Sunday, February 17, 2008

Response: "An Undemocratic Democrat Candidate?"

In an attempt to get an ongoing dialog between myself and the other bloggers whom I regularly keep up on, I decided that when I wanted to respond in detail to someone else's post, I'd leave a short comment and a link to my own.

My friend over at Politosaurus Rex seems to think superdelegates are a new invention designed to thwart the will of the voters:
I will be personally outraged if the party that ideally represents the common man in America turns to the politically elite to choose their candidate. And if they do vote against the winner of the popular vote, they obviously do not know "what it takes to get elected" in this country and we could very well end up with a Republican president yet again.

First off, as I said in my comment on Rex345's blog, superdelegates have been around since 1980, and so when Rex345 says:
The Democratic Party recently instituted the notion of superdelegates...
it's clear Rex has a different definition of recent than I do. Superdelegates were a response to the mess of the 1968 convention, and have been around since 1980.

My own intellectual snobbery aside, what I'm curious about is how much of a margin Rex345 would need either candidate to have in order for it not to be kosher for the "political elite" to make up their own minds.

There are three sets of numbers that everyone will be talking about as we get closer to June 7th and Puerto Rico's caucuses: states won, delegates won, and votes won. Obviously, the candidate running first in pledged delegates will have a strong argument that he or she is the most deserving of the nomination. The problem arises if that person is not the winner of the popular vote, or is, but won less states. Now, all of this is irrelevant if the margin in delegates is large enough that people overlook the other two categories.

But if Obama and Clinton are virtually tied (less than 25 apart) in terms of pledged delegates, does the winner go to who got more popular votes, who won more states, or, as it should in my mind, who the delegates at the convention believe will best represent their party?

This is the issue I have with the whole notion Rex345 raises. The conventions have been a way for parties to choose their nominees since the 1800s. True, we've gotten more democratic about the process, but when push comes to shove, especially in the Democratic delegate selection process, should the will of party insiders count less than that of independent voters who were a huge factor in choosing the pledged delegates? The point of a party is that it's supposed to stand for something. It has a platform, which, while some candidates do their best to run away from, still expresses the basic beliefs of that group of people.

The superdelegates are not chosen by a random process. They are the democratically chosen Democrats who serve as leaders in the Democratic party throughout the country. Their job is to represent us in government, and if they're competent enough to make those decisions for us every day, it makes little sense to me why Rex345 wouldn't trust them to make a political decision when it really counts. If you don't like how California's superdelegates made their choice, do what you'd do normally...don't vote for them next time.

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