Press: Say good-bye to superdelegates

Press: Say good-bye to superdelegates
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Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBoogeywomen — GOP vilifies big-name female Dems RealClearPolitics editor: Moderate Democrats are losing even when they win Sanders tests his brand in Florida MORE will not be the Democratic nominee in 2016, but his amazingly successful candidacy will nonetheless have a lasting impact on the Democratic Party in many ways — starting with the elimination, or at least the political castration, of superdelegates.

Yes, there are still many die-hards among the party elite who defend the role of superdelegates. But the tide is running against them. And it’s not just led by Sanders. 

In recent days, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBoogeywomen — GOP vilifies big-name female Dems Overnight Health Care: Senate takes up massive HHS spending bill next week | Companies see no sign of drugmakers cutting prices, despite Trump claims | Manchin hits opponent on ObamaCare lawsuit Elizabeth Warren and the new communism MORE (D-Mass.) have both spoken out against the privileged class. Congresswoman Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardPentagon’s No. 2 official: Trump’s ‘Space Force’ could cost 'billions' Ryan discovers Jewish heritage on PBS show Hoping to catch fire, House Dems eye White House MORE (D-Hawaii) has launched an online petition against superdelegates. And the state Democratic parties of Maine, Vermont, Colorado, Utah, Alaska, Wisconsin and West Virginia have all passed resolutions calling for the end of superdelegates by 2020. 

In other words, this year’s pooh-bahs had better make the most of their exalted superdelegate status in Philadelphia, because it’s the last time they’ll enjoy such special treatment.

Sanders was right in arguing that the primary system is rigged against him. It is! That, in fact, is why the Democratic National Committee created the position of superdelegate in 1982: to save the party from some outsider like Sanders or Howard Dean, in case party elders needed to step in and override the popular vote.

Automatically recognized as superdelegates are all Democratic members of the U.S. Congress, Democratic governors, members of the Democratic National Committee, and other present and former party officials. Their numbers vary, dependent on the number of Democratic officeholders. But in 2016 there are 718 superdelegates, or 30 percent of the 2,383 delegates needed to win the nomination. 

Their power resides in the fact that they are free to vote for any candidate they want, unlike pledged delegates, who are legally bound to support the candidate chosen in their state primary. And superdelegates have used that power effectively. In 2008, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton‘Prosperity and peace’ is the winning Republican theme for midterms Mueller recommends Papadopoulos be sentenced to up to 6 months in prison Poll: Dem opponent leads Scott Walker by 5 points MORE’s chance to win the nomination sank when her superdelegates switched to Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe US must not turn its back on refugees Gorka calls Trump's comments on Mexican immigrants ‘fake news’  The queen, Aretha Franklin, is dead MORE. So she’s no big fan of superdelegates, either.

This year, it was even worse. More than 400 superdelegates openly pledged their support to Clinton before even one vote was cast in the primaries. And on June 6, enough superdelegates endorsed Clinton to make her the party’s presumptive nominee, just hours before voters in California, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana had a chance to vote, thereby sending a clear message: “We don’t care what the people want, we superdelegates will decide the party’s nominee.”

It won’t be hard to fix the superdelegate problem. You don’t have to eliminate them. You can still give an honorary convention seat to members of Congress, governors and mayors. But they should be required to cast their votes in the same relative proportion as decided by the voters of their state.

In other words, let the people decide. That’s the rule that’s already in effect for the Republican Party. It’s called “democracy.” But today there’s more democracy in the Republican Party than in the Democratic Party.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down.”