Democrats Narrowly Avert Threat of Democracy

In a historic and unprecedented move, the Democratic Party asked the delegates at its 2012 national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina to use democratic procedures to approve a platform amendment.

At the last minute, however, they avoided the whim of popular will by creatively interpreting an evenly divided voice vote as a two-thirds majority approval.

At stake were two issues combined in one amendment: the inclusion of a reference to God in the plank on religion and a declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel[1].


As usual, these changes were introduced by the Republican Party, which has assumed a role of leadership in the Democratic Party in recent years.

I spoke with former Los Angeles mayor and presiding Democratic National Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa to get further information: Tony, how did you get into this mess?

How could we have failed to mention God in the plank on religion and to endorse the Israeli annexation of Jerusalem?

Antonio Villaraigosa: Frankly, it was an oversight on our part. How could we have failed to mention God in the plank on religion and to endorse the Israeli annexation of Jerusalem? So who brought this to your attention?

Antonio Villaraigosa: In this case we owe a debt of gratitude to our Republican friends. I don’t know where we would be without their help and cooperation. Obviously, we had to correct this omission, which is why we used the official amendment procedure. So went wrong?

Antonio Villaraigosa: There were two problems, Barb. First, the amendment procedure assumes that delegates are compliant and will ratify whatever we put in front of them. That turned out not to be the case. Obviously, we need a better process for selecting and educating delegates so that they understand their role. I bet Saddam Hussein never had this problem. Given that the delegates voted contrary to expectations, weren’t you obligated to accept the vote? Everyone heard your parliamentarian say, “You’ve got to let them do what they’re going to do.”

Antonio Villaraigosa: She was just being a good parliamentarian and following the rules, Barb. However, rules of order and party by-laws are like treaties and other international law. They are meant to be followed only when they provide justification to do whatever we want. Furthermore, the teleprompter clearly stated “…two-thirds having voted in the affirmative, the motion is adopted.” In cases of discrepancy between a party vote and the teleprompter, we always follow the teleprompter. And besides, the teleprompter was scripted long before the vote, which is why the vote couldn’t overrule it. So what was the other problem?

Antonio Villaraigosa: Unfortunately, we placed two items in the same amendment. We thought that since neither God nor Israel is controversial it would be easy to get approval. In retrospect, it would have made more sense to vote separately on the two. How would that have changed the outcome?

This assumes that Israel is more popular than God, but I’m pretty sure that’s the case.

Antonio Villaraigosa: It would have allowed the more popular of the two items to pass. I realize that the less popular one would still have been voted down, but I think we would have been forgiven for overriding a vote against God, as long as the Israel section passed. This assumes that Israel is more popular than God, but I’m pretty sure that’s the case.
[1]No country on earth except Israel recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This is because the 1967 capture and annexation of East Jerusalem is considered illegal under international law. The Democratic party platform is therefore contrary to official U.S. policy.

Author: Barb Weir

Barb Weir is the pseudonym of a writer and social justice advocate in the San Francisco Bay Area.

2 thoughts on “Democrats Narrowly Avert Threat of Democracy

  1. It was a weird bit of last-minute second guessing. I’m not sure why the went the one way at first, and I’m not sure why they went the other way in the end.

    Just dumb all around.

Comments are closed.