WHAT SUPERDELEGATES ARE FOR

You're going to have to cut me a little slack today. I just graded 55 research papers (varying in quality from "life-affirming" to "relevatory" to….remember the Holocaust? Like that.) and, after a 4 hour break, must start on 55 blue books.

Or I might drink a nice warm glass of paint. It's too early to rule anything out.

So everyone in America knows what a superdelegate is, or at least has heard the term and wondered. A question I am commonly asked is, quite simply, what the fuck? It's not an intuitively practical idea. It boils down to this: superdelegates exist to prevent exactly what is happening right now. When I put it that way it seems even more logical.

By reserving 20% of the available delegates for party insiders, elected officials, and other people whose decisions are not made by the primaries, the Democratic Party was establishing a safety valve. If the primary/caucus process failed to produce a clear winner, the superdelegates would step in and (this is the important part) make a unanimous decision to determine the nominee. It only works if they act in unison. That was the whole point; if the party is split 50-50, the 20% superdelegates would act as one to tip the balance. What these certified geniuses have failed to realize is that if they divide into factions roughly proportional to the electorate, then there might as well be no superdelegates at all.

What they need is a dark, windowless room and someone to lock them in it. Howard Dean is not an idiot, and although he lacks the legal authority to force the superdelegates to do anything he's not short on persuasive power. He keeps hinting at the end in Friedman Units (soon…always soon….May 1, and then the end of May, then June 15, then mid-summer…) but if he's strategic he understands that the matter is somewhat more urgent. The only way to come to a positive resolution is if the superdelegates do what they're supposed to be doing. They need to come to a consensus. No public debate, no justifications, no politicking – just come out of the dark room and say "We choose ____. This press conference is over."

The Democrats have been the L.A. Clippers of politics for three decades for a reason, though. The inability to avoid doing the transparently self-destructive as a party seems to be one of the prerequisites for membership since the 60s.

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One Response to “WHAT SUPERDELEGATES ARE FOR”

  1. BK Says:

    The SD's were a bad idea then and are a bad idea now. It's like ignoring 'greed' and then coming up with basing your whole socio-politico-economic system based on a worship of the free market. Of course the little people are going to get screwed because those who have will continue to want more… but I digress.

    I can't help but wonder if seeing this process drawn out to the end isn't part of a bigger strategy by Dean for a couple of reasons:

    1.) Primaries are a great way to ID your core voters for the general. If Dean really believes in a 50 state strategy after 20 years of not having one, the DNC will need up-to-date voter lists, especially for the younger/new voters.

    2.) This whole 'party divisivness' thing is BS. Yes, democrats have a choice between two differentlyly qualified candidates. Yes, there are zealots in both camps. If you ask someone who they voted for as they walk out of the polling place and then ask them, hypothetically, if their guy/gal didn't win the nomination would you vote for the other one, of course a good number of them are going to say 'no.' I'm guessing if you went back and started polling voters in Super Tuesday states if they'd vote for the other one or risk seeing the GOP win, you'd get different results.