I have a very simple question for your folks and look forward to your comments and analysis.  Why is the nomination process so screwed up?  Instead of requiring each state to hold a primary, the Democrats rely on a patchwork quilt of elections and caucuses.  The caucus may make folks feel good, but it is a stupid unrepresentative system.  It only allows people who do not have to work when it is held the chance to participate.  By its very structure it is an undemocratic process.

And then there are the states that allow republicans and independents to participate.  So count me unsympathetic to the bitching underway about what may happen to the Democrats if this messy process continues to the convention and there is a good old fashioned political brawl to sort out who will be the candidate.  Maybe then folks will wake up and decide that a good old fashioned, straight up election open only to Democrats will be the ticket for selecting a candidate.  I am up in the air on whether to allow a winner take all formula or proportional allocation of delegates.  What do you think?

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.
  • Patrick Henry


    Both My Bears Have Arms..

    When Guns are outlawed…Only Outlaws will Have Guns..

    • Fred C. Dobbs

      “The correct moment for your Adversary to learn that you are armed is when he sees your muzzle flash. If your training is rigorous and you apply the lessons that you have learned, he will never hear the report.” – Grizzled old Firearms Instructor (long since dead), long ago, in a place far away.

  • Kathleen

    The state’s “rights” hogwash allows plenty of room for hanky panky in our elections. What is the problem with a consistent and uniform election system across the nation?
    I guess that leaves less room for hanky panky and that is a problem for many people who want to steal elections.

    Former President Jimmy Carter has said that the U.S. does not meet the Carter Center’s election standards.


    • ChrisXP

      The state’s “rights” hogwash allows plenty of room for hanky panky in our elections.

      Whatever you do, Kathleen, don’t wave that flag. It’s a red cape before bulls. Because not only the GOP will rally against it, so will the Libertarians and other third parties. They all take a v-e-r-y strong position with State Rights.

      Rally calls that will cause a 1992 backlash will be…

      1. Talk of not respecting State Rights (major no-no in the South, especially).
      2. Talk of amending the 2nd Amendment.

      Some things just isn’t touched, without a ugly, and literally bloody street fight.

      • “Talk of amending the 2nd Amendment.”

        What the hell is wrong with the right to keep and arm bears?

        • Fred C. Dobbs

          Or Bare Arms? (per Dan Whitney)

  • Tricia

    This democratic party does not represent a democratic process at all. As you mentioned you have those un-democratic caucasis that disfranchise most of the voters – they should be banned! Then there is this proportional representation business that will keep us without a nominee until the convention – and we might lose this since we only have 2 months to compete against McCain. Let’s make it as simple as possible – winner take all in all states. If you would have had that in place we already would have a nominee and would be competing against the repub. And then you have the DNC’s Howard Dean stripping Florida and MI of their delegates! What an idiotic thing to do! We have to seat those delegates – we won’t win in November if we don’t – I for one am from FL and is they disfranchise me I have vowed to vote for McCain – the democratic party doesn’t care about the vote then I don’t care about their party!

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  • ybnormal

    Larry, RE:
    “The caucus…is a stupid unrepresentative system. It only allows people who do not have to work…”

    Here in CA there’s no caucusing. I’m grateful. To me it seems like a synthetic creation of a temporary PAC. People are perfectly capable of organizing their own PACs on their own time without the DNC institutionalizing it. I say throw it out. It’s dirty bathwater, and there is no baby to save.

    So that leaves ballot votes and whether to allocate the results proportionally or winner take all. There’s valid arguments on both sides. In this case, the patchwork approach of “[making] folks feel good” is fleeting at best. It basically allows those who run the game to control the rules, based on the convenience of those with the most power. Even Vegas gambling has standards fairer than that.

    I think the best approach, whether we allocate proportionally or winner take all, or a compromise, is to use a standard that’s applied equally across the board. The Dem leadership needs to face the fact that they simply cannot be all things to all people.

    On another level as a perspective, here again in CA, there’ve been recent efforts at proportional allocation of electoral college votes in the GE, instead of the present winner take all. The problem is that only a handful of other states do this. Proportionalizing CA would have a sledge hammer effect on the GE, because the number of electoral votes is close to 2nd-TX and 3rd-NY combined. It would allow a small group (if they succeed), to affect the GE outcome, by changing the rules in only one state.

    Another perspective; the office of president itself was originally designed to be proportional, with VP being the one who got the 2nd highest votes in the GE. While George Washington hated political parties as a concept, we’re stuck with them anyway. Likewise, the proportionally elected VP process quickly fell by the wayside.

    There’s value in proportional representation, but it can’t apply to everything. It has to be balanced with other kinds of fair standards.