Oregon daily emerald. (Eugene, Or.) 1920-2012, August 05, 1980, Page 3, Image 3

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    Carter decline may split Demo convention
By RICH BRUER
Of the Emerald
Next week’s National Demo
cratic Convention in New York
will not likely mirror the suc
cessfully unified Republican
Convention held in Detriot last
month.
A steamrolling movement of
liberal and moderate Democrats
calling for an open convention
threatens to create an upheaval
in what was expected to be a
shoo-in nomination for Pres.
Jimmy Carter. The movement
includes Rep. Jim Weaver, D
Ore., and Gov. Jerry Brown of
California.
Recent events such as
Carter’s steady decline in pre
sidential preference polls and
the controversy surrounding
Billy Carter’s Libya connection
have many Democrats seriously
doubting the president’s
chances against Republican
nominee Ronald Reagan.
The latest national polls show
Carter trailing Reagan by an
almost two-to-one margin, and
a Mervin Field California Poll
places Carter last in a three-way
race involving Reagan, Ander
son and himself.
The debate between Carter
forces and supporters of an
open convention involves
whether convention delegates
should be allowed to vote on the
first ballot for a candidate other
than the one they were elected
to represent.
Although Carter won more
than enough delegates during
the state primaries and
caucuses to win the nomination
on a binding first ballot, an open
convention could threaten his
chances.
Carter's election staff has
proposed a rule change that
would force delegates to vote
for the candidate they were
elected to represent on at least
the first ballot unless released in
writing by the candidate.
The proposed rule would al
Sen. Ted Kennedy
Emerald Photo
low a candidate to replace
violaters with an alternate “up
to and including the presidential
balloting." The proposal is ex
pected to be voted on Tuesday
of convention week.
Should the rule be defeated,
the nomination door will open to
the likes of Sen. Ted Kennedy,
Sen. Henry Jackson, D-Wash.,
Secretary of State Edmund
Muskie and Vice Pres. Walter
Mondale — the four democrats
most often mentioned as alter
natives to Carter Both Muskie
and Mondale have said they
would not accept the nomina
tion.
Although most states’ laws,
including Oregon’s, bind
delegates to vote for the can
didate they were elected to
represent on the first or second
ballot, national party rules
supersede state laws.
Scott Bartlett, a Eugene re
sident who will be attending the
convention as an at-large Ken
nedy delegate, supports an
open convention.
“The most important thing is
the need to save the Democratic
Party and the nation from the
damage that Ronald Reagan
would do to this country," Bart
lett says. He attended the 1976
Democratic convention as a
Jerry Brown delegate.
Bartlett considers this con
vention “one of the most impor
tant in the history of the
Democratic Party.” Delegates
should represent not only the
candidate to whom they are
pledged but also the interests of
the party and the country, he
says.
“The political climate in
August is different from that in
January, 1980, in the Iowa
caucuses.
“If Ronald Reagan was to say
a week before the convention
that Idi Amin was his hero, and
that meant almost certain defeat
in November, should delegates
be forced to vote for him? Ob
viously not.”
The convention has to be a
deliberative body that has as its
goal electing a candidate who
can defeat Reagan, Bartlett
says, adding that the candidate
“may not be Kennedy.”
It’s not Carter so much as the
public's perception of Carter
MEET
• An astronaut
• A Scientist
• A U.S. Senator
• A Scholar
Sen. Harrison Schmitt
(one of the last men to walk on the moon)
And
Mike Fitzgerald
Candidate U.S. Congress
fourth Congressional District
Gerlinger Alumni Lounge
Thursday Aug. 7,1980
Paid-Fitzgerald for Congress
that concerns him most, Bartlett
says. ‘‘They (Americans) don't
perceive him as a decisive,
emphatic leader.”
Although he will support
Carter if he wins the nomination
in either an open or closed con
vention, Bartlett says it is unli
kely Carter can defeat Reagan.
‘‘I am not anti-Carter so much
as I am anti-Reagan” because a
Reagan administration would
jeopardize “the social progress
made in America in the last 48
years" and possibly lead the
country to war
Although most Americans
feel the party would be breaking
faith by releasing delegates to
vote for a candidate of their
choice, this instance calls for
something "extraordinary,"
Bartlett says.
"So what we are saying is that
these are extraordinary circum
stances, and extraordinary cir
cumstances require extraordin
ary measures.”
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