Monday, April 11, 2016

Could the Hilary Victory Fund explain superdelegate support in states won by Sanders?

Some of you may remember Margot Kidder. You know, the actress who played Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeves in Superman back in the 80s? Yes, I'm talking about *that* Margot Kidder. Turns out she's also an activist and writer living in Montana.

Kidder has made some rather startling observations about how the Democratic National Committee has worked with Hilary Clinton to buy the loyalty of 33 state Democratic parties. In her article, she shows us the nitty-gritty details of how the Democratic Party is using a Supreme Court ruling that gutted an important cap on campaign contributions from a single donor:
"The idea was to increase how much one could personally donate to Hillary by taking advantage of the Supreme Court ruling 2014, McCutcheon v FEC, that knocked down a cap on aggregate limits as to how much a donor could give to a federal campaign in a year. It thus eliminated the ceiling on amounts spent by a single donor to a presidential candidate."
McCutcheon is just one of the Supreme Court rulings that got us here and it's not even the most well known case to reduce the voting power of everyone else. In fact, Harvard law professor and former presidential candidate Larry Lessig has found a series of Supreme Court decisions (video) that were handed down over the years to narrow the number of relevant funders down to 132 of the richest people in the United states. These are the people who contributed 60% of all SuperPAC money and wield the right of nomination. The Clinton campaign, and all of the GOP campaigns are taking money from at least those 132 people who deign to run our country.

The story of the Hilary Victory Fund, in all its gory details, explains how Bernie Sanders can win a landslide in Alaska with 80% of the vote and yet at least one superdelegate still feels justified in her support of Clinton. That superdelegates was confronted by a voter in Alaska on Facebook, and in that exchange, she confirmed that she had no direct financial ties to Hilary. Yet she insisted that Hilary was the better candidate. Fortunately, at least one Alaskan superdelegate has expressed support for Bernie Sanders.

Notably, despite a landslide victory with 86% of the vote in Vermont, 4 of the 10 Vermont superdelegates are holding fast to their support for Clinton. We've seen similar results in a number of states where Sanders wins but the superdelegates pledge their vote to Clinton. This pattern of behavior could be explained by the Hilary Victory Fund.

In her article, Kidder describes a campaign finance system that is designed to allow anyone making an endorsement of Hilary, or a superdelegate holding steadfast support for Hilary, to be able to say that they have no direct financial connection to Hilary. The money goes from billionaires and millionaires to the Hilary Victory Fund, to the DNC and then out to the various state Democratic Parties to help fund campaigns. So few people understand the relationship of the Hilary Victory Fund to the DNC that plausible deniability allows elected officials and superdelegates to support her without admitting to any financial ties.

The deep and wide reach of the Hilary Victory Fund, and Hilary Clinton's network of political operatives appears to be using money to secure superdelegate commitments to Hilary long before the primaries even started. This arrangement was made back in August of 2015, before Bernie Sanders even announced his candidacy. Clearly, Hilary is dead set on not allowing a repeat of 2008 by creating an apparent financial encumbrance upon the votes of the superdelegates.

The Hilary Victory Fund scandal could prove to be a fatal flaw in her campaign. Campaign finance reform is the one issue that isn't being discussed as a major policy issue by any candidate among both parties, except for one: Bernie Sanders. Bernie isn't taking that money to run his campaign, and he didn't ask superdelegates to commit to him at the Democratic National Convention last year, and pay them for the favor.

Bernie Sanders understands that America has become an oligarchy and that most of us, the 99%, are asking for a few really simple things. We want a voice in Congress and in our statehouses. We want legislation to be passed on the merits, not on the amount of money backing it. And we want the right of nomination to be restored from the oligarchs to the American people. We're not asking for much. We just want a government that works for all of us.
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