Press: Say good-bye to superdelegates

Press: Say good-bye to superdelegates
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Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders: Trump setting 'terrible example' for our children Gabbard considering 2020 run: report Sanders, Harris set to criss-cross Iowa 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 WarrenDNA is irrelevant — Elizabeth Warren is simply not Cherokee The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump seizes on immigrant 'caravan' for midterms | WHCA criticizes Trump for praising lawmaker who assaulted reporter | Trump takes harder line on Saudis Clinton aide: Chances 'highly unlikely' but 'not zero' Hillary will run for president again MORE (D-Mass.) have both spoken out against the privileged class. Congresswoman Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardGabbard considering 2020 run: report The importance of advancing the U.S.-India partnership House lawmakers introduce bill to end US support in Yemen civil war 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 ClintonO'Rourke's rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot Gabbard considering 2020 run: report Claiming 'spousal privilege' to stonewall Congress MORE’s chance to win the nomination sank when her superdelegates switched to Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaSanders, Harris set to criss-cross Iowa Republicans bail on Coffman to invest in Miami seat Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate 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.”