A Philosophy of Party Delegations
John Broder writes a brief overview and history of party delegates in Show Me the Delegate Rules and I’ll Show You the Party. He covers the differences between, and within, the delegate process of the GOP and Democrats.
I would summarize one difference is that Democrats general aim for inclusiveness and fairness and proportional votes while the GOP aims more for and winner take all races.
“Democrats, being the nice liberals they are, grade on a curve,” he said. “They give you delegates for coming in second.”
“Republicans,” he continued, “being mean social Darwinists, we tend to punish the second-place guy with a lot of winner-take-all primaries.”
In other words, the Republican who kills the buffalo gets all the meat; the Democrat has to crouch around the campfire and share it with his brethren and sistren.
I admire the Democratic Party path towards greater representation. And so, to move further along that path, my preference would be to rely on the total popular vote accumulated from a long series of state contests. This is because I like the transparency and enfranchisement of decisions by voters rather than super-delegates. And I like the idea of optimizing retail politics to force candidates to discuss and debate as often as possible. To me, the more voting we do, and more public debates, the better.
“The American Idea” is a continuing journey to be more inclusive, more representative, more fair, more practical and in practice, more free.