The question of what is the purpose of a political convention may seem a trifle simplistic to modern media pundits, but as three generations of teachers—and Democrats—in my family were want to say, there are no stupid questions; just stupid answers. So to all the politically savvy “experts” in the media and the Democratic political establishment nationwide, I recommend that you seriously consider—or reconsider—your own answer to this question, as well as my own answer below.
For a number of years, the presidential convention has simply been one giant publicity event, a raucous but essentially meaningless cheerleading rally for the pre-anointed candidate of the respective political party. We now have a prolonged and incredibly expensive process for selecting a presidential candidate, a process which is neither designed to choose the best possible person for the job, nor even the most electable candidate; and if the current Democratic Presidential nominating process is any guide, it is also not reflective of the wishes of the rank and file members of that political party, but the cynical will of a small circle of political bosses and their financial handlers.
Traditionally, the purpose of a presidential political convention has been to select a candidate; how the candidate was chosen has varied over the years, but in essence the convention was the medium through which this was done. Caucus, primary or smoke filled room have all been methods for selecting a suitable candidate; but the purpose has always been to choose the best person for the job, not to acquiesce to the political operative most acceptable to the billionaire class.
Since the late 1970’s, the leadership of the Democratic Party—the party of Jefferson and Jackson, the party of the common man, the working man—has transformed it into a “me too” party, mimicking the Republican Party, perhaps a little less austere and still giving lip service to American workers but in fact undermining them at every turn, but has been gradually abandoning the values of FDR and the New Deal, the very programs and values that had made the Democratic Party the dominant political party for half a century; the programs and policies that had not only reformed a broken economic system, but ushered in an era of unprecedented prosperity for most Americans.
Mind you, the wealthy also benefited from the economic programs of the New Deal, since we are a consumer economy and the more money American workers have, the more they spend.
The reverse, however, is not true: giving the wealthy undeserved tax breaks and various “corporate welfare” schemes to not result in wealth trickling down to the American worker. They never have and never will: Trickle Down economics, or whatever label you rebrand it with, is a proven failure and just a con to rob the middle class of their wealth and transfer it to the top 1%. What is a billion dollars in political contributions when it will return you in 100 billion in tax breaks, government subsidies and assorted outsourcing and off-shoring schemes?
Bernie Sanders portrays himself as a “Democratic Socialist” and that is fine if he wishes to characterize his solid New Deal derived programs and policies in those terms. Perhaps all these years the Democratic Party should have been more forthright to the American people about all those “socialistic” programs which created wealth and prosperity in this country. Those programs, and a strong Union movement, created the record postwar prosperity we enjoyed between 1945 and into the 1970’s. Perhaps then the Repugnican NeoCons would never have gotten to first base with their vile economic voodoo even in the Republican Party.
Now both the GOP NeoCons and the DINO Democrat NeoLibs are attacking Social Security and Medicare as “entitlement programs” that need to be cut to balance the budget. Even Ronald Reagan laid it out in simple terms that, while Social Security is technically in the Federal Budget, it DOES NOT contribute to the deficit; it is fully funded by the American people and their employers. YES IT IS AN ENTITLEMENT: YOU ARE ENTITLED TO THAT MONEY BECAUSE YOU PAID INTO IT YOUR ENTIRE WORKING LIFE, NOT THE BILLIONAIRES! However, every American should be aware that over the years Social Security has been raided by the Republicans and some Dems as a giant slush fund to finance Billionaire tax cuts and otherwise unfunded wars (like Hillary’s Iraq War). So, no Social Security is not “going broke” but the Billionaires and their Congressional toadies have been stealing from the till and need to put the money back,
However, to learn what the Repugnicans and the NeoLib Democrats have been doing with your Social Security money, listen to this radio show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqxMCjZxXYM
Hillary Clinton is a DINO—a Democrat In Name Only—and she and her fillandering husband have worked very hard to transform the Democratic Party in the Republican Light Party. Even many progressives in the party—and they are fewer every year—are largely afraid to cross the Clinton Crime Family or run too strongly against the NeoLiberal lies that the Clinton organization has made the new party dogma.
The Democratic Party needs to get back to its roots; nominate Bernie Sanders, move heaven and earth to get money out of politics and push through financial reforms and all the regulations that were put in place after the “free market” bankrupted America. The only reason these safeguards were removed was because of sheer greed. During World War II, FDR proposed a Second Bill of Rights, also known as the Economic Bill of Rights. Call it Socialism if you wish—but bear in mind the Pilgrims and the Puritans were socialists too and they never heard of Karl Marx.
Needless to say, all the phony trade treaties like NAFTA, the TPP and the upcoming TTIP and some 45 or so other scams to benefit multi-national corporations all need to be repealed and renegotiated into FAIR TRADE plans, where corporations are excluded and American workers benefited. Then, and only then, can this nation come back from the precipice and begin to return to a prosperous and just society.
Unless the Democratic Natonal Convention in July does its true duty and nominate Bernie Sanders as their standard bearer, our nation is headed for an even bigger financial collapse than we experienced in 2008. Hillary Clinton is a large part of the problem—her and the Republican NeoCons—and it is hard to say which would be worse, her or Trunp. If Hillary is nominated, there is a strong chance the Democratic Party will go down to defeat; if she wins, it is almost certain she will be impeached. Whatever vestige of Democracy we have is on the verge of disappearance. The Democratic Convention can reverse this dangerous situation, but not if it nominates the worst candidate they have had since the era of Boss Tweed.