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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Majority of Clinton's Super Delegates Refuse To Back "Popular" Vote

House Democrats that are Hillary Clinton supporters and have "superdelegate" status are refusing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's pleas to not overrule the choice of the people, should the final determination be put in their hands.
Recently I wrote a piece here and at Digital Journal that explained what a superdelegate is and gave the quick recap of them and their purpose, to which the bottom line was as follows:

Bottom line here, a super delegate is "check" against the "we the people" voters. Giving the party elites a chance to change the outcome for their party, should they not agree with the "peoples' choice" if a race is close.

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, told reporters before the House went on their Presidents Day recess: “I don’t think it was ever intended that superdelegates would overturn the verdict.”

Today we see that Clinton backers that spoke to The Hill, backers that represent districts that have already voted for Barack Obama, are rejecting that advice from Pelosi and are saying they are "not likely" to change their mind nor their vote should it come down to the 796 superdelegates being the determining factor.

One example named was Representative Diane Watson, a Democrat from California that states, "I am a delegate, I’m a supporter of Hillary, I’m supporting who I’m supporting."

She says this despite the fact that 62 percent of the Democratic voters, in her district, voted for Barack Obama.

Party officials are expressing concern about the excitement shown in record turnouts could "fizzle" if the voters feel their votes won't count.

The Hill reports that almost every Clinton supporter with superdelegate status echoes the attitude of the ones they quote, such as, Representative Shelley Berkley, a Democrat from Nevada who says, "Superdelegates are separate and apart and have minds of their own. I don’t see them as one and the same, so I think they should vote their conscience and if they think one candidate is better than the other they have just as much right [as a regular citizen] to cast their vote."

Despite the claim that Representative Berkley makes in that statement, that superdelegates are not any different that a regular citizen, the truth is they are.

"Regular citizens vote in the primaries and a state has a certain number of delegates that get split up between the candidates according to the Democratic party rules.

Superdelegates are not part of that process and they have a delegate vote of their own, making their vote, not like an ordinary citizen's vote, but far more powerful.

As The Hill explains it:

In many instances, one superdelegate’s vote is equal to the influence of an entire congressional district. For example, Obama won Connecticut’s 3rd district with 52 percent of the vote but captured only one delegate from the victory. Ten-point wins in Wisconsin’s 5th and 6th districts gave Obama only two more delegates than Clinton.

Because of these Clinton superdelegate's insistence on backing Clinton no matter who the voters in their district gave the popular vote to, thereby in some cases negating the voters almost entirely, the party has started discussing reforming the nominating process and perhaps getting rid of superdelegates altogether.

Although the majority of Clinton backers were determined to stand behind her no matter who the people of their district voted for, there were a few that stated that they would represent their constituents no matter what their personal preference was, The Hill reports.

One of which is Representative Ron Kind, a Democrat from Wisconsin who feels "compelled to go along with the majority of his Democratic constituents in the wake of last week’s Wisconsin primary."

If Barack Obama win in Ohio,Texas and Pennsylvania, the superdelegate vote might not end up being the determining factor since Obama has nearly 150 more pledged delegates than Clinton.

But if Clinton wins in Ohio,Texas or Pennsylvania, the superdelegates may just take on the role of "super citizens" in their districts, and have the ability to thwart the will of those that voted them into their respective positions.

If it comes down to a brokered convention, which is when there are not enough delegates obtained during the presidential primary and caucus process for a single candidate to obtain a majority for the presidential nominating convention, then many Democratic voters will be disenfranchised.

Since no candidate will receive enough votes on the first ballot to win the nomination, the convention is brokered through political horse-trading and/or multiple ballots.

Political horse-trading is often called "A Smoke Filled Room", and it is controversial because what happens when a convention is brokered is that there is a secret political gathering or decision-making process to which powerful or well-connected individuals meet privately to nominate a candidate or make some other decision without regard for the will of the public.

The last brokered convention to yield a nominee that went on to win the general election was the Democratic convention in 1932 that nominated Franklin Roosevelt.

In the meantime, Clinton's desperation shows.