Superdelegates

SUPERDELEGATES….Chris Bowers unleashes a cri de coeur against the possibility that superdelegates will end up determining the winner of the Democratic primary:

If someone is nominated for POTUS from the Democratic Party despite another candidate receiving more poplar support from Democratic primary voters and caucus goers, I will resign as local precinct captain, resign my seat on the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee, immediately cease all fundraising for all Democrats, refuse to endorse the Democratic “nominee” for any office, and otherwise disengage from the Democratic Party through all available means of doing so.

This is not a negotiable position. If the Democratic Party does not nominate the candidate for POTUS that the majority (or plurality) of its participants in primaries and caucuses want it to nominate, then I will quit the Democratic Party.

I don’t quite get this. The very existence of superdelegates assumes that they’ll vote their own consciences, not merely parrot the results of the primaries. After all, why even have them if that’s all they do?

More importantly, though, who decides what the popular will is anyway? Is it number of pledged delegates from the state contests? Total popular vote? Total number of states won? What about uncommitted delegates from primary states? Or caucus states, in which there’s no popular vote to consult and delegates are selected in a decidedly nondemocratic fashion to begin with? And what about all the independent and crossover voters? Personally, I’d just as soon they didn’t have a say in selecting the nominee of my party at all, but the rules say otherwise. If I’m a superdelegate, do I count their votes, or do I pore over exit polls to try to tease out how Democratic Party voters voted? And how do I take into account the obviously disproportionate influence of Iowa and New Hampshire, two tiny states that have far more power than any truly democratic process would ever give them?

I’m not very excited at the idea of superdelegates deciding the nomination either, but the only way that will happen is if the primaries end up nearly tied in the first place. Then factor in the number of ways in which the primary/caucus process is nondemocratic from the get go, and it hardly seems practical to insist that superdelegates should all somehow divine a single “democratic” result from a very close race. I’m just not sure how you can do it. Better to simply respect them as human beings and party loyalists, and allow them to vote their consciences.