by William Skink
Evan Barrett has an opinion piece in the Billings Gazette where he tries to explain how Montana Democrats prevent delegate fights in Montana. While I assumed this has been accomplished through Montana Democrats selling their delegates to Hillary for $64,100 dollars, Barrett has a different take. Readers can decided how full of shit he is. From the first link:
While it took about five years to implement, the first big change to improve that system created something called “proportional representation.” Simplistically stated, if a candidate had 60 percent of the votes in a county committee, he/she would get 60 percent of the county’s delegates to the state convention. And the proportional support for that candidate at the state convention would be reflected in the percentage of the delegation to the national convention who supported that candidate. That change brought a lot more fairness to our process as compared to the old winner-take-all system.
But the numbers still reflected an insiders political game. So, in 1974, Pat Williams and I drafted a bill to re-create a Montana presidential primary so that the base of the presidential delegate selection process could reflect the preference vote of all Montana Democrats. Pat was not yet a Congressman but was extremely knowledgeable about the issue.
After moving from a winner-take-all primary to proportional results based on voting percentages, Barrett states that he and Pat Williams weren’t yet done improving the Democratic primary process. What they accomplished, Barrett claims, is a reduction in the intra-fighting between Democrats in America:
The way we Montana Democrats use the presidential primary, when combined with proportional representation, has minimized intra-party conflict. Under Montana Democratic Party rules, the votes of the electorate for each candidate in the presidential primary are reflected upward through the entire delegate selection process. The number of delegates each presidential candidate gets to have from Montana at the Democratic National Convention is proportionally “baked into the cake” as a result of the primary vote here. There are no longer any fights between the supporters of presidential candidates over the number of delegates they will have. If there is any fighting it is within the supporter groups of each candidate over who which supporter might get to go to the national convention, given the limited number of seats allocated.
This intra-group fighting is much less damaging than the inter-group fighting that used to occur before proportional representation and the presidential primary were in place.
So, as the race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders intensifies, the Democratic Party rules here in Montana have significantly reduced the rancor and increased the accuracy of reflecting what the grassroots Democrat wants.
Bullshit? Sounds like it to me. Let’s recap what is going down this year in Montana with Democrats, according to Margot Kidder:
Our state party leadership signed a deal with a woman who out here, on our turf, possibly wouldn’t last a week. They signed away our unobstructed right to choose which Democratic candidate we supported for President. Given that we have 15 pledged delegates and seven Super Delegates, we have lost our absolute right to have Super Delegate endorsements proportional to the wishes of the primary voters
For what? Sixty four thousand and one hundred dollars? Which we had to give back? That’s a pretty poor excuse for selling out our right to our own choice.
So which assessment of Montana’s Democratic primary process is more accurate, Barrett’s or Kidder’s?