A Word on Superdelegates

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The Democratic Party has a problem. Superdelegates are depriving voters of the influence they deserve by injecting themselves into the election so early.
So what’s a superdelegate to do? Should they renounce their votes altogether? Should they agree to support the candidate with the most total pledged delegates in a pact analogous to the state-by-state effort to abandon the Electoral College? Should they vote for the winner of their respective states/primaries? Should they wield their influence only after all the conclusion of the primary season, as Tad Devine suggests in the New York Times last weekend? Or is the status quo just A-OK?
Personally, I’d prefer it if there were no superdelegates at all.
Everyone should agree, though, that by virtue of their influence, superdelegates should be accountable to the public and the Democratic Party members whose interests they are supposedly protecting. Right now, it seems as if most folks see them only as accountable for their roles as elected officials but not as representatives of the members of the Democratic Party.
So far, the Clinton and Obama camps have courted them heavily, but to my knowledge, they haven’t received a ton of pressure from ordinary Democratic voters. Why hasn’t a grassroots campaign (or why haven’t multiple grassroots campaigns) taken shape to get some citizen pressure on these folks?
This is in some ways a totally unfair challenge for me to issue, since my work on issues at a non-partisan organization makes it impossible for me to jump-start this effort myself. But judging by the amazing voter turnout, netroots activity and show of volunteerism this primary season, it’s safe to say that folks want to be heard. I’m just surprised no one has taken this ball and run with it.
In particular, I’m amazed that the people-power-oriented netroots haven’t jumped all over this. Granted, they have a full plate in the middle of election season and with important legislation up in the air — and they probably wouldn’t appreciate an occasional, accidental blogger like me giving them pointers. Still, I would think bringing accountability to so-called “Party elders” and taking some power back for voters would rank pretty highly on their priority list.
In any case, there’s info on superdelegates here and here for any enterprising people who are as frustrated with this hiccup in the Democratic process as I am. May the force be with you.
— Scott Paul
Update: Steve’s post above makes me wonder if this post was originally unclear (though my sense is he’d disagree with the gist of what I’m trying to say here anyway). Here is an adapted version of my comment on his thread. Hope this clears it up.

I don’t think the rival camps should be encouraging their supporters to lobby the superdelegates in an organized way either. I DO think that individual Party members — regardless of who they support — should be contacting superdelegates to remind them that they, too, are accountable to voters. Personally, the message I think they should be hearing is that superdelegates should stay out of the primary fray and, most importantly, should not tip the scales against a candidate who wins the most delegates through the primaries and caucuses. But folks can disagree on that. What’s most important is that they hear something and not get the false impression that they can and should simply cast their votes as if the public isn’t paying attention.
Yes, the rules were clear — but they only make sense if the superdelegates are accountable to the Party whose interests they were chosen to protect. This is not a call to wage a Clinton vs. Obama grassroots war. It’s a call to bring a little transparency and responsibility to a process that sorely needs it.

Comments

23 comments on “A Word on Superdelegates

  1. Kathleen says:

    arthrudecco… so far, the San Francisco Chronicle is the only MSM that has reported on this.. Feb, 4th .. the law has been passed and Halliburton did get $385 million to build them…surely we all need to ask our Senators and Congressmen about this and force this info out into the mainstrem.
    During the 60’s when I read H, Rap Brown’s book Die Nigger, Die, I first became aware of the Internal Emergency Security Act, which called for 6 concentration camps being kept on 24 hour alert. This act, conceived by Richard Nixon when he was Congressman from CA., gave the President alone the power to declare an internal emergency and upon the reccommendation of the Attorney General, all supposed subversives would be preventively detained for the duration of the emergency. The act was repealed once the public became aware, but all the offensive provisions were preserved under FEMA.
    So let’s find out about SB 1959 and REX 84.

    Reply

  2. arthurdecco says:

    Kathleen, has anyone published google satellite imagery of these concentration camps I keep reading about – anyone with traction, believability and trustworthiness?
    Not that I don’t think this couldn’t happen or isn’t happening, given the monsters pulling the strings…but…
    It would be easier for me to convince myself and others that our-world-as-we-know-it-is-ending if I had some PROOF. Not suppositions, suspicions, paranoid connectivities or even coincidental connectivities.
    I’m sure you can recognize the difficulty I have accepting this enormous story as fact without being able to see the “facts on the ground”, so to speak.
    Does anyone you know have any pictures? Manipulated or not? Showing where to drive to look through the wire and talk to the guards? “They” can’t have altered every topographical and road map in the USA to hide these huge camps. Something that big would be impossible to camouflage effectively. So someone should be able to drive to the locations shown in the satellite imagery and prove or disprove these allegations rather smartly, don’t you think?

    Reply

  3. Kathleen says:

    POA.. this one’s for you…makes our discussion of superdelegates seem poignantly trivial…looks like we won’t have to sweat who to vote for.., the infamous bridge to NoWhere just might go to you know where..think those $600 toilet seats of yesteryears were bad, wait till you see the new $60,000 concrete beds…see you in camp, guys….
    Justanothercoverup.com
    Politics, The State of our Nation, and the Importance of Disaster Preparednessfront page archives about RSS
    Now We Know Why ThereÂ’s A Press Blackout On S 1959 – ItÂ’s Called “ENDGAME”
    December 21st, 2007 · Today I got atip a fellow writer that KBR (Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc.), a
    subsidiary of Halliburton, was behind the creation of Senate Bill S 1959, otherwise known as the “Thought Crime Prevention Bill”, or by its legal designation, the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007.” I wasn’t able to make a solid connection that indicated KBR was actually behind the introduction of S 1959, but what I did find demonstrates we are likely approaching the final days when Homeland Security (sic) implements their “final solution” which DHS has labeled as “EndGame.”
    This is what I found, researched it thoroughly – and unfortunately, unless “the people” react in the millions, life in these United States is about to change forever, and apparently, it could also end for thousands, if not millions of Americans:
    Halliburton Confirms Concentration Camps Already Constructed
    On February 17, 2006, in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke of the harm being done to the country’s security, not just by the enemy, but also by what he called “news informers” who needed to be combated in “a contest of wills.”
    In 2002 Attorney General John Ashcroft announced his desire to see camps for U.S. citizens deemed to be “enemy combatants.”
    A Defense Department document, entitled the “Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support,” has set out a military strategy against terrorism that envisions an “active, layered defense” both inside and outside U.S. territory. In the document, the Pentagon pledges to “transform U.S. military forces to execute homeland defense missions in the . . . U.S. homeland.” The strategy calls for increased military reconnaissance and surveillance
    The Washington Post reported on February 15, 2006 that the National Counterterrorism CenterÂ’s (NCTC) central repository holds the names of 325,000 terrorist suspects, a fourfold increase since fall of 2003. A Pentagon official said the Counterintelligence Field ActivityÂ’s TALON program has amassed files on antiwar protesters.
    Shortly after Bush orchestrated 9/11, he issued “Military Order Number One”, which empowered him to detain any noncitizen as an international terrorist or enemy combatant. Today that order extends to U.S. citizens as well.
    Halliburton subsidiary “KBR has been awarded a contract announced by the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) component. The Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contingency contract is to support ICE facilities and has a maximum total value of $385 million over a five year term. The contract provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the United States, or to support the rapid development of new programs”. See Source Document on Halliburton Site or page 1, & 5 below
    HOUSTON, Texas – Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) announced that income from continuing operations for the full year of 2005 was $2.4 billion. Consolidated revenue in the fourth quarter of 2005 was $5.8 billion. Consolidated operating income was $779 million in the fourth quarter of 2005. This increase was largely attributable to higher activity in the Energy Services Group (ESG), partially offset by lower revenue in KBR primarily on government services projects in the Middle East. Annual operating income more than tripled to $2.7 billion in 2005.
    Why exactly are prisons being built for “the rapid development of new programs”. Halliburton’s company site confirms that the government is engaged in a massive construction and preparation exercise to build concentration camps and prisoner processing facilities in the United States. This is particularity astonishing and disturbing considering that the U.S. already incarcerates more orders of magnitude more people than any other nation, about on-par with U.S.S.R. at the height of Stalin’s era.
    The contract of the Halliburton subsidiary KBR to build immigrant detention facilities is part of a longer-term Homeland Security plan titled
    ENDGAME
    , which sets as its goal the removal of “all removable aliens” and “potential terrorists.” In the 1980s Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld discussed similar emergency detention powers as part of a super-secret program of planning for what was euphemistically called “Continuity of Government” (COG). These men planned for suspension of the Constitution, not just after nuclear attack, but for any “national security emergency,” which they vaguely defined in Executive Order 12656 of 1988.
    Over 800 concentration camps are reported throughout the United States, all fully operational and ready to receive U.S. Prisoners who disagree with the government. The concentration camps are all staffed and manned by full-time guards, however, they are all empty. These camps are to be operated by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) when Martial Law is implemented in the United States (at the stroke of a Presidential pen and the Attorney GeneralÂ’s signature on a warrant).
    The camps have railroad facilities as well as roads leading to and from the detention facilities, many have airports. Like Auschwitz, some of the camps have airtight buildings and furnaces. The majority of the camps can each house a population of 20,000 prisoners. Currently, the largest of these facilities is just outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. The Alaskan facility is a massive “mental health” facility and can hold approximately 2 million people.
    Following the Halliburton subsidiary KBR (formerly Kellogg Brown and Root) announcement on Jan. 24 that it had been awarded a $385 million contingency contract by the Department of Homeland Security to build detention camps, two weeks later, on Feb. 6, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced that the Fiscal Year 2007 federal budget would allocate over $400 million to add 6,700 additional detention beds (an increase of 32 percent over 2006. What is interesting in the Homeland Security plan is that each concrete prison bed costs $60,000 per bed! Observing these concentration camps and general jail and prison facilities throughout the U.S., the Homeland Security plan is clearly buffered to build significantly more than 6,700 additional beds.
    The Homeland Security $400 million allocation is more than a four-fold increase over the FY 2006 budget, which provided $90 million for the same purpose. Both the contract and the budget allocation are in partial fulfillment of an ambitious 10-year Homeland Security strategic plan, code-named ENDGAME, authorized in 2003. According to a 49-page Homeland Security document on the plan, ENDGAME expands “a mission first articulated in the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.” Its goal is the capability to “remove all removable aliens,” including “illegal economic migrants, aliens who have committed criminal acts, asylum-seekers (required to be retained by law) or potential terrorists.” The government’s definition of an enemy combatant covers almost any individual who promotes the rudimentary rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
    Readiness Exercise 1984 – Rex 84
    Rex 84 is a United States federal government program to test their ability to detain large numbers of American citizens. Exercises similar to Rex 84 happen periodically. From 1967 to 1971 the FBI kept a list of persons to be rounded up as subversive, dubbed the “ADEX” list.
    Texas Congressman Henry Gonzales revealed many years ago plans of Rex 84 which former colonel Ollie North helped design. The late Representative Jack Brooks also of Texas brought this concentration camp and internment program as well as the Continuity of Government Program to light during the Iran Contra hearing. The chairman refused to let North even talk about them in open hearings under “National Security.” Mr. Gonzales stated these camps and plans were for the detention of AMERICANS, especially those who refused to surrender their weapons.
    The Rex-84 Alpha Explan (Readiness Exercise 1984, Exercise Plan), indicates that FEMA in association with 34 other federal civil departments and agencies conducted a civil readiness exercise during April 5-13, 1984. It was conducted in coordination and simultaneously with a Joint Chiefs exercise, Night Train 84, a worldwide military command post exercise (including Continental U.S. Forces or CONUS) based on multi-emergency scenarios operating both abroad and at home. In the combined exercise, Rex-84 Bravo, FEMA and DOD led the other federal agencies and departments, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Secret Service, the Treasury, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Veterans Administration through a gaming exercise to test military assistance in civil defense.
    Apparently all nature contingencies are being taken care of. Photographers snapped pictures of an estimated half a million plastic coffins:
    These plans are similar in many ways to Hitler and StalinÂ’s plans who all have generally the same financial backers.
    Clearly Presidential Executive Orders primarily from FDR and Bush Jr., which are blatantly treasonous in form, have been laying the groundwork for this Fascist Socialist takeover: Executive Order Treason – – MUCH MORE
    I stated that I believed we are in the final stages of this plan based on the success of “Operation Falcon” and being aware the final readiness test is due soon in the western United States; further, just today, I noted that DHS is finalizing plans to use spy satellites on the American public:
    DHS finalizing plans for domestic spy satellite program
    Congress has not been updated since civil liberties concerns delayed satellite spying
    A plan to dramatically widen US law enforcement agenciesÂ’ access to data from powerful spy satellites is moving toward implementation, as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff expects to finalize a charter for the program this week, according to a new report.
    Chertoff insists the scheme to turn spy satellites — that were originally designed for foreign surveillance — on Americans is legal, although a House committee that would approve the program has not been updated on the program for three months.
    “We still haven’t seen the legal framework we requested or the standard operation procedures on how the NAO will actually be run,” House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson tells the Wall Street Journal. Thompson was referring to the National Applications Office — a new DHS subset that would coordinate access to spy-satellite data for non-military domestic agencies, including law enforcement.
    Civil liberties concerns delayed the program after lawmakers and outside activists wondered how the program would be structured to protect Americans from unconstitutional surveillance from the powerful satellites, which can see through cloud cover, trees and even concrete buildings. MORE
    I don’t have a lot of commentary to offer on this issue, but it’s obvious that KBR and Halliburton would make hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions operating these so-called “detention facilities if they were filled to capacity by the plethora of services they would have to offer, i.e., meals, medical attention (if that’s included), extra security guards, and a host of cottage industries that would spring-up to supplement the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of American citizens whose only crime was to demand that Bush and Cheney adhere to our constitution and the rule of law.
    If you think your voice and participation isn’t needed to fight S 1959, think again, and please visit the site where I found this information. This is not a “conspiracy Theory” but is based on factual evidence, and there’s a lot more when you visit the “Liberty For Life Association.”
    ItÂ’s your life and our country – and now it looks like itÂ’s time to pour on the pressure, and we must join together in solidarity to fight what may be the end of freedom in America. As was stated on the page where I found this information:
    This is for real! – Wake Up America!
    William Cormier
    NOTE: If you think this article should be read and disseminated as widely as possible, please give it a “Reddit” vote, as IÂ’ve noticed a huge amount of people all of a sudden coming online and attempting to vote it down. This is information the government doesnÂ’t want to be widely read or become public knowledge, and their propaganda arm is working hard to kill it – and we know they have infiltrated social networking sites from recent articles and they were busted by the “Digg Community.”

    Reply

  4. Carroll says:

    The Democratic party will never come back to life until Teddy has joined Mary Jo because his first interest is not the country or even the party, but rather his control over the party.
    Posted by Kathleen at February 12, 2008 02:54 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You know my solution…BWTTGASO.
    You will never reform the parties until you strip them of their power.
    Every time I get a call for money I tell them I don’t have a party. I will not give a dime to the “party” coffers for the “party” to decide who they will spend it on to keep their corrupt system going.
    The only donations I have made in the past two years were to specific congresspeople who stepped outside the box on some issue and said or did something I liked and I specified exactly why I was giving them a donation.
    And none of them were even my representives, they were all from different states.
    I have decided that for me not being a “party belonger” is the best way to be part of a possibile solution instead of part of the problem.

    Reply

  5. Nick says:

    I can’t speak for the Clinton campaign, but the Obama campaign has had to hold its supporters back from deluging the super delegates with emails. They sent out an email explicitly requesting that people NOT pressure super delegates on their own.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/2/6/154854/4738/267/451291
    They claim they have a plan; I just hope it works.

    Reply

  6. Carroll says:

    Another prime example:
    “Congressman Martinez has blasted Hillary for changing her campaign manager. Seems the old one was a Hispanic lady but the new one is black. Martinez is a super-delegate and he says that he will “keep this in mind” at the convention.”
    Would someone please put these fricking “hyphens” like Martinez on a boat and float them out to sea. They seem to think that American “diversity” means their particular “hyphen” should rule. You can take the Martinez’s out of Cuba but you can’t take the Batista mentality out of them.

    Reply

  7. Kathleen says:

    Carroll…in the 60’s there were only six primaries in the country…it was the Gene McCarthy delegates at the ’68 convention in Chicago who forced the party to appoint a commission to investigate the delegate selection process. We were forced by Teddy to accept McGovern as the Chairman of this new commission. In fact, after Bobby was shot, Teddy engineered getting McGovern nominated to prevwent the anti-war vote coming back together behind McCarthy. Although the idea and all the work on the new commission had been done by McCarthy people, Teddy wanted to take it all over and take all the credut. When Teddy was insisting that everyone on the new commission be a Kennedy person, Senator Harrold Hughes threatened to call a Press Conference and blow the whistle on Teddy, so he relented and let a few McCarthy people be on it. The commission held public hearings around the country and by the 70’s, most states had changed their election laws to have primaries instead of conventions. When a non-Kennedy person, Jimmy Carter managed to get nominated, that system had to go. Hence, superdelegates.
    The Democratic party will never come back to life until Teddy has joined Mary Jo because his first interest is not the country or even the party, but rather his control over the party.

    Reply

  8. Matt says:

    Assuming that the candidate with the biggest percentage of the overall popular vote across the country is also the candidate with the highest number of pledged delegates, I think the only ethical choice for the superdelegates is to reinforce the general will of the people. As far as I can tell, one’s role as a superdelegate is distinct from one’s role as a representative of local interests. Local interests will have already been tallied by the time the superdelegates make any moves.
    I think the smartest thing for Obama to do right now would be to start working an “ethical superdelegate vote” into his speeches. That’s to say, he should be out there softly and indirectly pressuring superdelegates to vote according to the popular vote/total number of pledged delegates, any not trying to work any back room deals. That’s actually what most people can’t stand. This would reinforce most of his other oratory about letting people’s voices finally be heard and might even pressure Hillary into doing the same. In this case, even if he lost, there would be a feasible, generally agreeable way of avoiding controversy. If she wouldn’t agree to this she’d look pretty bad and probably lose votes as a result.

    Reply

  9. Kathleen says:

    Guys, you don’t want to know what I think the Dems should do….it’s x-rated.
    Nat, it’s not that easy to change party rules, unless you’re a party hack… I was on the Rules Committee in 1968…
    and some Dems want unity not division, but some are more interested in maintaining their control over the party leadership,` like Teddy who regularly divides the party by challenging the rightful leader, like Jimmy Carte, even if it means losing in the general election and I suspect supporting Obama is because it’s a challenge to Bill Clinton. I guess when he can’t find a loser from Massachusettes to supportm(Dukakis, Tsgonas, Kerry), he has to outsource. I still don’t see what Obama has accomplished that makes him capable of being President over someone like Joe Biden or Chris Dodd, or Bill Richardson or Dennis Kucinich or Mike Gravel, who ended the draft. Other than giving speeches written by Ted Sorenson, what brilliant ideas has Obama put forth and brought to fruition? He doesn’t see anything impeachable in this regime, so maybe he should have his eyes checked.
    If Superdelegates want to keep the seats they have in Congress, they better listen to the voters in their districts. The writing is on the wall, so they better get the message.

    Reply

  10. Robert Morrow says:

    The Superdelegates will vote for whichever candidate wins the most pledged delegates. And right now that is looking like Obama … thank God.

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  11. Ben Rosengart says:

    I have, in fact, been lobbying those superdelegates who work for me. And I’ve wondered the same thing Steve wonders; why isn’t MoveOn whipping Dems for Obama?

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    To Whom It May Concern:
    This system is not representing the will of the voters. How many times does it have to be pointed out that the politicans have “deliberately complicated the system”, from legistation to elections, for the benefit of the PARTY and THE PARTY INSIDERS AND THE PARTY LEADERS. When oh when is the public ever going to “get it”? When are the sheep going to quit being bedazzled and engrossed in all the “maze of the game” of elections and unrig the politican’s government and system?
    When? Ever?
    The Super Delegates
    How the Super Delegates are selected. This section describes how the individuals who are Super Delegates were, or are, identified and selected.
    Super Delegates include:
    Democratic members of Congress
    Democratic Senators
    Democratic governors
    Members of the Democratic National Committee
    Former Democratic presidents and vice-presidents
    Former Speakers of the House
    Former Senate leaders
    Former minority leaders in the House or Senate
    Former chairs of the Democratic National Committee.
    The History of the Democratic Party Superdelegate
    As the Democratic Party increased their use of primaries and caucuses to select delegates during the 1960s and 1970s, intra-party criticism continued that some control of the nomination process should remain among party “ELITES”. Although the McGovern-Fraser reforms insured significant primary delegate representation by the 1972 National Convention, Democrat presidential defeats in ’72 and 1980, and the surprise success of “THEN -OUTSIDER -CANDIDATE” Jimmy Carter’s nomination in 1976, increased discussion for more party leader control.
    Between the 1980 and 1984 conventions, The Hunt Commission submitted reforms to the DNC that called for party leaders to become voting delegates, not just nonvoting attendees per McGovern-Fraser. Then-Governor Jim Hunt (D-NC) led the Commission, which was charged to “give party professionals and elected officials an enhanced role at the conventions.” The DNC-Hunt Commission negotiations led to making voting delegate spaces available for “core” elected officials from each state – including Governors, US House members and US Senators, state party officials, and mayors of larger cities. These PLEOS and/or other superdelegate slots – as determined by each state party – were formed in time for the ’84 convention, and have been in place since. [1]
    BWTTGASO

    Reply

  13. Mark M says:

    Florida and Michigan votes must count NOW! Do not deprive those citizens of their most basic rights.
    Change the rules NOW! It’s good for us!
    Actually, it doesn’t matter. The super delegates will determine the winner and they will do it by looking at who everyone voted for; they won’t rock the boat. Those delegates will be seated, I’m sure, but they will have less impact on the showing the supers the way.

    Reply

  14. snowbird says:

    Florida and Michigan votes must count NOW! Do not deprive those citizens of their most basic rights.

    Reply

  15. Carroll says:

    Why should there be any super delegates at all? Who are they to have any more imput than the ordinary voters?
    I can’t help but see this as another example of elections and governing being more “of the parties, by the parties, for the parties” instead of by the people.

    Reply

  16. Mark M says:

    Super Delegate Transparency Project
    http://sd-project.wikidot.com/welcome

    Reply

  17. susan says:

    I read this earlier this morning. It leads me to believe that the superdelegate issue will work itself out. After the election, if Democrats feel the system is inefficient unfair, it can be addressed.
    Clinton Super Delegates Wavering, Looking To
    http://www.openleft.com/frontPage.do
    Future Contests
    by: Chris Bowers
    Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 20:53
    In yet another example of why super delegates should not be counted in running delegate totals, many Clinton super delegates indicate that they could change their minds and will not thwart the popular will (emphasis mine):
    “She has to win both Ohio and Texas comfortably, or she’s out,” said one Democratic superdelegate who has endorsed Mrs. Clinton, and who spoke on condition of anonymity to share a candid assessment. “The campaign is starting to come to terms with that.” Campaign advisers, also speaking privately in order to speak plainly, confirmed this view.
    Several Clinton superdelegates, whose votes could help decide the nomination, also said Monday that they were wavering in the face of Mr. Obama’s momentum after victories in Washington, Nebraska, Louisiana and Maine last weekend. Some of them said that they, like the hundreds of uncommitted superdelegates still at stake, may ultimately “go with the flow,” in the words of one, and support the candidate who appears to show the most strength in the primaries to come.
    Clinton advisers have said that superdelegates should support the candidate who they believe is best qualified to be president, while Obama advisers have argued that superdelegates should reflect the will of voters and the best interests of the party
    I agree with both the Clinton and Obama campaigns on the final point, but with one caveat: the number one qualification to become President of the United States is to have the will of the American voters behind you. In the same vein, the number one qualification to be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States is to have the will of Democratic primary voters and caucus goers behind you.
    As I wrote earlier today, arguments over delegates are not about rules, but instead about the values of the Democratic Party. All of the various arguments about delegates fall within the rules of the DNC. So, in choosing which course of action is the best for the party to follow, we must instead look to our values. In that regard, the will of our primary voters and caucus goers is paramount. It is encouraging that many super delegates are preparing to uphold that value, even if they wish to remain anonymous at this time.

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  18. Joe Klein's conscience says:

    Leo:
    Here in PA(where the primary doesn’t happen for another two months), both the Governor(Rendell), and the mayor(Nutter) have both already publicly supported Clinton. While I can see Rendell’s rationale(he’s a fellow DLC’er among other things), I don’t see the same for Nutter. In fact Nutter campaigned to be the mayor who cut off the machine influence at the knees. While I won’t feel bad for Rendell if Obama ends up winning the PA primary, it would be a shame for Nutter. Lets face it, most super delegates are going to back either who they think the winner will be(or else someone who they are chummy with). Most super delegates don’t commit early for exactly the reason of what is happening now. They don’t like looking like fools(even though a lot of them are … meaning DC types like “Jello” Jay Rockefeller).

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  19. chris brandow says:

    I think the concern is misplaced for a simple reason. The delegates have made clear publiclyany one that there are three preferences of them they might display:
    1. Obama
    2. Clinton
    3. “will of the electorate”
    I think that we can quibble about how many there are of each group but likely they break down evently between 1 & 2 with an unknown quantity preferring option three. even if option three is favored by as few as 25% fo teh superdelegates, then it is overwhelmingly likely that whichever candidate leads by basic measures of voter support, will win.

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  20. Dan Kervick says:

    Isn’t there some way that the campaigns could agree to impose some sort of moratorium on lobbying superdelegates? As I understand it, these folks are already having to field barrages of phone calls and emails from armies of surrogates. The whole thing is very unseemly.
    But the thing that really disturbs me is this: Even though the superdelegates are not supposed to be “pledged”, a number of them keep pledging themselves and reporting their commitments out to the media. Why? I wish the superdelegates would all just issue a blanket statement that they are undecided and will remain so until either the completion of the primary process or the convention. What the public needs is clear reporting on pledged delegates, not fluctuating daily guesses based on informal commitments.

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  21. leo says:

    Is it the super-delegates inserting themselves into the campaign or the candidates approaching the super-delegates so early, super-gaming the super-delegates?
    I agree that it seems a bit unseemly to be courting super-delegates so visibly and so early.

    Reply

  22. Nat Felton says:

    Andrew Tobias, Treasurer of the Democratic Party, addresses this issue pretty well in his post today (http://andrewtobias.com/), with some worthwhile links for people who are interested in reading further.
    My personal take is that all this concern about superdelegates is misplaced. Lets see how it plays out, and if a majority of Democrats feel they been hoodwinked, then we can talk about changing the rules. If somebody goes into the Convention with a clear lead, I just don’t see the superdelegates taking it away. Everybody wants unity, not division, in the party.

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Following is an email I recieved yesterday. Although the media is not reporting on this, virtually EVERY primary so far is experienciung these same kinds of “problems”, resulting in HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS, possibly millions, of voters whose vote DOES NOT COUNT. The citizens need to decide if they are going to keep on with this pathetic cheerleading of the kind we see here on this blog, or if you are going to demand that this circus becomes a REAL example of the “democratic process”. The media and vote fraud is deciding the race. You are part of the charade, not part of the process.
    Wake up.
    Dear ======,
    We warned Los Angeles County about the impending trouble with the “double bubble.” Now, the Sacramento Bee editorial board is calling it “a major voting disaster.” And there is speculation that the outcome could change how many delegates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama receive in California.
    94,500. That’s roughly how many people in Los Angeles County voted for Obama and Clinton on Super Tuesday, only to see their votes go uncounted by the now infamous — and fatally flawed — “double bubble” ballot.
    Here’s the bad news: Despite a record-breaking turnout of 189,000 voters registered as “Decline-to-State” (DTS), Dean Logan, L.A.’s Registrar of Voters, is still refusing to physically hand-count these ballots, effectively disenfranchising 94,500 — at least HALF — of DTS voters because they didn’t fill in an extra, redundant bubble before voting for President.
    Time is running out to change Dean Logan’s mind. Over 22,000 people like you have signed our “Count Every Vote” petition in just a matter of days. To help the Courage Campaign deliver as many signatures as possible directly to Dean Logan, please forward this link to your friends immediately:
    http://www.couragecampaign.org/CountEveryVote
    Calling it “a major voting disaster” and a “raw deal” for Decline-to-State voters, the Sacramento Bee’s editorial board puts “94,500” in perspective:
    “The scale of disenfranchisement is huge – 94,500 of 189,000 decline-to-state votes. That’s half of the nonpartisan ballots. By comparison, in the infamous Florida “butterfly ballot” debacle in the 2000 presidential election, 19,120 Palm Beach County ballots went uncounted because of the bad ballot design.”
    That’s right. Five times as many voters are now being disenfranchised than in Palm Beach County’s “hanging chad” catastrophe of 2000. The only difference is that Dean Logan, the L.A. County registrar, knew this would happen ahead of time — because a lawyer for the Courage Campaign warned him in a detailed letter prior to the primary.
    22,225 (and growing). That’s the astounding number of people who have signed the “Count Every Vote” petition so far, building a movement for election integrity that could become our largest signature-gathering campaign ever. Please tell your friends, family and fellow activists about our campaign to demand that Dean Logan count every vote today.
    Excited by the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, an unprecedented number of Decline-to-State voters rushed to the polls last Tuesday to vote in the Democratic Party primary. But at least HALF of these voters in Los Angeles County — 20% of the electorate in the largest election jurisdiction in America — are now finding out that their vote was rejected because they “failed” to fill out a meaningless bubble on a confusing ballot.
    We don’t know if — as the Los Angeles Daily News speculated — the “double bubble” debacle “could affect the number of delegates each candidate gets — potentially determining the Democratic nominee for president.” We do know that, no matter the speculation, we can’t take one vote for granted.
    The stakes are high. And, with a deadline looming to certify the vote, time is short.
    Your support will help make sure the “double bubble” disaster does not disenfranchise independent voters inspired by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Please forward this email today so that we can deliver the largest number of signatures possible to Dean Logan and remind him that the integrity of our elections — and the faith of people in the process — depends on counting every vote.
    Thank you for taking a few minutes of your time to defend our democracy today.
    Rick Jacobs
    Chair
    P.S. On Thursday, we told you about Julian H., a young man who told us his first vote “amounted to nothing” because he didn’t fill in an irrelevant bubble. Julian wasn’t alone in his disgust and disappointment. Hundreds of frustrated voters have contacted the Courage Campaign. Charles C., another first-time primary voter, just wrote the following to us about his Election Day experience:
    “When I walked into the polling place, I was asked what party I was with. I told them I was an Independent. They asked me which party I was going to vote for, and I stated Democratic. They handed me a ballot and pointed me to a particular booth. Because this is the first time I have voted in a primary, I was really excited. When I saw my candidates name, I marked it and then moved on to the remainder of the ballot. I didn’t know I had to mark Democratic again. I felt proud to cast my vote, but now feel like a fool knowing my vote will not be counted.”
    If you know of any “Decline-to-State” voters in Los Angeles like Charles or Julian, please send them to a special web page we have set up specifically for disenfranchised DTS voters:
    http://www.couragecampaign.org/LosAngelesVotes
    ………
    Courage Campaign is an independent political committee and online organizing network empowering grassroots and netroots activists to build a progressive California. In 2008, the Courage Campaign will catalyze action to increase California’s importance in the race for the White House, hold our elected officials accountable, and block Blackwater from building a base on our border.

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