Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Can A Party Promoting "Change" Use Super Delegates?

Now that the American electorate has stirred from their long slumber, they have awakened to a few unsettling truths about the US political process. One of these truths is the use of the "Super Delegates".

What are Super Delegates? Wikipedia defines them as:

" Superdelegates are delegates to a presidential nominating convention in the United States who are not legally bound by the decisions of party primaries or caucuses. Superdelegates are current elected officeholders and current party officials as well as former elected officeholders and former party officials. They are sometimes referred to as "unpledged delegates," but some unpledged delegates are not superdelegates. In addition, some elected officeholder delegates and party official delegates are pledged.

Superdelegates were first appointed in the 1970s, after control of the nomination process in the Democratic Party effectively moved out of the hands of party officials into the primary and caucus process. The aim was to grant some say in the process to people who had been playing roles in the party before the election year.

The Republican Party has 123 similarly automatically appointed delegates, members of the Republican National Committee. Including these appointees, the Republican Party has 463 unpledged delegates out of a total of 2,380 delegates.[1]

In the Democratic primary phase of the 2004 U.S. Presidential election, Howard Dean acquired an early lead in delegate counts by obtaining the support of a number of superdelegates before even the first primaries were held."

To view a list of the Democratic Party's Super Delegates go to the 2008 Democratic Convention Watch blog. As you'll see the Super Delegates are comprised of the political establishment. So that raises the question, Can a party that is promoting "change" use Super Delegates to elect their party's nominee?

Yesterday, in a post for Alternet, Chris Bowers wrote an excellent post explaining how the Super Delegates may come into play in the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

He writes:
" Unless either Obama or Clinton drops out before the convention, there is simply no way that the nominee can be determined without the super delegates. In the broadest definition of the term, "a brokered convention" is a convention that is determined by super delegates instead of nominating contests. Through a deadly combination of a primary calendar race to the bottom and an anachronistic method of delegate selection, we Democrats seem to have already arrived at that point. Short of one candidate dropping out, there is simply no easy way that this situation can be resolved. Given that Michigan and Florida combine for 313 pledged delegates, it is likely that this situation won't be resolved without severe bureaucratic fighting on the DNC rules and by-laws committee, or even a credential fight at the convention itself.

And why should either candidate drop out? Clinton has a large lead in super delegates, and can make a real argument over the Michigan and Florida delegations. Obama, by contrast, will probably lead in pledged delegates at the end of February, and will be able to raise significantly more money than Clinton. And so, we are at an impasse.

My instincts tell me this is a complete disaster, since it will shine light on complicated bylaws and the questionable democratic nature of the delegate selection process instead of on voters. As fascinating as it might be for political junkies, it is not the kind of image Democrats need. We need to figure a way out of this situation in a hurry."

Now of course, one way to settle this problem is a backroom deal among the party's power brokers that creates a Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton ticket. But will this really satisfy all of the voters who are seeking "Change". Will the electorate be satisfied with new faces but the same old power structure?

I propose the following suggestion to the anyone who is really interested in "change" and making sure that their party reflects the will of the voters. Registered Democrats and Independent voters need to contact the Democratic National Committee and tell them that if the Super Delegate votes are counted at the convention and the delegates from Florida and Michigan are not seated then We, the voters, will either boycott the November general election or conduct a massive write in campaign for a third candidate.

Hopefully, if the DNC is convinced that Democrats will stay away from the polls in droves and the White House will be given to the GOP they MAY, and I emphasize MAY, come to their senses.

Mailing Address:
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003

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