Today is Thursday. Saturday, I had my last meal.
My decision to not eat is a physical expression of the hunger that I feel for change. I will eat after the DNC (Democratic National Committee) superdelegate vote this Saturday. I hunger for democracy. How hungry would you be after 7 days without eating? That’s how hungry I am to end superdelegates.
My last meal was at my parents house. Fresh green beans, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, broccoli cheese casserole and cornbread… a perfect West Virginia summer meal prepared by the best cook in the world… my Mom. West Virginia home cookin’ is hard to pass up, and now I’m in Chicago, famous for their deep dish pizza, but I’m passing it all up because I hunger for something else.
My decision to not eat is a physical expression of the hunger that I feel for change
I’ve expressed my hunger over and over. I’ve driven 20 hours round trip to Chicago and slept in my car. I went to Las Vegas to a DNC meeting. I’ve driven 10 hours round trip to DC for DNC committee meetings so many times that I’ve lost count. I went to Rhode Island. I’ve educated. I’ve livestreamed. I started a blog. I’ve done all this because I hunger for democracy.
The source of my hunger? I’ve been waiting for the DNC meeting this Saturday since July 2016. That’s when the DNC delegates, of which I was one, unanimously passed a resolution to make major reforms within the DNC, most importantly to me, superdelegate reform. Many voters in the 2016 Democratic primary had their vote eliminated by a few very powerful superdelegates. My personal example, the West Virginia Superdelegate Disaster, is that even though Sen. Sanders won all 55 counties in the West Virginia primary, after the superdelegates weighed in, Clinton won WV with only 36% of the vote. Please explain to me how that was democracy? Please explain to anyone that voted for Sanders how their vote counted? Why did we even go vote? Why would we vote again (the real consequence)? We hunger for democracy!
The full body of the DNC will meet in Chicago starting today and on Saturday, August 25th, they will vote on a package of reforms. There are some very good reforms in this package, but the most important to me is the superdelegate reform. The DNC members will have the chance to keep superdelegates from changing the outcome of the primary and caucuses by keeping them from voting on the first ballot for president at the DNC convention. In other words, the DNC has the opportunity to live up to their name. They have a chance to vote for democracy, to let the people’s voice be heard in the primaries and caucuses. They have a chance to role model the type of government they seek to run. If we can’t role model democracy, how can we lead a democracy?
If we can’t role model democracy, how can we lead a democracy?
There are a few DNC members that are staunchly opposing this change. One of their talking points is that this change “disenfranchises” their vote. I think this argument is absurd, since they are arguing that it was fine that eight superdelegates overrode the will of the vast majority of Democratic voters in West Virginia in 2016. Their control over the process is what is most important. However, they can’t say that, so “voter disenfranchisement” is used to twist the message.
Now, for the good news. I believe that there are some really good people that are DNC members that recognize that the reforms are needed for all the right reasons. Then, there are others that only want the reforms because their internal polling (which I’ve been told about, but haven’t seen) and common sense tell them that they need the grassroots buy-in to win in 2018 and 2020 - and the grassroots want reform. Then, there are some others that don’t really like giving up their power, but feel pressure either from DNC Chairman Perez (who supports these reforms) or from the grassroots themselves. Honestly, I don’t care. Whatever their motivation, if they are voting for reform, I applaud them wholeheartedly. I believe, I hope, I pray that all the reforms, especially the superdelegate reform will pass. I hunger for this change.
So, I decided to not eat until after the vote on Saturday. This isn’t a hunger strike. It isn’t a religious or health fast. It isn’t even a protest. My decision to not eat is a physical expression of the hunger that I feel for change. I hope and expect to have my hunger sated by the passing of the superdelegate reform on Saturday.