On Wednesday, there was a contentious voice vote at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC. Language from the 2008 Democratic platform referring to God and Jerusalem had been removed during the crafting of the 2012 platform, which caused controversy. The Democratic establishment responded by calling what appeared to be a scripted voice vote to return the language to the platform. The change was proposed by Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland immediately after the convention was gaveled into order on Wednesday. Democratic National Convention Chairman and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa then conducted the voice vote. In each of the three successive votes, it was not clear that the “aye” votes even reached the decibel level of the “no” votes, but the motion was passed regardless. What is most telling, however, is what happened after the second voice vote. A woman emerged on stage, and the podium microphone captured her saying “You've got to rule it, and then you've gotta let them do what they're gonna do,” as if to say, “This motion must pass. Say the ayes have it even if they don't. To hell with what the delegates think. The establishment wants this done.” Villaraigosa then held the third voice vote, which produced roughly similar amounts of ayes and nos, and declared, “In the opinion of the chair, two-thirds have voted, the motion is adopted and the platform has been amended as shown on the screen.” The crowd of delegates responded to the ignoring of their will with a chorus of boos.
A similar occurrence happened last Tuesday at the Republican National Convention. Ron Paul supporters and grassroots Republican activists were fighting two key rule changes in the Republican Party: one that would bind all delegates to the statewide votes in the caucuses and primaries, and another that would allow the Republican National Committee to change its rules with a 3/4 vote without having a party convention. House Speaker John Boehner called for a voice vote on a Resolution to Adopt the Rules of the Convention, as written. He then asked if there were any objections. Several delegates were objecting, but Boehner ignored them and proceeded with the vote. The results of the vote were as muddled as the voice vote at the DNC, with a large number of delegates each shouting “aye” and “nay” from the floor. Boehner said, “the ayes have it,” even though it was obvious that the “nays” were more numerous. It was later revealed that a teleprompter was displaying the results of the floor vote before the actual voice votes are cast. The establishment was going to railroad the process regardless of what happened during the voice vote.
These two events should tell every American all they need to know about the true nature of the Republican and Democratic parties. These two parties serve the interests of their financial backers and establishment insiders, and care nothing about the wishes of the grassroots. The Democratic Party has adopted the statist creed of allowing people to vote until the desired result is produced, and then ending the voting. The Republican Party has proven Joseph Stalin's old adage that it does not matter who votes; it matters who counts the votes. The question now is how long it will take the grassroots of both major parties to figure this out and abandon these two structures that work against them. If the establishments of both major parties continue to show such overt contempt for their grassroots supporters and there continue to be credible alternatives, the answer is: not very long.