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Dem nominations: to be decided by Super Delegates?
Posted by: mcq on Thursday, February 07, 2008

As the Democratic nomination process trundles on, it is becoming increasingly clear that the delegate count could be insufficient by convention time to give either Obama or Clinton a clear win. It could all come down to the "Super Delegates" (SD). And, as you know, SDs are not bound to the results of their state's primaries. They're usually made up of establishment and elected Democrats and number 800. SDs have been a vital part of the Clinton campaign's calculations since the beginning. The reason becomes clearer with each primary, and Clinton claims a lead among SDs.

Why? Because Hillary Clinton is the establishment Democratic choice for their candidate for president.

Now, imagine the nightmare for the Democrats if as the convention approaches, Obama has a lead in delegates but not enough for an outright win. Imagine the SDs kick it over to Hillary's side.

Tell me something, anything, which could then be said that wouldn't have people believing that the Clintons had managed a backroom deal to give her the nomination? The alienation of black Americans would only be the tip of the iceberg if that sort of scenario plays out. The claims of crooked politics within the Democratic party would have a devastating effect on what appears to be an energized electorate. I think it would wreak unbelievable and unavoidable havoc. Voters are not impressed by arcane nominating rules and primary nominating tricks.

If we see Obama leading in delegate count going into the convention and he gets the rug pulled out from under him by SDs, I think you'd see many of his followers choose to sit home in November (or perhaps lodge a protest vote with a Nader or McKinney) believing John McCain an acceptable alternative to their candidate being screwed over by the establishment Democratic party and Hillary Clinton.

I would love to see this particular scenario personally - Howard Dean is deserving of just such a bit of fun.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

That is truly a juicy scenario. And easy to see how it would play out exactly like that, with Bill trotted out after the fact to calm everyone down.
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
A lot of Democratic insiders are behind Obama, who has support from people like Kennedy, Daschle and others. It’s an internal battle for control of the Democratic party, the Clintons vs. the other side of the establishment. If Obama has the lead, don’t be surprised if the Superdelegates end up going for him over Clinton.
Written By: Scott Erb
I don’t know the rules for choosing SD’s in the D-Party, but I’ll hazard the people were chosen long before Obama became popular and who they were was based on who did the choosing, which, likely, were people in Clinton’s court. So, the likelihood of them switching to an Obama who is ahead is low, and when they do stay with Clinton, it will hardly be a backroom deal.

I mention this because I was approached months ago to stand as a R-delegate based on who I was supporting, with the understanding I would support that candidate if he was still in the running at convention time if there was a drop-out of a candidate I had been committed to or if there was a second round. I have no doubt that Clinton, as much as she could, had this strategy sewed-up shortly after she announced her candidacy.
Written By: Dusty
URL: http://
on a related note, Connecticut just lost one of it’s superdelegates. A Mr. Joe Lieberman.
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Hillary loses in the general - even more so if her campaign resorts to an establishment coup at the Denver convention. Too many soft Dems find a return of Bill Clinton to the White House unacceptable and will sit out or vote against another Clinton, especially now that soft Dem Repub McCain is the defacto GOP nominee. I think Barak slaughters McCain - too many emotive voters out there. And the age issue will be thrust forefront.
Written By: bains
URL: http://

I agree. McCain can only win if something happens foreign policy wise where people decide the experienced military man would be the smarter pick. Other than that, Obama will coast to victory. I think Dem insiders as SD are not trustworthy and will swing to Obama easily.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
What’s interesting is that the Democrats will likely fracture if the SDs make the choice, regardless of which choice they make. If they pick Clinton, blacks might well decide that a bunch of white politicians couldn’t stomach a black man as a candidate, and if the Republicans were then to pick, say, JC Watts or Condi Rice as a VP candidate, that might cause a tectonic shift in the way blacks vote. (Even moving from 90/10 support for Democrats to 75/25 support for Democrats would be a massive blow to the Democrats’ chances across the board.)

But if the pick is Obama, both moderates and women might bolt. Women who are not ultra-radicalized feminists may feel that after allowing Bill Clinton (in actions, quite patriarchal and patronizing to women) free reign and then rejecting a woman (Clinton’s wife!) as a candidate, that the Democrats might not be the most woman-friendly party around. (Again, if the Republicans were to nominate Christine Whitman or Condi Rice for VP, this is even more likely.) Moreover, the moderates would feel that with Howard Dean as the head of the party, and Barack Obama as its candidate, that they have no place to go. Perhaps, like Lieberman, they would feel compelled to chart a less dependent course.

Part of the humor value for me is that this is entirely personality: there isn’t much light between Clinton and Obama on policy grounds. And that means that, in a party defined by emotionalism and vituperation of "the other", there is about to be an emotional debate about which of its own is "the other". It’s going to be interesting for the Democrats if the election doesn’t start to fall decidedly one way or the other, and soon.

Written By: Jeff Medcalf
Then there is still the matter of the Michigan and Florida delegates.

If the nomination goes to the convention floor and it is close then I think it could get ugly. 1968 ugly.
Written By: tkc
URL: http://
I suspect Clinton and Obama will battle it out without resolution until the convention. I hope they do enough damage to each other that McCain has a decent chance.

Obama is formidable at the moment, but then so was McGovern who was riding a big idealistic "change" wave in 1972 until he actually had to translate the vision into specifics, and America elected one of the most unattractive political personalities of the time, Richard Nixon, by a landslide.
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Would I be the only one with an unbearable sense of schadenfreude as I turned to all my Democrat acquaintances and said, "Selected, not elected." 8-)
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
Would I be the only one with an unbearable sense of schadenfreude as I turned to all my Democrat acquaintances and said, "Selected, not elected." 8-)

No, and by any moral standard, you should be lauded for whipping that pony until it collapses. Then continuing post mortem.
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
And, to nail the coffin down tight, Mccain should offer the VP to OBAMA!
Written By: eliXelx
URL: http://
FWIW - Gary Hart sees it going to the convention.
“It will go to the convention like it did in ‘84, but (Obama’s) got a much better chance of getting support from superdelegates than I did, because most of them were lined up with Fritz [Mondale] before New Hampshire.”

That’s the key difference: While Hart had toiled in virtual anonymity before New Hampshire made him a star, superdelegates have been aware of Obama from the beginning of this race. And they may be savvier in 2008 about not lining up so quickly behind the establishment favorite. Superdelegates were a new creation in 1984.

“I assume (Hillary) and her husband are on the phone with them now, and they’re saying, ‘Remember when I had you to the White House,’ or ‘Remember when I campaigned for you,’” Hart said.

Obama’s pitch, Hart believes, is his ability to attract independents and Republicans to the ticket in the fall.

“It’s going to be a question of loyalty versus electability,” he said, “because it’s going to be clear to everyone by then that (Obama) is the strongest general election candidate.”

—Washington Post
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Trust me, Jeff, my taste for pony pate’ is boundless.
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
The issue of super delegates and the democratic party is unconscionable. Currently Obama is ahead in the popular vote and behind in the delegate vote. We can not have 800 party insiders decide the primaries for us! I have created a protest page here:

If you think this is an issue please add a comment to the protest page of the website. I will print out all the comments and give them to the Democratic party.
Written By: avijit ghosh

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