Friday, February 8, 2008

A Significant Democratic Super Delegate Concern

By now, most everyone who has heard about or has followed or has even read a newspaper knows about the problem the Democrats are currently having with these so-called "Super Delegates." Basically, along with thousands of "pledged" delegates coming from the primary and caucuses across the country, which are apportioned based on the popular vote in a given state and/or Congressional district, the Democrats have over 700 "Super Delegates" who each get one vote in the primary fight. These delegates have never been relevant before, but with the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama going down to the wire before, and it looking like neither candidate may have enough pledged delegates to win the nomination without the Super Delegates, this is a rising concern for Democratic voters.

The most likely scenario, at the moment, is that Barack Obama will win more states, more pledged delegates, and perhaps even more popular votes than Hillary Clinton, but that Clinton will use her and her husband's influence, power, and legacy to lock-up enough Super Delegates to, if you are a Clinton supporter, win, or if you are an Obama supporter, steal, the nomination. Who are these Super Delegates? Every current Democratic Congressman, Senator, Governor, former President and Vice Presidential candidates, former Speakers of the House and Senate Majority Leaders, and then, and here's where it gets troubling, hundreds of members of the Democratic National Committee.

This is where the real problem is, with the DNC Super Delegates. I have no doubt that DNC Chairman Howard Dean deserves to be a Super Delegate, but what about the 400 others? Who even are some of these people? And right now, it's these unknown, unaccountable, mysterious DNC Super Delegates that are deciding this race. According to 2008 Democratic Convention Watch, a must visit website which tracks Super Delegates, Hillary Clinton currently has the support of 111 of these DNC Super Delegates to Barack Obama's 46. And while Obama currently leads in pledged delegates, Hillary Clinton has the overall delegate lead almost exclusively because of these DNC Super Delegates. Obama and Clinton each have the support of 10 Democratic Governors, and while Clinton has an 87-66 lead among elected Congressmen and Senators, it's the DNC Super Delegates giving her the lead at the moment.

It would be awful enough for Democratic Congressmen and Senators to swing the election away from the result of the pledged delegates, but at least those Super Delegates are accountable to their constituents. But what if Hillary Clinton's margin of victory is due entirely to these DNC Super Delegates who are accountable to nobody at all? That is an even bigger mess and larger concern than anything the DNC is currently looking at.

As Bradley Whitford's character on West Wing said, when in the season finale of the sixth-season the Democrats faced a similar fight at the convention, picking the next leader of the free world was not exactaly in the job description of these "Super Delegates."

Josh (referring to Democratic delegates): "They are only here to grunt, cheer, and stomp their feet at every cheap applause line.

[. . . ]

Rhonna: So you don't think they are qualified to do the job?

Josh: The job as previously constituted was to clap and wave noisemakers for five hours straight.

Rhonna: So the Delegates sole purpose is to pick our party's nominee [. . .] and we selected them with no regard for their ability to perform that job?

Josh: Did I mention we have a helluva balloon drop planned for Thursday?

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