Monday, April 28, 2008
Hillary Can’t Steal the Nomination with Super Delegates, But Obama Could Lose Because of Them
Super Delegates have been part of the Democrats’ system for choosing their presidential nominee since 1980! But, by judging from the media’s tone, you’d think that it was all dreamed up by Clinton, Inc., last summer. Here’s some examples:
"How could the Democratic Party be so, well, undemocratic? Backroom double-dealing; Suppressing the will of the voters; Super Delegates will likely decide the Democratic presidential nominee at this year's convention in Denver; Will Super Delegates decide Democrat Nomination? For the first time, Super Delegates may decide their party's nominee."
Doesn’t this coverage pass on a seedy, underhanded and scheming feel to the whole Democrat nomination process?
This is not to say that Democrats are not as Machiavellian as quasi-humanly possible. But the point here is that the rules regarding Super Delegates have been around for 28 years. It is not like the Clintonistas have the list but the Obamamamas don’t. They both do. The fact is that its a fair playing field for both Barack and Hill.
Here’s what’s going on. The media jumped ship with Clinton, just like Barack dumped his grandma, and supported Obama. Unfortunately, Obama has not won, while Clinton has not lost. Now the liberal media is in a quandary. Being liberals, they are as equally sly as politicians. Therefore, they have decided to attack the delegate selection process to push their guy forward, and have begun to predict rioting in the streets and a Chicago-style convention in Denver if the Super Delegates don’t do what the media wants them to do and support Obama.
Here’s the count after Pennsylvania. Obama has won 1,489 delegates to Clinton’s 1,333, while there are only 408 delegates left to win in the nine remaining contests. A quick calculation shows that if either Obama or Clinton wins them all they will both be short of the 2,024 needed to win.
Meanwhile, on the Super Delegate front, Obama has 238, while Clinton has 259. Added to their current totals this puts Obama at 1,727 and Clinton at 1,592. If Obama wins all the 408 delegates up for grabs, which is a practical impossibility, as none of the remaining states are winner take all, he goes over the top and reaches the magic 2,025 mark with 2,135, while if Clinton wins them all she is still short at 2,000.
So, if neither can win, how does someone win? In addition to everything else described there are 298 more Super Delegates that are uncommitted at this point. Depending on how they go, they could push either candidate into the victory circle.
Here’s the interesting thing about Democrats and their process. None of the delegates that have been selected so far, whether regular or Super are bound to vote for any particular candidate. True, regular delegates are more likely to vote for whom they worked for, but that is beside the point. The point is that they are not bound. Super Delegates meanwhile are also not bound. They can vote however they want. . . and, just like regular delegates, they can change their mind. This reality is not indicative of a gamed system, rather it is simply the way the rules work, which is fair to both sides.
In 2004, as an example, Howard Dean was doing great with his Super Delegate count, but after he crashed and burned in the Iowa Caucuses, they all switched to John Kerry. Super Delegate independence happened in 1984 as well. Gary Hart came on strong against Walter Mondale and won 16 states to Mondale’s 10, but Mondale sewed up almost all the Super Delegates. Were those years examples of subverting the will of rank-and-file Democrats? No, they were merely representations of how the system works.
Not everyone agrees though, especially if they are reporters or Obama supporters. U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, in an interview with History.com, sanctimoniously said, "I'm confident that in my party, which prides itself as being a party of the people, Super Delegates will be nominating the one with the most pledged delegates."
The one with the most pledged delegates? Hardly. Rather, Super Delegates will support the candidate most likely to win in 2008, which seemed like Obama all the way up to the point where his spiritual mentor, Jeremiah Wright, took center stage.