Superdelegates -The Democratic Olympians?

It’s a term that’s used so frequently of late, the mind becomes irked by the lack of clarification. It’s not that it would be particularly interesting to know. In fact, it’s one of those boring questions you don’t really want to learn the answer to, yet feel that, well, if ‘they’ are going to keep using the term, ‘they’ really ought to answer it for us.

Who are these Superdelegates the media keeps ranting on about whenever the names Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are mentioned? And where do they come from?

Are they, perhaps, poised to fly in from some distant galaxy, form formation over Washington, and give us a fantastic aerobatic display in kinky, skin-tight, red and blue costumes with enormous capes?

Having finally cracked the mystery of their identify, I can say with sincerity that I absolutely hope not.

To avoid sickness, migraine, and even the possibility of suicidal tendencies, try to not imagine the following names (a mere smattering) dressed in the manner previously suggested: Janet Napolitano of Arizona; Nancy Pelosi; Dianne Feinstein of California; Henry Waxman; ex-President Jimmy Carter; Ted Kennedy; John Kerry…….no, you’re right, it’s not a pretty sight.

Thanks to TIME magazine, the whole, interminable list is set out on their website for us to yawn over.[1] Those mentioned above are the pick of the crop. Most, I’d never heard of, and I’ll bet you haven’t either. One gets the distinct impression, reading through the names, that “Superdelegates” are members of some exclusive club that no-one else would ever want to belong to.

None of them, to my knowledge, has ever been known to fly, do twirls in phone kiosks, or swing from New York skyscrapers on spiderweb. In fact, they all sound just as boring as I imagined they would be.

Still, if Obama and Clinton do finish their political Derby neck and neck, the “Superdelegates” will have the chance to do something really important – demolish any slight hope that these nomination races are in any way democratic.

With so many “Superdelegates” to choose from the corporate lobbyists must be having a field day.

Two prominent “Superdelegates” were omitted from the examples above: unsurprisingly, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Of course, in the best interests of gentlemanly politics, they’ll each vote for the other.

[1] List of the Democratic Superdelegates, TIME, The Page.

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9 Replies to “Superdelegates -The Democratic Olympians?”

  1. Between the delegates, super-delegates, the electoral colleges, and last but not least, The Supremes, I wonder when “we the people” ever get a say. Is it a democracy? Is there proportional representation?
    Just asking, RJA because no American has ever answered me in a way I could understand…

  2. Those in Congress have helped Bush screw up this country. The party stalwarts have overseen the demise of the Democratic party. They really are “super”, but super what, I ask?

  3. Actually. much as I really do not like the system it may accidentally turn out to be a good thing this time around.

    The problem is there are not enough regular delegates left for either candidate to win at this point, at least not under the current rule set. That being the case and the fact that I’m completely convinced that we’ve passed a tipping point beyond which if Obama does not win the nomination it will create a backlash that will rip the country apart worse than anything even Dubya could manage….well, we gonna need them. I sincerely hope this does not happen because I’d just as soon not have a “told ya so” moment on this one.

    There is not a chance on earth Clinton would bow out without exhausting every possible angle because this has always been about her winning so whether or not it rips the country apart matters not one whit to her.

    If “I” can look ahead and figger this out you can bet at least some of the super delegates can as well. Most will opt to go with Obama whether they like it or not because the alternative would bring down the house of cards they’ve built.

  4. I think NYM is being unfair to Senator Clinton in saying
    “so whether or not it rips the country apart matters not one whit to her”.

    Comments in similar vein appear all over the blogosphere, and I, as a comparative newcomer to the USA, find them distasteful.

    Senator Clinton deserves respect. They all deserve respect, every one of them who has competed in this arduous overly long race to lead the country. Respect seems sadly lacking in American politics, and in politics generally.
    Perhaps American people are soured by past history, Nixon, the Bushes etc. I don’t see why the Clintons come in for such villification though. Sorry, but I just don’t!

  5. WWW – Is it a democracy? Not really. A democracy is a nation of people collectively constituting the source of political authority. Political authority in this country is controlled by only one of two parties. Anyone with views outside of those parties is not represented, and even within those parties the losers are not represented. It is a “winner-take-all” system, incapable of proportional representation; more like a football game.

    Al – too much power, too much money. The system is overbalancing. There has to be change, but how it will come is, as yet, anyone’s guess.

    NYM – I’m not sure Obama losing would ‘rip the country apart’, so much as rip the Democratic Party apart. The Republicans would love it. They believe McCain stands more chance running against Clinton. As an ‘observer’ in this election (though I can still hope to God McCain isn’t No 44!) I see a wave of enthusiasm for Obama that would not necessarily be passed on as votes for Clinton if the Superdelegates choose her over Obama. That would certainly open the door for McCain, though perhaps less than if the Republican nominee had been almost anyone else – except a Bush, of course. Clinton is undoubtedly a fighter and, perhaps like McCain, will go to almost any lengths to win. Whether she can win over enough of those Superdelegates, if it becomes necessary, we will have to wait and see.

    Twilight – if there is little respect in this world for politicians, it is the politicians themselves who have created that void. Given their track records, it’s hardly surprising. Since coming to the US I have learned of a number of political figures I respect, but none of them will ever become president. To reach that height now requires characteristics not found in the more honorable politicians. My own opinion of Obama is that I don’t have one. He’s not been around long enough, and whether he would make a ‘good’ president (and I’m not sure what that definition involves) is in the lap of the gods. Clinton is Washington Establishment. The young voters turning out in force for Obama are sick to death of Washington Establishment. That’s why Obama’s message of “change” is so acceptable. Of course, whether he can bring about that change, even if he wins power, is debatable. Personally, I doubt it. He may well end up just as “establishment” as most of the others. Or, like Kennedy, he might end up dead.

  6. All superdelegates should support their constituent majority! If not, vote them out of office!

  7. REFLECTIONS – welcome to Sparrow Chat. Yes, what you say is correct, in an ideal world. Of course, it could be argued equally that if they followed their constituent majority there would be no need of them in the first place. Also, alas, many constituents vote for personalities, so there’s no guarantee they would decline to vote for them next time around.

  8. Twilight: as a “comparative newcomer” to the US who has not had your children in her line of fire you probably would not understand. I’m sorry if that is distatsteful to you but my children possibly getting killed because a politician wants to hold on to the center and center-right vote is more than a little “distasteful” to me.

  9. I think the superdelegates were invented so that they could party with the people while still being a little better than them. If Clinton gets annointed by them, people will bitch but they will go along. They accepted the 2000 election without a revolt. I get a laugh out of all the politicians that went to Pakistan to observe their election to make sure it was fair. Ironic, I thought.

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