Lack of Leadership Plagues Political Parties
Here is a question for you: if the leadership in our political parties has failed, how can we ever have leadership in Washington?
As I have earlier written, the handling of Florida and Michigan during the primary season has raised serious leadership issues by candidates, party leaders in Washington, and party leaders at the state level. Much of it boils down to two key leadership issues – decision making and consistency.
Here are the specific areas where leadership is lacking.
“Every vote counts”. During the 2000 national election the issue of “dangling chads” caused both parties to take a position that every vote should be counted. Although each party had a different concept of how to count the votes the Democrat National Committee, faced with a potential vote shortfall, spoke the loudest proclaiming voters could not be disenfranchised. Today the DNC is speaking the loudest in proclaiming, albeit using different words, that votes in Florida and Michigan should not be counted. The RNC is still saying every vote should count, however votes in Florida and Michigan should only half-count. Inconsistent!
“It’s not the voter’s fault”. Each election precincts throughout the country have votes challenged or make a case to have polls stay open longer because of errors in supplying voting locations with sufficient ballots. The vast majority of these issues are in precincts where democrats make up the overwhelming majority of the voters and also the administration of the polling sites. Their reasons are typically sound – voters should not be penalized because of the people running the election. Yet this is precisely what is happening in these two states. Politicians in Tallahassee and Lansing may have made the decisions but it is the people that are being disenfranchised. What happened to the parties’ commitment to the people that took their time to go to the polls and cast a ballot? Again, inconsistent.
“One person, one vote”. The United States was founded on the principle of one vote per person. Yet history has shown this commitment has needed to be clarified. Blacks and women both had to battle for recognition as a full people. Are the political parties now backing off that fundamental principle? Inconsistent!
“Rules are rules”. Lame, lame, lame. Yes, rules were made. But that doesn’t make them right. Everyday corporations change rules because they are not good for employees, customers, or suppliers. When rules are wrong, they must be changed or overruled. The rule was that candidates not campaign in states that moved their primaries earlier on the schedule. None of the candidates did. In the Republican Party following the rules does not have the impact because a candidate was clearly chosen. In the Democrat Party it is very cloudy – particularly because Obama took his name off the ballot. That was not required by the rules, as is evidenced by his decision to leave his name on the Florida ballot. Critics can say he knew he wouldn’t win, so taking his name off the ballot was a strategic move to create complications later – which it has. With his name off the ballot two moves were created. First, a drive for voting uncommitted to show the state was not 100% behind Clinton. The second was to encourage Democrats to vote in the open Republican primary pushing in an attempt to sway that election toward McCain. Indeed McCain polled better than expected. Not going with a full ballot was a poor decision!
Both political parties need to reconsider their positions to find a position demonstrating leadership. It is not as much of an issue in the decided Republican race as it has no impact on the outcome. However they are setting precedence for years to come that could create the same negative impression now being faced by the Democrats.
At the same time the Democrats, who claim to have creative new solutions to the country’s problems, have an opportunity to show leadership with a solution to the disenfranchisement of millions of voters.
Solutions are readily available. Re-voting paid for by already identified donors or counting the votes in full as they stand are just two such options. Of course, in the tradition of politics as usual, different camps are more interested in lobbying for solutions that give them the advantage without consideration for what is right.
Large corporations face these “pillars of power” decisions everyday. The good corporations find common ground. The bad corporations go bankrupt. But the great corporations find a way to do what is right without consideration of the pillars or compromise – they find workable solutions!