Superdelegateexpialidocious

There are many ways to win The Goat Rodeo

Superdelegate takes a candidate to the convention.

I was asked last night by meat-world friends what a superdelegate is and why does Hillary Clinton have so many of ’em, and so I thought I might blog a bit about that today. Up-front, I want to note that the Mock, Paper, Scissors rule of not trashing the 2016 Goat Rodeo contestants on the Left remains in effect. This is not, per se, about Clinton or Sanders, this is about an institutional problem in the DNC.

We continue.

Brother Pierce says,

“The superdelegates are a quadrennial pain, an institutional establishment firewall erected (some say) to keep democracy from breaking out entirely in the Democratic nominating process.”

…which is about as fine a short-hand as any.

As near as I can tell, Superdelegate status is the usual bribe honorarium that the Democratic Party gives to The Politburo officials of The Party, and elected officials of each state. (This is IMPORTANT, as we will see in a moment.)

Superdelegates are supposed to be unpledged (Fair Warning: PDF, and it is from 2008, so rules maybe have changed, but probably not a lot), so it remains a mystery to how Clinton can have so many pledged to her.

And just so you know that Superdelegates are always unswayed by campaign contributions, we present this little bit of journalism from The Hill:

“…Sanders has more votes so far and funding to take him to the convention, but Clinton has 359 superdelegates to his eight. The former secretary of State also is raising record sums for state parties through a Hillary Victory Fund. The money, in a two-person race Clinton expects to win, will help her general election campaign and bolster Democrats down-ballot as well. What that money does now is make her more popular with state parties, like the one in Iowa where a recount of the caucus results was initially refused by the state party chairwoman, who has reportedly driven around with a license plate that reads “HRC2016.”

So you see, campaign donations do not have any hint of impropriety about them. No pay-to-play here.

The Republicans have Superdelegates, too/also, but not as many in number, and have a more top-down control of them, as is the nature of fascists.

UPDATE 1: Vox has an explainer up on Superdelegates.

This entry was posted in 2016 Goat Rodeo, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Superdelegateexpialidocious

  1. So superdelegates are kinda like d r i f t g l a s s’ “Journalism Club” — i.e. there’s a club, and we’re not in it.

    Color me shocked. Shocked I tells ya!

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  2. Mike B. says:

    I’m not really opposed to superdelegates, as long as there aren’t too many of them. I think leaders of the party have a right to have some say in who the candidate is. Some states have open primaries, so a significant number of primary voters might not even be members of the party. And the rules for assigning regular delegates are not always one-person, one-vote (caucus states, winner-take-all primary states). The superdelegates know that if one candidate wins the clear majority of regular delegates (or primary voters – although not all states have primaries) and they overrule that candidate, it will look very bad, so I doubt they pick the candidate unless the primaries are very close or no candidate got a majority (in which maybe they should have some say) . It’s still much more democratic than the old days, when Humphrey could get nominated without, I think, winning any primaries (by the time Johnson dropped out, it was too late for HHH to get on primary ballots).

    By the way, Bernie is a superdelegate, while Hillary is not (although Bill is), not that it matters.

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  3. E.A. Blair says:

    Shouldn’t that be “Superdelegatearrificexpialidocious”?

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  4. Tom Benjamin says:

    The super delegate was brought into the Democratic process after the George McGovern debacle. Democrats found out that it does not work out well for them if Congressional candidates and yes, the party establishment – do not support the platform advanced by the nominee. When that happens candidates down ticket run away from the nominee and the party gets crushed.

    And yes, local Democratic offices depend on the candidate raising money for them. Bernie is outspending Hillary in this campaign because Hillary is raising money for candidates up and down the ticket. Bernie is giving other Democratic candidates nothing except grief. After all fellow Democrats running for congress with Bernie are corrupt after all. Only Bernie is pure.

    Does Sanders or his supporters actually expect to get other candidates to deliver him their super delegate vote? Do they want to get asked by the media whether they favor doing battle over single payer health care? Do they want to explain how they can support Bernie and still take dirty money from corporations? Do they want to run for their seat without any money?

    They do not. The super delegates are the establishment and they will not support an anti-establishment candidate. If Bernie wins he will have to win without super delegates. Then he will have to win the election with most of the rest of the Democrats on the ticket run away from him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tengrain says:

      Thanks Tom – All good points. I’m still not sure of the efficacy of the Superdelegates, but I think you raise all the right questions. I worry that it could turn into another self-inflicted wound for the Dims.

      Rgds,

      TG

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    • grs says:

      Democrats found out that it does not work out well for them if Congressional candidates and yes, the party establishment – do not support the platform advanced by the nominee. When that happens candidates down ticket run away from the nominee and the party gets crushed.

      I don’t know what my point is other then the establishment seems to be steering the ship astray. Down ticket candidates ran away from Obama’s platform in 2012 and got hit hard: distanced from instead of campaigning on Obamacare (single payer was out of the question though), refusing to say whether they voted for Obama previously, openly disagreeing with Obama’s policy as stump points to gain votes, not wanting the president to campaign with them or even saying his name. It was an establishment decision for candidates to campaign that way – to avoid a successful president. Obama won, a lot of subpar candidates lost – candidates chosen by the party.

      Does anyone know how superdelegates operate with respect to an incumbent president? Or are they strictly a voice during the presidential primary?

      /still bitter over Dems abandoning Dean and his 50 state strategy.

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      • Tom Benjamin says:

        The super delegates have the same role every four years. If an incumbent President faces a challenge for the nomination the primaries work the same way.

        I don’t believe it is ever an establishment decision as to how any candidate tries to win his or her district or Senate seat. The Democratic party and most of the Democratic candidates for Congress gave full-throated support for Obama and his agenda. Remember the convention? Where Obama was particularly unpopular, the Democrat unsuccessfully ran away from him. Embracing Obama would not have worked either because nothing would have worked.

        This time is much more like 1972. The establishment and most Democrats running did not support the agenda of the nominee. There was no coherent campaign. What do Democrats do for money if Bernie is the nominee? Maybe he can suck enough money out of true believers to compete, but what about everybody else? What are the Democrat prospects if they try to compete without money against Republicans and Citizen’s United?

        Liked by 1 person

    • The super delegates are the establishment and they will not support an anti-establishment candidate.

      So what are we supposed to do when THE ESTABLISHMENT (dun dun dun!) turn into a pile of giant assholes?

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      • Tom Benjamin says:

        The establishment is always filled with giant assholes although the term, it seems to me, is difficult to define. They always end up saying “no” a lot and compromising between competing interests a lot. It is hard not to do that without coming across as an asshole to plenty of people.

        The way Democrats can change the party and the way the country is governed is to figure out how to get Bernie’s young people out to vote every time instead of just when they get excited about somebody. Midterms included.

        I don’t have any doubt that there are more blue voters than red voters, but the reds consistently vote and the blues – young blues in particular – are unreliable voters. The ones that do get engaged and stay engaged can grow up to become the establishment.

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  5. w3ski4me says:

    So, “super delegates” are “to keep democracy from breaking out”. This explains it better than anything else I have read so far. Thank you for clearing this up.
    w3ski

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    • DK says:

      Superdelegates are actually “to keep the Democrats from getting McGoverned and the country from getting Nixoned.” That’s where the superdelegates thing came from; they weren’t invented last week to stop Bernie’s 100% off, no money down revolution. If they end up serving such a purpose, praise gawd. But recent precedent indicates they will change their pledge to support whichever candidate wins the official delegate count as happened in 2008 when Hillary won more actual primary votes than Obama (her still-record 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling) but superdelegates had to find a way to appease black voters and made Obama the nominee anyway. So if Bernie wins the pledged delegate count, there is zero chance superdelegates will not switch their votes again. It’s looking more and more like states that aren’t lily white will make the superdelegates’ decision easy this year by sticking with Hillary, but please let’s note that none of the bros were whining in 08 about how undemocratic it was that Hillary lost despite having a popular vote mandate. They were right then: superdelegates having a larger say than non-Democrats in New Hampshire were the rules Obama and Hillary signed up for by running as Democrats.

      Bernie knows the rules. His alienate-superdelegates-by-demonizing-elected-Democrats strategy is just poor planning, not unlike Hillary’s 2008 neglect of caucus states — a mistake she will not be repeating this year. If he loses this year and lives long enough to run again, and runs as a ‘crat, perhaps he will calibrate his campaign accordingly.

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      • tengrain says:

        DK – Thanks for another viewpoint on Superdelegates for us to consider.

        Regards,

        Tengrain

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      • Tom Benjamin says:

        I mostly agree, but don’t agree that the super delegates will definitely shift to Bernie. If the race turns out to be close enough that super delegates (15% of delegates) are actually needed to swing the vote to Clinton, Dems will go into the election so divided they are screwed no matter who they nominate.

        Obama won his share of the super delegates from the start. Bernie has virtually no support among super delegates right now. The people who would be running with him do not want to run with him. Where are his friends in Congress? There aren’t any?

        What does that say?

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      • grs says:

        Did Obama have that many super delegates to start? I thought he had to slowly siphon them away from HRC. Once Obama started winning the super delegates, this is when the PUMA crew went into some serious serious divisiveness.

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      • Tom Benjamin says:

        I wish i could tell you how many super delegates Obama had at the beginning of the campaign but I know he had a hell of a lot more than Bernie does. Clinton did not have a massive lead like she does this year. Most super delegates do not commit early.

        Barack made friends in the national party in 2004 and he raised money and campaigned for Democrats across the country in 2006. He had Harry Reid and Tom Daschle in his corner right from the beginning. In June 2008 there was a story trying to tote up the delegates. They could not find any Obama super delegates who moved to Hillary and they only found two Clinton delegates had switched.

        In the end all the super delegates switched to Obama but for the most part super delegates stay with their choice until it is clear their choice is losing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • grs says:

        Thanks for the insight Tom. The world of super delegates is crazy. The point of an electoral college is to prevent some of this jockeying, but clearly a candidate has to navigate the party politics before reaching the presidential race.

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  6. Pupienus Maximus says:

    This scandalous state of affairs shall henceforth be known as “delegateGate”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bruce388 says:

    Thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread. It’s very educational.

    I’m one of the few people who voted for McGovern in 1972. I REALLY hope 2016 isn’t a repeat.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. tengrain says:

    This is a really wonderful discussion. Please keep it going (if you feel like it).

    Rgds,

    Tengrain

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