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What about the "Super" Delegates?

It is possible, given his strong momentum and seeming invulnerability to criticism, that Barack Obama can win one or more of the Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania primaries, thereby putting an effective end to Hillary Clinton's campaign. But if Clinton wins them all - even narrowly - a different dynamic will enter the Democratic nomination race.

That scenario would mean that neither Obama nor Clinton could possibly amass a convention majority from the "pledged" delegates awarded by state primaries and caucuses: some number of the at-large "super-delegates" will be required to forge the majority of all delegates necessary to be nominated.

Who are the "super-delegates" mentioned? They are the elected officials and National Committee members who are automatically seated as convention delegates. Democrats realized that, after converting most of their nominating process away from state conventions to primaries and caucuses and awarding most of those delegates on a proportionate basis, they had effectively given their nomination to the winner of a national primary - even though it was held on different days. The "super-delegates" were added back to the convention as insurance against a mistake - whether it be a late-breaking scandal or other disqualifying information.

Now, we are hearing that it would be some sort of "offense against democracy" if the "super-delegates" were to vote for anyone other than the popular-vote winner. This is nonsense, of course. The "super-delegates" are only there to do exactly that, where necessary. Otherwise, there would have been no purpose at all to adding them.


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Comments (5)

From what I understand the ... (Below threshold)

From what I understand the super-delegates were added to offset the possibility a radical segment of the Party might hijack the caucuses (which themselves are questionably 'democratic') and sway the election to a non-electable candidate.

It wasn't so much as to subvert the popular vote of the party but to preserve it in the face of caucuses.

Scenario0:If the res... (Below threshold)

If the results of the Democratic primary choose candidateA and the superdelegates (in proportion) also choose candidateA, the superdelegates have had no effect and are pointless as far their effect on the process.

If the results of the Democratic primary choose candidateA and the superdelegates (in proportion) choose candidateB resulting in candidateB winning the nomination, the superdelegates have had an affect on the process.

So the only possible way for the superdelegates to not be pointless w.r.t to the outcome of the nomination is for them to reverse the result of the state caucuses and primaries.


Now, the question of when they would do this is a completely separate question, but the superdelegates are certainly there for permitting the party to circumvent the states' selected candidate. When would the party do this ? I don't know perhaps jpm100 scenario is the only possible, but perhaps not... Depending the the results of the upcoming primaries, I think may get to see that tested.

Now, we are hearing that... (Below threshold)

Now, we are hearing that it would be some sort of "offense against democracy"

Not against democracy, but against the democratic process. I hope the superdelegates don't play any role in this election, and the whole system should be abolished shortly afterward.

jpm100 ~ The super-delegate... (Below threshold)

jpm100 ~ The super-delegates were instituted as a counterbalance to the McGovern Commission reforms (implemented after the 1968 debacle) which turned the nominating process over to grassroots activists, cutting out any role for elected officials and party leaders. At the time (1980), caucuses were not much of a consideration.

Mike ~ I don't believe any particular circumstances for super-delegate "intervention" was ever articulated. They were supposed to return a measure of power to the party establishment (which had previously wielded nearly all the power in nominating, but had been hobbled by the new primary system).

Brian ~ How can delegates seated as part of the "process" be said to "violate" the process? Either the super-delegates have an independent vote, or they do not. If they do, then they are perfectly entitled to vote for Hillary if they wish - no matter who wins the most votes nationally, or carries the most states.

So, we see here the Mob ver... (Below threshold)

So, we see here the Mob versus the Machine.

By the Mob, of course, I mean the Republican primaries. Not in the sense of Mafia, I hasten to point out, but in the sense of the group of people wandering aimlessly about, wanting a leader but unable to decide rationally. But somehow, a leader will be chosen, and the Mob will rally around him 100%.

The Machine, on the other hand, is efficient, as are all centrally planned organizations. If the people don't pick the right leader, we'll fix it up right away. No worries, and don't look behind the curtain; we know what's best for you. Put in your dime, and out pops the leader we know you need.

As always, the lie is put to the Democrats claims. It is not the Republicans who ignore the will of the people, whose elite minority rule with an iron fist, who will give a candidate wiley enough to win but stupid enough to tank the economy.






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