Posts Tagged ‘Principle’

Hillary Clinton: The UU argument against the democratic process

June 3, 2008

Today is the last day of voting for the Democratic nomination for president. On this day, the media is calling for, predicting, and ushering Hillary Clinton out of the race for the Democratic nomination. However, this is not the end of the democratic process under our representative government.

Hillary will NOT concede the election. Her campaign is mounting an argument of conscience to trump the Obama campaign’s reliance on representative democracy to the various delegates and super delegates.

Surprisingly, Hillary’s stance is not against the Fifth Principle that Unitarian Universalist congregations have agreed to affirm and promote:

The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;

Why the differentiation between the right of conscience and the democratic process? What happens when these processes conflict? Is it okay for elected officials to circumvent the will of the voters?

I’ll try to surmise the Clinton campaign’s arguments of conscience:

*These are not my arguments*

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1. The electoral map: To advance our causes, Democrats need to put the best candidate forward. It is immoral to vote for the weaker candidate.

Hillary claims to be the Democratic candidate more likely to win based on the delegate distribution on electoral map and therefore represents the Democrats best chance to win the presidency. Hillary has even been reported as saying of Obama that “He can’t win.”

Go to FiveThirtyEight.com for more.

2. The popular vote: The democratic process is perverted when electoral math overturns the will of the voters. It is immoral to go against the will of the people.

Hillary declares the delegate process to be undemocratic, as she actually won more ‘votes’* than Obama, despite trailing in the representative delegate count.

*This total requires a few conditions in which caucus votes from four states are not counted, but totals from two contests in Florida and Michigan in which both candidates agreed would “not count for anything.” (Campaigning was prohibited and Obama’s name was not even on the Michigan ballot).

3. The gender argument: Hillary’s gender has subjected her to unfair attacks. It is immoral to allow the bigotry of others to change one’s vote.

While Obama’s race has granted him a free pass from criticism, Hillary has faced open sexism in the media. In a just world, she would be seen as the better candidate and would be the nominee.

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It seems to me that while any one of the arguments may have merit, numbers one and two are inconsistent about the value of the electoral college. And numbers one and three seem to indicate that Hillary is both the most likely to win AND the most likely to fall victim to the attacks of the media. In this way, it seems the collective arguments discount one another.

Assuming Hillary believes her arguments of conscience, she cannot be said to be in violation of the Fifth UU Principle in her soon to be undemocratic quest to win the nomination.