    Now what if the rules state that whoever gets elected as the owner will have a super-voter role for the rest of their life, which means that in future elections, their vote is weighted ten times more than the vote of others. If I vote for Jeanne to be the owner of this forum, did I also vote for Jeanne to have this super-voter role? Absolutely not, I do not agree with the super-voter role at all, I find it undemocratic, but I know that if I don't vote for Jeanne then Alex might become the owner, and I would much rather have Jeanne own this place, so when I vote for Jeanne, I am voting for Jeanne to be the owner, the fact she will also get the super-voter role by virtue of becoming the owner is something that is beyond my control and something I did not vote for.
     
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    Ahmed,
    You did though. You didn't like the rules of the game. You might not be aware of the rules of the game in the hypothetical scenario. But you did vote for me as the lesser of two evils including all the responsibilities and benefits that come with it.
     
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    Ahmed Bin S wrote:I am voting for Jeanne to be the owner, the fact she will also get the super-voter role by virtue of becoming the owner is something that is beyond my control and something I did not vote for.


    But if, when you voted, you knew she would be given that power, it can be argued that you voted for it "by proxy".
    This is certainly true of the president as C-in-C, since I assume that most Americans understand that it comes with the office - just as the Veep (if memory serves) has a casting vote in the Senate. I have no idea how it works with "superdelegates", past or present, but unless you want to be able to vote on every possible subclause of power that comes with an office, then I think it can be reasonably argued that the power itself is elected if:
    (a) The office it was given to is elected.
    (b) The additional power was a matter of public record before the election took place.

    Indeed, if you took your argument to its logical conclusion, might you not be able to say that the Vice-President is not an "elected" office?

    Winston
     
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    Winston Gutkowski wrote:just as the Veep (if memory serves) has a casting vote in the Senate.


    Almost. The VP has tiebreaking vote in the Senate. Of course, there is no need for him/her to vote without a tie.
     
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    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Ahmed,
    You did though. You didn't like the rules of the game. You might not be aware of the rules of the game in the hypothetical scenario. But you did vote for me as the lesser of two evils including all the responsibilities and benefits that come with it.




    Winston Gutkowski wrote: But if, when you voted, you knew she would be given that power, it can be argued that you voted for it "by proxy".



    Ok, so I think the problem here is that you guys are treating the word "elected" as if it is being said in a formal language, instead of a natural language. Natural language has this thing called context, and people seem to be completely ignoring this.

    So say I am a taxi driver and I am the only taxi that is currently free, and a guy asks to go from A to B, and I take him, and when he gets off at B he kills the first black man he sees walking past because he is an extreme racist. Did I play a part in this murder?
    Looking at it formally, yes I did. Had I not given this guy a lift, he would not have seen that black guy, he might not have seen any black guys, he might have decided to go home and kill someone some other day and maybe he never would have got the chance to kill anyone for whatever reason. I definitely played a part in the killing of this guy.
    Now of course, natural language has context - when you talk about playing a part in something bad, it is within the context of "responsibility". If I knew this guy was going to kill a black person at B, then you could say I played a part in the killing. If I had no idea what this guy had planned, then you cannot say in natural language that I played a part in the killing.

    Consider the renewal of Trident. I am vehemently against it. Now suppose that it gets renewed. Some of my taxes will go towards it. Now, can someone say to me "You are a hypocrite, you say you are against Trident, but you are helping pay for it by going to work"? Of course they can't, no reasonable person would argue that I am helping pay for Trident by going to work. I mean, looking at it formally, they would be right - I know that if I go to work, I will get taxed, and if I get taxed, then some of that money will go towards Trident, so I could not go to work - then I will not pay any taxes, and then I will not be paying for Trident. But again we come to that thing context, and in the context I am having to help pay for it because I need to make a living.

    Similarly, before LGBT rights became cool, Bill Clinton was against gay marriage. The Democrats however got a lot of votes from LGBT people. Did these LGBT people vote against gay marriage by voting for Clinton? In the very formal sense, yes they did. In the context of them having to choose between a Democrat government and a Republican government that would erode the few rights they did have, they chose to vote for Clinton. No reasonable person can argue they voted against gay marriage by voting for Clinton.

    And the same is true of superdelegates. In the very strict formal sense, you can argue they were "elected" to that position "by proxy". In the context of what being elected to a position means, no one can reasonably argue that superdelegates were elected to that position. This is actually the accepted position of everyone I have known, and TBH, in this it is the first time I have ever heard anyone actually arguing that they were elected to that position. I have heard arguments before of why they are necessary, but never heard one before that they were elected. Even the Google dictionary defintion of superdelegate states they are unelected delegates.

    sd.jpg
    [Thumbnail for sd.jpg]
     
    Jeanne Boyarsky
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    I jumped into this conversation when you brought up Commander in Chief so my response was for that, not superdelegates. Aka the real election. For the primary, I think parties should be allowed to use whatever mechanism they choose to pick their nominee. And yes, it is interesting that the Democrats use more of a "hybrid" system than the Republicans.

    As to your examples, the taxi driver had no way of knowing he was driving someone to a crime. So no, he didn't play a part in the murder. Whereas with Commander in Chief, the voter knows (or could know if they were interested). With Trident and LGBT, taxes go to many things. Our social and fiscal contract is that we can't cherry pick what we pay taxes on or support everything our leaders do. And as you noted, we can't be for everything a candidate does. In the LGBT example, I suspect many people knew that neither candidate had a position they agreed with. However, one was going to get elected. And they knew when they were voting that the candidate had the power to do things they disagreed with.

    This can be taken further as candidates can change their mind after voting. For example suppose candidate A says he is in favor of B. And then after election makes an executive order against B. This scenario is unpleasant, but legal. And the people who voted for A did vote for A to be allowed to make decisions.
     
    Winston Gutkowski
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    Ahmed Bin S wrote:And the same is true of superdelegates. In the very strict formal sense, you can argue they were "elected" to that position "by proxy". In the context of what being elected to a position means, no one can reasonably argue that superdelegates were elected to that position.


    Erm, sorry. Either you accept my definition of "by proxy" or you don't. And TBH, I don't follow the "taxi driver" analogy at all.

    Either the power - superdelegate, C-in-C, or otherwise - was part of the office you voted them for or not. You can't claim afterwards that you don't like it

    Not that being unlelected is necessarily a bad thing, but that's another debate...

    Winston
     
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    Winston Gutkowski wrote: You can't claim afterwards that you don't like it


    Sure you can . You still voted for it though!
     
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    Winston Gutkowski wrote:
    Erm, sorry. Either you accept my definition of "by proxy" or you don't. And TBH, I don't follow the "taxi driver" analogy at all.

    Either the power - superdelegate, C-in-C, or otherwise - was part of the office you voted them for or not. You can't claim afterwards that you don't like it

    Not that being unlelected is necessarily a bad thing, but that's another debate...

    Winston



    I don't think you understood my post at how natural language differs from formal language - I think I'm just too wordy and not good at explaining myself

    Liking it or not liking isn't the point here. The point is whether someone was elected to a position or not.

    There are currently no elections for the position of Commander-In-Chief. Eeveryone knows that. You have no process where people can put themselves forward/are put forward by others, to be Commander-In-Chief, and then some sort of voting happens.
    So say John says "I am going to start a campaign so that the Commander-In-Chief is appointed after a vote takes place". Now if you are correct, if the C-in-C is indeed "elected", then what John is saying doesn't make sense because it makes no sense to start a campaign to have some sort of election process for C-in-C if there already exists an election process for this position.

    I mean, if I say I am going to start a campaign to allow women to drive in the UK, it makes no sense because they can already drive here.
    If however Mohammed says he is going to start a campaign to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia, it does make sense, because they currently can't.

    In other words:
    If something already exists, it makes no sense to say you will create it.
    If you say you will create something, and it makes sense, then that means that thing doesn't yet exist.

    Therefore, if the C-in-C is indeed elected, then it makes no sense for John to say he is going to start a campaign so that the C-in-C is elected.
    However, we all know that if John makes that statement, it does make sense, therefore it means that the C-in-C isn't currently elected.

    Jeanna Boyarsky wrote:
    Our social and fiscal contract is that we can't cherry pick what we pay taxes on or support everything our leaders do. And as you noted, we can't be for everything a candidate does.



    Exactly! And we can't vote for electing someone into each position that is out there - there are some positions for which there are no elections, and if there are no elections for a position, then you could not have been elected for that position. You might have got it by being elected for a different position, but there is no guarantee that you would have got this position too.
     
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    Ahmed Bin S wrote:I don't think you understood my post at how natural language differs from formal language - I think I'm just too wordy and not good at explaining myself



    It's true that there are different registers of language. There's formal language and then there's informal language, in various degrees. But I don't think there's a dichotomy between natural language and formal language. So let me assume that you were contrasting formal and informal language. But when I look back, you're just quibbling about various definitions of "elected". There's no formal/informal difference here, there's just a difference between what people will accept as somebody's being "elected".

    So yeah, superdelegates weren't elected directly to the position of superdelegate by the rank and file of the Democratic party. They may however have been elected to some other position, maybe by some other Democratic Party-associated organization. So there's a lack of information there, maybe a bit of sloppiness. (One might suggest that sloppiness implies informality, though.) But I don't see that the ambiguity merits a full-scale rant.

    And then there's the word "democratic". It isn't a word like "virgin" or "perfect" which requires an all-or-nothing process to determine whether it can modify what comes next. All kinds of things can be called "democratic" even if there's a whiff of autocracy, or even a stink of autocracy. So again I don't understand why the rant.
     
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    Paul Clapham wrote:

    Ahmed Bin S wrote:I don't think you understood my post at how natural language differs from formal language - I think I'm just too wordy and not good at explaining myself



    It's true that there are different registers of language. There's formal language and then there's informal language, in various degrees. But I don't think there's a dichotomy between natural language and formal language. So let me assume that you were contrasting formal and informal language. But when I look back, you're just quibbling about various definitions of "elected". There's no formal/informal difference here, there's just a difference between what people will accept as somebody's being "elected".

    So yeah, superdelegates weren't elected directly to the position of superdelegate by the rank and file of the Democratic party. They may however have been elected to some other position, maybe by some other Democratic Party-associated organization. So there's a lack of information there, maybe a bit of sloppiness. (One might suggest that sloppiness implies informality, though.) But I don't see that the ambiguity merits a full-scale rant.

    And then there's the word "democratic". It isn't a word like "virgin" or "perfect" which requires an all-or-nothing process to determine whether it can modify what comes next. All kinds of things can be called "democratic" even if there's a whiff of autocracy, or even a stink of autocracy. So again I don't understand why the rant.



    Good post.

    Ok, so I am sure you will agree that context matters. Two posters said superdelegates are elected members anyway - this was said in the context where I, and many others, say superdelegates are undemocratic. In other words, they were trying to suggest that as superdelegates have been elected to some other position, it isn;t really undemocratic that they are also given the position of superdelegate.

    Now as you say, undemocratic can mean different things too - but words have cultural meanings, and in the West, when we talk about something being democratic or undemocratic, it boils down to whether there was a fair process in which people had a say to elect someone to a position. Take Iran - they have elections. The President is elected. Do we say Iran's elections are democratic? No, we don't, because the process isn't fair - the candidates had to be vetted by the Supreme Leader - this isn't democratic.

    Similarly, the process where being elected as President in 1996 automatically gives you the position of a superdelegate is, to most people, undemocratic.
     
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    Ahmed Bin S wrote:Similarly, the process where being elected as President in 1996 automatically gives you the position of a superdelegate is, to most people, undemocratic.



    Sure. But on a scale of undemocraticness it's a lot lower than the elections in Iran and infinitely lower than those in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (a.k.a. North Korea).
     
    Ahmed Bin S
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    Paul Clapham wrote:

    Ahmed Bin S wrote:Similarly, the process where being elected as President in 1996 automatically gives you the position of a superdelegate is, to most people, undemocratic.



    Sure. But on a scale of undemocraticness it's a lot lower than the elections in Iran and infinitely lower than those in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (a.k.a. North Korea).



    Sure, but the bar is set pretty low when we have to compare ourselves to Iran or North Korea to feel good about our democracy.

    It's a lot easier to sit and look at all those people over there who do worse things than us than it is to look critically at ourselves and critique what we ourselves do wrong.
     
    Ahmed Bin S
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    This was brilliant!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuOBSCShBWI

     
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    Stevens Miller wrote:This year, we are seeing what it means when a party's leadership lacks the control necessary to fulfill that duty. We are seeing the nomination of Donald Trump.



    It is not hard to guess you do not agree with the man his views, and I don't want to rub it in any further, but Trump did win this election.
     
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