Your Vote Means Nothing

A few weeks ago, Hobokenites went to the polls in record numbers for the New Jersey Democratic and Republican Presidential primaries. All told, over 10,000 voters went to polling centers around the city. Amazingly, more residents voted in this primary than the last Mayoral election in 2005.

A Hoboken resident votes at the Elks Club   Hillary Clinton (remember, this is before the Omaba surge) won in Hoboken with 4397 to 3981 on the Democratic side, while John McCain beat then-candidate Mitt Romney by a 3-to-1 margin.

But unfortunately for all of you who voted Democrat, your vote, regardless of who you supported, apparently won’t mean a thing.


Here’s why: Barack Obama has won eight straight primaries by landslide margins over the past two weeks, and will likely make it an easy ten when the Wisconsin and Hawaii primaries are held this Tuesday. Clinton, already seeing the momentum that Obama has and understanding that it will continue to grow, knows that she’ll finish with far less of the popular vote and fewer delegates among Democrats. 2025 delegates are needed to win, but neither Clinton or Obama will get to that number due to the party agreeing (for now) to not count delegates from Florida and Michigan as penalty for moving up their primaries in January.

Way back when, Obama and Clinton agreed to not campaign in Florida or Michigan. But Clinton kept her name on the ballot on both. However, after she won Michigan (she beat “uncommitted” on the ballot 58-37 percent, but lost to pesky uncommitted among 18-29 year-olds, 48-43 percent), she threw a raucous victory party. And when she won Florida despite neither candidate setting foot in the state before the “election”, she gave a victory speech that resembled an event that is normally seen sometime in early November.

Both spectacles were deplorable. But nothing compares to Clinton now boldly implying that the popular vote of millions of citizens won’t decide the nomination. Rather, as she and her campaign aides claim, the race will come down to a select few hundred members of the party called “superdelegates”.

What is a superdelegate? In short, they are party activists, lawmakers, and former presidents (like Bill Clinton) who all get a vote at the Democratic convention in August. With both candidates likely to fall short of the number of regular delegates needed to win the nomination, superdelegates–many of them old-guard Democrats supporting the Clintons–may render everybody and everything else meaningless.

So in other words, Obama could receive several million more votes, win twice as many states, and most importantly for Democrats, present a true challenge to John McCain in November (almost all polls indicate that Obama would win a head-to-head matchup with the Arizona Senator, while Clinton loses in most). But those facts won’t matter if Clinton–who will do anything to win the nomination, including severely fracturing her own party and disenfranchising Obama voters–gets her way in what she truly believes is her entitlement of the Oval Office.

Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe tore into Clinton for the strategy over the weekend.

“The Clinton campaign just said they have two options for trying to win the nomination — attempting to have superdelegates overturn the will of the Democratic voters or change the rules they agreed to at the eleventh hour in order to seat non-existent delegates from Florida and Michigan,” he said in a statement.

“The Clinton campaign should focus on winning pledged delegates as a result of elections, not these say-or-do-anything-to-win tactics that could undermine Democrats’ ability to win the general election.”

A Clinton Presidency (which will never happen for several reasons, but that’s for another column) would be so polarizing to Washington, it would make the Bush Administration look like the inventors of the olive branch. No politician has higher negatives than Hillary, and if she ends up stealing the nomination through backroom deals with superdelegates and loopholes in a Democratic party system that is anything but Democratic, her caricature as a power-driven politican willing to do or say anything will be complete.

Whether Hillary wins pivotal states such as Ohio or Texas primaries on March 4 is irrelevant. Hillary Clinton isn’t about heeding to the will of the people (unless a policy decision is involved). Hillary is about Hillary. And power. And ego. And comeuppance.

Does Hoboken and the country deserve better?


But don’t count on her doing the right thing if it means her simply being a Senator again come November.