We’re in the home stretch of primary season, but that doesn’t mean all’s well in the Democratic party. Aside from Hillary Clinton’s commendable tenacity, and the din of her vocal, though dwindling supporters, there’s a new tussle a brewing: the delegate selection tussle.
Many state parties have shown resistance to the Democratic National Committee’s Shay Amendment, a measure that set so-called “gay goals.” These numeric marks were set to help each state or territory include gay people in their overall delegate camp. Unfortunately, things haven’t worked out quite as planned. And, if you haven’t read part one, you’d better catch up.
Like everything in politics, the delegate selection process involves loads of “horse-trading,” to borrow a phrase from Chip Arndt. Arndt’s name may be most familiar from his stint on The Amazing Race, but he’s also made a name for himself as a strategist and Democratic activist.
When asked to explain the role national campaigns and the party play in the selection process, Arndt replied, “Politics is not always logical and we all know that politics is not always fair. Back room deals are made all of the time, sacrificing one piece of “good” legislation for another.” He went on to laud the DNC for adopting the Shay Amendment, although does offer a heavy dose of reality: “There are no guarantees that [gay goals will be met] unless state Democratic Party leaders work hard with LGBT states leaders to ensure that state LGBT goals for representation, which vary from state to state, are met.”
Ardnt’s words bring us back to Louisiana and comments that the state party had been “resistant” to gay delegates – and those distasteful allegations that Obama-supporting locals had nixed queer candidates from the selection roster.
The claim sprang from Clinton-backing Jon Winkleman, whose email to a gay listserve got leaked to me. The Obama campaign dismissed Winkleman’s words, but Louisiana-based leader Stephen Handwerk seemed to corroborate.