Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The superdelegates are not supposed to be democratic

There is considerable consternation on the part of Bernie Sanders supporters. When Bernie sweeps a few states with landslides, the press ignores him. When he fills stadiums, they ignore him. When they sponsor debates, they do everything they can to marginalize him as a candidate. And now we learn, that even the superdelegates have expressed their opinion that Hilary Clinton is the better candidate.

USUncut has a fascinating piece about a voter who confronted a superdelegate in Alaska. The voter's name is Levi Younger, a recent political science graduate. He had the good fortune to confront an Alaskan superdelegate, Kim Metcalfe on Facebook. Metcalf is a retired union official and has spent many years in Democratic Party committees helping to represent Alaska in the Democratic Party.

The conversation between the two was, I'm sure, intended to be private. Younger supports Bernie Sanders and confronted Metcalfe on her plans to vote for Hilary Clinton, even though Sanders won the Alaska primary by 80% of the vote. Doesn't seem too Democratic, does it? The entire conversation took place on Facebook and has been posted at USUncut for all to see.

Metcalfe says that she's voting her conscience as a superdelegate, voting for who she believes is the best person for the job. She denies any financial or political motive for voting for Clinton over Sanders but she does say that if Sanders is the nominee, she will vote for him.

The superdelegates vote last. After all the primaries are done, they meet at the convention and vote. After all of the pledged delegates have been counted, then if there is not enough of a margin to declare a victory by one side or another, the superdelegates can weigh in. At the moment, the vast majority of superdelegates have pledged their support for Hilary Clinton. But they can change their mind at the convention. They are not bound by the outcomes of their respective primaries in their home states. They vote as they wish without regard to their constituencies.

They can try and kibitz all they want for Hilary. The tide is changing and it's not looking so good for her. Seth Abramson at the Huffington Post has been making very good predictions about this election and has noticed something the press has not: voter sentiment is turning against Hilary Clinton. The landslides in the last few states, and for at least the last month show that Hilary is losing ground and will continue to do so for the remainder of the election.

Abramson has noticed what is perhaps the most colossal reporting failure in the last decade. We saw it in the upset in Michigan. We saw it in the almost complete lack of polling in the last 7 contests as of today. Abramson has noted that the press is reporting the primaries for the Democrats as if it is still March 1st, when it's now the end of the month. But he doesn't say that this failure to report is intentional. I do. I see this hole in reporting as an intentional, yet surreptitious aid to Clinton to keep her campaign sputtering along to the end.

Superdelegates were invented to keep grassroots activists from organizing enough support to win the nomination. At least that's what Debbie Wasserman Schultz has said. They are intended to allow the elites of the party to lend their experience and wisdom to the decision making process, to ensure that the party doesn't go into the weeds as far as they are concerned.

The problem is that the superdelegates belie the intent and purpose of the Democratic Party. If the purpose of the Democratic Party is to represent their constituency, the people, and I mean, "The Little People", superdelegates aren't doing their job by voting against the primary outcome of their state.

Levi Younger is a young voter who has just witnessed this. He has a degree with a major in political science. Seeing firsthand how cavalier superdelegates can be, I suspect not only will he be motivated to get more involved in the Democratic Party, he's probably got his sights on eliminating the superdelegates altogether.

Removing the superdelegates from the convention will free up time for the candidates to listen to their constituents. The reason for that is simple: with superdelegates in play, each candidate is going to spend time making phone calls to sway superdelegates their way. That means that for every minute they are trying to woo some party bigwig, they are not listening to and provide a voice for the people they represent.

Many of these superdelegates are sitting in office now. In the Congress, in statehouses and in governors mansions. We would do well to note their votes this year and vote to remove them if they fail to heed the voice of their states, respectively. For if they aren't listening to their constituents now, in this nomination contest, we have to wonder if they ever did.

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