Hillary Clinton has spent the last two months waxing noble about "letting the democratic process play out", i.e. leaving the nomination unresolved until every state has held its primary or caucus. Here is just one example of that refrain. How laudable.

Our democratic process is important. It's always a good thing when candidates and elected officials remember that. Hillary does. Perhaps that is why she had one of her staffers offer the Young Democrats of America $1,000,000 for the support of the group's two unpledged superdelegates. Believe it or not, this is legal.** It's just, you know, completely fucked up.

The strangest part about this is that Hillary is technically correct; she is letting the democratic system play out – our democratic system. The system is so thoroughly dominated by money that paying for votes, directly or indirectly, is simply par for the course today. This is the way the system works. American Politics v.2008 makes Gilded Era corruption and influence-peddling look positively quaint in comparison.

**I never fail to note (to my students' disbelief) that there's absolutely no legal reason a delegate or elector in the Electoral College cannot be bribed. George Soros, for example, could have contacted a bunch of Bush electors in 2004 and offered them $5 million apiece to flip. In the ~20 states that don't have pledged/committed elector laws, that would be entirely legal. Primaries (or nominations more broadly) are even worse; they're run according to party (DNC/RNC) rules, most of which have no legal standing.

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  1. Nan Says:

    Not surprising. I've read a number of reports noting that HRC's campaign is willing to spend quite a bit on "walking around money," i.e., buy votes. The only difference seems to be that she recognizes that superdelegates cost more per head than ordinary voters.

  2. Julie Says:

    You are being biased in your reporting and not telling the entire story. BOTH candidates are donating money to superdelegates and you are implying that only Clinton is. In fact, Barack Obama has outspent Hillary Clinton in $$$$ to superdelegates ( Tell the entire story please. Oh, that's right, it does not support your beliefs about the candidates so you do not state it.

  3. Ed Says:

    OK, I am through arguing with you after this. Feel free to never return, or return and post your misinterpretations of reality on every entry. I don't care.

    I don't give a flying fuck about Barack Obama. If you read at a 4th grade level or higher you would have figured that out. I am not "reporting." This is commentary.

    "Donating" money to the superdelegates' PACs is not the same thing as bribery. Calling an organization and blatantly offering them $1,000,000 to change their vote is quite a bit different than donating the legally-allowed $5000 or $10,000 to PACs when it is advantageous for them to do so. If you actually read that link you posted, you'd notice the mental disconnect between Obama's total donation to superdelegate PACs ($750,000 parceled out in $5,000 pieces) and the massive figure Clinton tried to give YDA. But of course you DID read it, you just can't understand what you read.

    You are like a really dumb fratboy who watched "Good Will Hunting" so many times that he thinks he is smart. You throw around concepts like "bias" as though you are conducting high-level analysis or meta-criticism when in reality you do not even understand what "bias" means. You lack the ability to construct proper analogies or understand the similarities and differences between sets of events.

    I am sorry to be the one to tell you this or if you think I am unduly "mean." But I spend all day suffering morons who think they are really smart and like to challenge me without being able to construct a coherent thought, and this corner of the internet is the place where I don't have to do that. It's my gift to myself at the low cost of $9.99 per month.

  4. Julie Says:

    You show that you cannot stand to be challenged. Instead of refuting the general point about the effects of money in politics, you lodge personal attacks. From your earlier posts, I gather that you are in education; I certainly hope you do not use similar tactics to quash disagreement in the classroom.

  5. J. Dryden Says:

    Ed, is this thing with Julie an homage to Andy Kaufman, where you both are in on the joke and are laughing at us and how we're cringing?

  6. Samantha Says:

    New subject: I don't like the purple-ish color that your hyperlinks turn after they've been clicked.

  7. Dustin Says:

    Ed doesn't do this in the classroom, but plenty of his students see this. I think it's pretty embarassing for him when he resorts to personal attacks… this is a guy who is nearly a professor.

  8. Ed Says:

    I will sleep comfortably with the judgment of people who don't understand what is or is not a personal attack. Let's do a quick review.

    "You are ugly and you probably molest children" is a personal attack. "You are a moron who lacks basic reading comprehension skills" is a statement of the obvious based on the information made available here, namely the comments. If one repeatedly makes comments that indicate that he or she is unable to read something, comprehend it, and accurately communicate the main idea, then I'm comfortable pointing that out.

    I like being challenged and corrected – by people who can read and understand a simple argument. I think you'd notice a much different reaction if you challenged me with something that makes sense. Instead, as usual, we see someone making a shitty argument and then whining about "bias" and "personal attacks" when I point out that the argument is idiotic. It's just like teaching – students hand in drivel, I give it an F, and they conclude "This professor hates me and/or is biased" – except that, in this instance, the State of Indiana is not paying me to be polite when people say stupid things.

  9. MR Says:

    To address Dustin's comment:

    I'm a student of Ed's, and I don't see anything that should be personally embarrassing in his blog entries or comments. In class, he's an excellent–and neutral–instructor, which is all that really matters.

    It's unreasonable and unfair to expect him to be Ed-the-instructor 24/7; I certainly haven't lost any respect for him by seeing him speak his mind on the internet.

  10. Jeff Says:

    Everyone's a prick on the internet at some point or another. Everyone's a prick in real life at some point too.

    However, I don't feel his analysis of Julie's statement is entirely flawed (perhaps extreme, but as he says, it's his website). There have been plenty of times he's expressed his lack of regard for both candidates, and for Julie to conclude with the implication that writing mild, fact-based criticism must automatically mean an endorsement of the other candidate or that it is biased demonstrates a lack of understanding regarding the post's purpose.

    After all, her analysis concludes that he isn't telling "the whole story" because he's trying to sell his version of the candidates, but that doesn't fit with the premise of the original post. His point was in describing the problems of the current system, one in which Hillary Clinton's finances are a symptom of a larger disease. She was used as an example and a starting point, not the purpose.

    That Julie would jump on his example as though that were the actual argument demonstrates a perceivable lack of critical thought in her post. It's wrong to call the post biased against Hillary when it critiques the whole system. He called her out on it, and it's his right to do so in any fashion he wants.

  11. Ben Says:

    Yes, it is your site; however, these claims of neutrality are absurd. In the search engine to the website, type Clinton; type Obama; type McCain. There are numerous negative postings on McCain and Clinton and none on Obama. In fact, one post even suggests that the media are being *too* critical of Obama–scrutinizing all aspects of his life–while giving McCain a "free pass." Of course you should post whatever you want but you should not insult the readers by claiming some sort of neutrality.

  12. Ed Says:

    Great! Show me the part where I said I was neutral.

  13. j Says:

    First Ed says, "I'm gonna rip off your head and sh!t down your neck." Then he rips off their head and sh!ts down their neck.