Friday, February 08, 2008

Selected, not Elected

I really like most of my Democrat blogger counterparts. So I am not sure that it with a slight bit of humor or sadness for them as I watch them get excited about the results of their primary, pulling for Obama.

You see, the thing is, that the Democratic Presidential Primary system is set up in such a way as to guarantee that in a close, or even relatively close election, the party elite will determine who the nominee is.

In the primary, there are no Winner Take All states or ways for a candidate to have a resounding victory and get a lot of separation. Indeed in true "everybody is equal, nobody is special" style, the system almost seems rigged to guarantee a close popular primary result. It makes for an exciting race right?

Well, no actually. Let me introduce you to Mr. Super Delegate. These are the Democrats who's votes count a lot more than the others. Just to make it clear, you need 2,025 delegates to clinch, but there are 796 available Super Delegates. That is quite a bit of popular-vote-overcoming slush available.

This site has the rule that stipulates who is a "super delegate:"


1. The procedure to be used for certifying unpledged party leader and elected official delegates is as follows:

Not later than March 1, 2008, the Secretary of the Democratic National Committee shall officially confirm to each State Democratic Chair the names of the following unpledged delegates who legally reside in their respective state and who shall be recognized as part of their state’s delegation unless any such member has publicly expressed support for the election of, or has endorsed, a presidential candidate of another political party;

1. The individuals recognized as members of the DNC (as set forth in Article Three, Sections 2 and 3 of the Charter of the Democratic Party of the United States); and,

2. The Democratic President and the Democratic Vice President of the United States, if applicable; and,

3. All Democratic members of the United States House of Representatives and all Democratic members of the United States Senate; and,

4. The Democratic Governor, if applicable; and,

5. All former Democratic Presidents, all former Democratic Vice Presidents, all former Democratic Leaders of the U.S. Senate, all former Democratic Speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives and Democratic Minority Leaders, as applicable, and all former Chairs of the Democratic National Committee.

So basically a list of "Who's who" among party INSIDERS.

Indeed according to this same site, Clinton already holds a lead among committed super delegates at a 2-1 clip. To even make things close, Obama would have to pick up the remaining insiders at a 65% to 35% clip.

I don't think that is too likely. Welcome nominee Clinton


Sirocco said...

Yeah, I made mention of the super-delegate issue maybe a month ago, and it remains an issue. It's not insurmountable, but it definitely makes things more difficult for Obama.

Clinton laughably tried to claim Obama was the new "establishment" candidate last week ...

Anonymous said...

I also made mention of the Superdelegate issue...and it is real. I think about 30% of the total delegates are Super. Thats more than enough to tip it one way or the other.

BUT...let me say this. Since your last post, Obama continues to wrack up wins...Nebraska, Lousiana, and Washington...all very different states. He is winning caucuses where party regulars are more likely to vote...and activists.

I suspect that if he continues to build momentum and win more and more states. A lot of those Superdelegates will go Obama's way. Especially since his is the most likely to beat McCain. I also think that if he has more delegates overall from states, that he will get them. It will look very very bad for the Dems if he wins the most delegates and they shift it to Clinton. They can't do that or they just hand the election to McCain.

Everything I have said above is already being more cogently offered as an argument to Superdelegates. If Hillary picks up most states and winnable delegates then they should go her way...if they don't...they should not.

Anonymous said...

Obama wins again...Maine. This was a state that Clinton tried pretty hard in and some analysts thought she'd win easily. She lost. That is four Obama wins in a row too going into the Crabcake Primary.


AZAce said...

Two-thirds of the superdelegates are committed at the 2-1 ration for Hillary. It's hard to believe Obama can reverse that trend enough to pull it off.

Gretchen said...

If Obama keeps racking up these wins and leads with the popular vote/popular vote delegates going into the convention, and the Clintons (Billary) win either by getting the DNC to cave in and give her the delegates from the illegal Michigan and Florida primaries [totally unfair to Obama] OR the Clintons win by getting the Superdelegate vote, believe me, there will be a LOT of disillusioned, pissed off Democrats [and Independents].

Anonymous said...

Yep Gretchen...they know that and frankly have to see that. I suspect that Superdelegates will alter their opinions if this type of thing happens.

I mean, the Democratic party has to adjust...they have to bend to a movement such as is pragmatic smart politics. Not only could it anger people as you say, but it is an opportunity to build a movement of the force that some political scientists call a political realignment...where a generation of democratic rule occurs.

I don't think that could happen with Hillary but for her appeal to Latinos and women, of course.