More on Superdelegates


I tend to disagree with Scott Paul below about the role of superdelegates in this year’s contest. Reform and redirection of the process may make sense for the future — but once the gun went off this year, my view is that you leave the structure as it was when the race began.
Any manipulation or holier than thou attitude on what delegates should do or shouldn’t do by the competing campaign machines and their followers will only be seen as meddling by the rival camp.
The rules were clear about the role of super delegates — and they’ll vote the way they believe is fit and fair. And yes, they may even change their minds in the upcoming six months.
Here is Politico‘s just published roster on where the superdelegates stand now.
— Steve Clemons


12 comments on “More on Superdelegates

  1. jim miller says:

    1. i appreciate your gentlemanly tone….
    2. with all due respect, wouldnt your proposal dismiss the red state democrats vote? how would this be best for the country or democratic party?( of which I do not belong)
    3. wouldnt it be short sighted to dismiss/concede the red state democrats…wouldnt this strategy eliminate the potential mandate general election winner?
    4. imho…I think superd’s should act as uniter’s, using a 3 prong mathmatical evaluation system to imiatate the will of those who have voted for democrats….they should pledge their support to a canidate when the evaulation of the area’s of contest have a clear winner in the majority of contests: pledged delegates, popular vote and states won….following this formula, will create an environment reflective of a true democratic sense of representative fairness and the nominee truely will be the undisputable winner.


  2. Linda says:

    Super delegates will go to the winner the people have chosen, and the front runner just changed tonight. I’m not worried about them. Obama jusst took all the Potomac primaries, and from actual vote in VA, it looks as if he is winning about 2 to 1.


  3. p.lukasiak says:

    with all due respect, in the 11 states that went republican by 15% or more in 2004 and have held their primaries/caucuses, Obama won 10 of them, and has a delegate lead of 81 over Clinton from those states.
    IMHO, the worst thing that the Democratic Party could do is allow Red State democrats to determine who the nominee would be, which is basically what you are suggesting. The superdelegates should concentrate on who has the best chance of winning in the ‘purple states’ — if they think that is Obama, then so be it.
    The one thing I would like to see happen ASAP is that both candidates formally (and jointly) ‘release’ their superdelegates from any previous pledge of support — making it clear that should no one be the clear winner at the end of the primaries, that all the superdelegates should decide their votes based solely on what is best for the country, and the party. (not that I expect that to happen…but its what I’d like to see.)


  4. jim miller says:

    Dan K…I like your new hampshire voter analogy—spot on—-
    just a question—if it does go to the superD’s and obama has won significantly more states, a 100 plus margin in pledged delegates and 1 vote more in the popular vote yet superD’s swing the nomination to HRC—-what will Denver look like? my guess would be chaos…if HRC wins the nomination in a fashion that demonstrates back room deals and leaves Obama supporters feeling gipped and ripped off then I wonder what the immediate reaction would be like? Impact on GE? perhaps gift wraps the GE for McCain…interesting election….
    p.s. I am taking my 8 year old to see Obama speak tommorrow afternoon hope to catch bill and Hrc with my boy this weekend…


  5. p.lukasiak says:

    The responsibility of the super-delegates is to consider what is best for the party. There are 12 states where the margin of victory was 5% or less in 2004 — Oregon, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Mexico, Ohio, Nevada, Colorado, Florida. (the first six went for Kerry, the second six for Bush) — and those are the states that superdelegates should be most concerned about.
    The simple fact is that Bush won 9 states by a margin of 25% or more, and those states should play no role when superdelegates decide on who will make the best candidate. Of those 9 states, Obama has taken 7, Clinton 1, and one (wyoming) hasn’t selected its candidate yet.
    This election will be determined by “moderates” in battleground states, just like every election is — and it is on that basis that the superdelegates should make their decision.


  6. Dan Kervick says:

    Since both campaigns are heavily lobbying the superdelegates, I suppose such lobbying must fall within the rules. Unseemly perhaps, but within the rules. People associated with both campaigns are publicly expressing all sorts of opinions about what the superdelegates should or shouldn’t do. And I guess this battle for public opinion is also within the rules. Since neither the rules nor established tradition say anything about what the delegates should or shouldn’t do, I suppose none of these opinions is any less worthy of being heard than another, and so it’s all fair.
    If the superdelegates would just say, “I will be making no decisions until all the popular votes are cast, and am uninterested listening to pitches from the campaigns at this time”, they could perhaps lower the volume on some of the lobbying. But instead many of them are pledging themselves publicly to candidates and reporting their pledge to the media.
    Each superdelegate in effect comprises his or her own private primary. Each one is a primary of one voter that awards one convention delegate to the winner. So it is only natural that the candidates will devote just as much effort to trying to win substantial numbers of these very important little primaries as they do to winning bigger primaries.
    If I as a New Hampshire voter can be bombarded with weeks of fliars, robocallers, commercials and pollsters, all making every possible effort to influence my opinion, why should these superdelegates be immune from that same treatment? Is that “manipulation”? Was it manipulation when they did it to me? For months, candidates and activists of every stripe made their pitch to me: “Here’s how you should vote and why”. That’s democracy. So I see nothing wrong with candidates and activists now making broad public pitches to the superdelegates of the form, “Here’s how you should vote and why” on any basis which seems correct to them.


  7. FaceOnMars says:

    Personally, I have already decided that if the super delegates change the outcome of the committed (regular) delegates, I will not be voting Democratic … regardless if it’s Obama or Hillary.
    I just can’t support a party which does not reflect the will of its populace. I would also actively encourage others not to vote Democrat.
    To me it’s about a broken system … or at least a system which is not a representative conduit of the will of the people. If a super delegate “override” occurred, I’d rather see the Democratic Party bottom out completely so as the root of why it happened could be addressed.
    Nonetheless, I’d prefer an immediate resolution vs. watching the dems bottom out … maybe some of the more prestigious super delegates could form a movement independent of either candidate and build a coalition which has a critical mass.
    I’m certainly not a fan of “making up the rules as one goes along”; however, if I find myself sitting at a table with a stacked deck, then I get up in leave.
    How could a party who’s nominee has been given a leg up by the establishment actually be a party of change?


  8. JohnH says:

    Looked at another way, it’s the party hacks who are providing Hillary with 67 votes of her 90 vote margin over Obama among superdelegates.
    Don’t change the rules, but put overwhelmking pressure on party hacks to recuse themselves if it’s tight.


  9. Johnh says:

    Unfortunately 55% of the superdelegates are DNC members–read: political hacks. It would be a travesty if those 402 insiders’ votes were decisive. Right now they’re tilting 2:1 for Hillary despite the popular vote being roughly even.


  10. SomeCallMeTim says:

    **The rules were clear about the role of super delegates — and they’ll vote the way they believe is fit and fair. And yes, they may even change their minds in the upcoming six months.**
    Similarly: MI and FL shouldn’t be seated. Right?


  11. green heron says:

    What would you think if Terry McCauliffe–unelected hack extraordinaire–cast the deciding vote?


  12. Scott Paul says:

    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 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.
    I think you’re wrong on this one. 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.


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