Saturday, March 05, 2016

"The superdelegate fix is in" by Jackie Bowen

My friend, Ms. Jackie Bowen, has a gnarly column on super delegates in Sunday's St. Augustine Record.
Read it here and call your state's super delegates.
Ask questions.
Demand answers.
Expect democracy.

Guest column: The superdelegate fix is in
Posted: March 5, 2016 - 4:03pm

St. Augustine
According to Bernie Sanders, in a phrase now appropriated by Hillary Clinton, we live in a “rigged economy.” Well, we also live with a rigged Democratic Convention. Here’s why — the superdelegates.

What are super delegates you might ask? They are a collection of party insiders including members of Congress, governors, key party operatives and others, selected by the party apparatus in each state. Their numbers reflect their state’s population. But here’s the question: do they also reflect the will of their state’s voters? The answer is no, they do not.

Superdelegates, unlike pledged delegates, are not bound to reflect the votes received by each candidate in each state’s primary or caucus. They can throw their support to any candidate, even before their state holds its election: and they have done just that.

So here’s how it works. There are 4,763 delegates to the Democratic Convention. Of these, 3,253 are pledged delegates, and 794 are superdelegates. The pledged delegates are determined by the state population, and are awarded proportionally, depending on the outcome of each state’s election.

So if Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders each get 50 percent of a state’s vote, each gets 50 percent of that state’s delegates, pledged to vote for them on the first vote at the convention in July.

Enter the superdelegates. Right now, 457 have already declared for Hillary, regardless of how their state has voted or will vote. Bernie has 22. Now let’s do the math. After Super Tuesday, Clinton holds 577 pledged delegates, while Sanders has 386. Clearly, it is still a race, since 2,383 delegates are needed to win the Democratic nomination for president.

Now look what happens when you add the superdelegates, Clinton’s number jumps to 1,034, nearly doubling, while Sanders’s total count hardly moves at 408. These results can look very good to Clinton supporters, but quite discouraging to those who support Sanders. Yet these are the numbers that were frequently reported, without explanation, on the major media outlets after Super Tuesday.

But there is some good news. The superdelegates, unlike the pledged delegates, can change their minds and their votes right up to the convention, depending on which way the political wind appears to be blowing.

However, to “unrig’ the July convention, wouldn’t it be more democratic if superdelegates remained true to the will of the voters in their states, or at least remained neutral until after their states hold their primaries?

How does this work in Florida? Our primary is March 15, yet of the 31 super delegates in our state, 19 have already committed to Hillary Clinton.

You can find their names at Ask them to wait and see who we, the people, want to lead us. Ask them to stay neutral until we in Florida have had our chance to vote.

Editor’s note: The delegate numbers were current as of Wednesday.

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