Superdelegates

SUPERDELEGATES….Writing about the Democratic primary race, Mori Dinauer notes that neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton has any chance of reaching the magic number that gives them a majority of the total delegates. This means that, like it or not, the Democratic nomination will be decided by superdelegates one way or the other. So what’s the holdup?

I’m going to assume that they know as well as I the mathematics of the race. So why wait to endorse?….[Events over the next few weeks] will produce marginal gains for each candidate but won’t significantly change one fact: neither candidate will reach the magic number and then, as now, the decision is going to come down on the members of the Democratic Party establishment who, despite being “unelected,” “undemocratic” or “unaccountable,” will be precisely fulfilling the role they were designed for, which is resolving the contest.

Except that they are currently resolving nothing. They are waiting.

Obviously there are plenty of reasons why individual superdelegates might want to sit tight. Some are cowardly and don’t want to risk endorsing the eventual loser. Some are greedy and want to bargain for goodies in return for their support. Some are weak-kneed and just can’t make up their minds.

But, really, Mori is right: what are they waiting for? There are about 300 undeclared superdelegates, and if they made endorsements over the next week or two it would clear up a lot of things. If Hillary moved to within a hundred delegates of Obama, she’d still have a fighting chance to win and would have every right to stay in the race. If Obama increased his lead to, say, 200 delegates, Hillary would no longer have even a colorable chance at the nomination and would come under tremendous pressure to drop out. The latter seems more likely to me, but either way it would clear up the state of play considerably and possibly lower the temperature of the campaign a bit.

Remaining undecided might be good for Hillary, but not for the party. Seems like it’s time for the undecided supers to think about that.

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