I heard this as a rumor. From individual people, but, the intent is obvious. The intent seems to be to force the election before the caucuses. Whether or not it will happen is up in the air. Both candidates have to get fifteen percent of the caucus results. It just appears to me that the fifteen percent rule dates back to another time and is not necessary in the Democratic Party.
When my brother-in-law, Senator Paul Tsongas, was wrestling with his campaigns, there was no fifteen percent law, and he was known to say that, if there had been, he would never have been a United States Senator. The fifteen percent include the people who take the time to attend the caucus. Paul observed that he could never have gotten fifteen percent. He meant it. Fifteen percent is a great many votes by the citizenry. It is a law that is overdue to be dismissed. It helps the incumbents, not the challengers. Challenge is the purpose of politics. It is up to the people to decide, not the few incumbents who can control, through their masses of supporters who voted for the person who got them their job, the fifteen percent. I am saying that there is potentially a pattern there.
The rumor, and it is not supported by a large group of people, is that Senator Markey’s strategy is to commandeer the fifteen percent needed by Congressman Kennedy, by loading the caucuses with his supporters and denying the Kennedy people the fifteen percent that they need. I hope that there is no truth to the rumor. This should be a straight two man Democratic race. That is what the people want and that is what the people deserve.
Fifteen percent has nothing to do with reality. It is an arbitrary figure. It could be twenty-five percent, it could be twenty-three percent. It is not based on law, it is “discretionary, capricious, (even) despotic,” according to Webster’s “Oxford Dictionary.” My contention is that it is based on fictitious rules.
The fifteen percent rule is based on fictitious rules that make it impossible for a person as relevant as Paul Tsongas to successfully run for the Senate. It just keeps the incumbent in incumbency. A friend of mine once told me that there were two parties, not Demcratic and Republican, but Incumbent and Non-Incumbent. With this approach, I have to wonder whether or not he was right.
If you have an interest in democracy, get to the caucus at 1PM on Saturday and vote for your candidate. In Lowell, it is happening at 1PM but no later than 1:45PM. That’s another rule that makes it more difficult to vote, but we will handle that one later.
I hope to see you at the caucuses.