“Superdelegate:” it’s become the buzzword for 2008, raising some loaded questions. Is the average joe Democrat capable of choosing his presidential nominee or does he need the judgement and advice of the party’s elite? Was going to the primary polls a waste of time?
After all, primaries and caucuses, serve the purpose of letting the people choose their leader… to say, “this is the person who will have our best interests in mind.” It’s what democracy is all about. So where does the “super” or unpledged delegate come in?
The superdelegate group consists of elected officials and party leaders. In California for instance, they are people like Congresswoman Maxine Waters or Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Unlike regular delegates, they cannot be made to promise to vote for one candidate or the other at the Democratic National Convention. But more importantly though, a single vote cast by a super is worth more… way more than the regular voter.
“First, there are 4,049 delegates. Nineteen percent (796) of them are super-delegates for which you don’t vote,” explains political blogger Laurent Kertz in his article, “All Delegates are Equal but Some are More Equal than Others.”
Average Joe’s vote, at the primaries or caucuses, only accounts to 81percent of the final vote at the convention, he said.
“In other terms: imagine that there would be only 100 delegates and two candidates, John and Bob. 80 delegates would be voted for in primaries/caucuses, 20 would be super-delegates. If 50 of the 80 delegates are elected to vote for John, that represents 62 percent of the votes, and you would think John would win the primary (since Bob only got 38 percent of the votes, or 30 delegates). If all super-delegates, the 20 other ones you didn’t vote for, elect Bob during the convention, then there would be a tie: 20 super-delegates and 30 delegates Bob, 50 delegates for John…”
What the superdelegate does, according to U.S. historians, is provide a check system for the party’s nomination process. What they feel, is that the public can be easily swayed by a charismatic candidate who may not necessarily carry out the party’s agenda once elected. So basically, if the public picks someone that the party doesn’t like, then like a political mom and dad, they will pick one for you.
Not since the early eighties, when Americans “accidentally” chose Jimmy Carter, who was later blamed for all the country’s woes at that time, will the supers play a more significant role. 2008 could possibly mark the end of what has been said to be a war torn, economically sour era. The frontrunners: An African American and a female, something that has never happened in the history of the United States.
Careful decisions have to be made…
Right now, the race for delegates period is so close that Dems will most likely be waiting for an actual nominee until the DNC in August. Either would need 2025 to win.
Estimates according to CNN show Hillary Clinton in the lead as far as superdelegates with 224. Obama has 135. Four hundred thirty seven supers are up for grabs, they said.