What’s the Deal With Superdelegates?

As I’m sure you’re aware, it is extremely likely that the Democratic presidential nomination process could come down to the decision of the 796 all-powerful, non-committed superdelegates. However, with this possibility on the horizon many are speaking up to make sure this is done in a democratic manner. Democratic strategist Tad Devine puts it nicely:

If a perception develops that somehow this decision has been made not by voters participating in primaries or caucuses, but by politicians in some mythical backroom, I think that the public could react strongly against that. The problem is [if] people perceive that voters have not made the decision — instead, insiders have made the decision — then all of these new people who are being attracted to the process, particularly the young people who are voting for the first time, will feel disenfranchised or in some way alienated

Because of this sentiment, many people are calling for the superdelegates to do what I for one, believe they should, back the voters’ decision. I feel strongly that in a race this tight, the superdelegates should vote the way the people they represent did, and if they don’t represent anyone, vote the way the people where they live did. It would be completely undemocratic if the Democratic Party picks a presidential candidate that did not in fact win the popular vote or a majority of the pledged delegates. I for one, would not be able to vote Democrat in November as I will not stand for that magnitude of disenfranchisement and corruption. Two activist groups, MoveOn.org and Democracy for America have started petitions, MoveOn’s which will be published in the USA Today and Democracy’s which will be given to the superdelegates, pleading the superdelegates to let the voters decide who should be the nominee, not elites. I have signed both petitions and urge you to do the same. (MoveOn.org petition, Democracy for America petition).

This leads us to the dilemma with Michigan and Florida. Both states were stripped of their delegates because of violating the party’s rules by moving their primaries up. However, now some (ahem..HRC) are looking to have these delegates seated at the convention. Since Clinton won both contests, Michigan, where she was the only major candidate on the ballot and Florida where no one was allowed to campaign in the state (it has been shown that as voters get to know Barack Obama, they are far more likely to vote for him). However, many are saying it is inevitable that these states will be seated at the convention. Which leads us to the question of how? Several people have stepped forward willing to be mediators and one possible idea is to just vote again. Barack Obama says of this:

If there’s a way of organizing something in those states where both Sen. Clinton and I can compete and we have enough time to make our case before the voters there, then that would be fine

Of course, Clinton supporters aren’t having it as Florida Sen. Bill Nelson explains:

You can’t undo an election with a caucus, and especially you can’t undo an election where 1.7 million Florida Democrats have gone to vote in a secret ballot and replace it with a caucus … [where] maybe 50,000 people would show up

Clearly, the first go-round in these states weren’t fair fights, so if these delegates must be seated they should either be divided based on the national popular vote or by another vote/caucus in both states. Unless Democrats can rally behind a candidate (Obamstar) soon, I and other liberals will continue to lose years off of our lives due to stress for months to come.

Democrats fear superdelegates could overrule voters – [CNN]
Michigan, Florida votes could be crucial for Democrats – [CNN]
Let the Voters Decide Superdelegate Petition – [Democracy for America]
Let the Voters Decide Superdelegate Petition – [MoveOn.org]


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