Monday, February 11, 2008

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a Superdelegate!

I really haven't understood what all this talk about the "superdelegates" has been about. So, I decided to do some reading and share the info with all of you.

The Democrats select their presidential nominee via a system based on delegates and superdelegates. There a a total of 4,049 delegates (regular and super) in the democratic party. A simple majority (2,025) are need for nomination. The standard (pledged) delegates are awarded based on the results of the democratic primaries and caucuses, in a manner proportional to the numbers of votes they gathered (the republicans have a 'winner take all' system for 11 of the 50 states...all of the dems pledged delegates are awarded proportionally).

As of 2/11/08, Obama leads Hillary with the number of pledged (i.e., EARNED) delegates, 958-904. However, when you factor in the superdelegates, Hillary Clinton leads Obama, 1,148 to 1,121. The superdelegates are made up of 796 lawmakers, governors and party officials. As of this past week, 399 of the superdelegates have publically supported a candidate (either Hillary or Obama). The others remain uncommitted, and thus, heavy lobbying is occurred trying to woo these remaining superdelegates.

Clearly, the way things are going in the primaries, the race will be decided by the superdelegates. Personally, I don't really find this system very "democratic". I think the nomination process should only rely on the votes earned from the actual primaries and caucuses. The superdelegates count for way too much! Look at this list of the democratic superdelegates:

You will find Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Walter Mondale, all of the democratic governors, senators, house reps, and a bunch of DNC members. I don't think these people who already wield so much power should have so much influence on the nomination process (approx 25% of the delegates are superdelegates).

The system utilizing superdelegates should be changed, as should the Electoral College for the national election.

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