Of Pledges And Super Delegates

Howard Wolfson, adding to the spin war about who’s in the lead and what delegate means what brings me to a point that I knew was coming.

Per Politico:

A Democratic operative notes a bit of a victory in the spin wars:

The news organizations counting and referring to the delegate count have started much more clearly breaking out the pledged delegates from the superdelegates, and referring to the pledged delegates as a key metric.

That matches David Plouffe’s contention this morning that “the pledged delegate leader will be the nominee.”

Howard Wolfson’s counter-spin, on the conference call:

We are not making distinctions between certain kinds delegates. We don’t make distinctions between delegates that are chosen by millions of voters in a primary or tens of thousands of voters in a caucus. We don’t make a distinction between elected officials.

The incredible thing about Wolfson’s statement is that he manages to take a backhanded swipe at Obama and his dominance in caucuses, while at the same time omitting the much deeper flaws with super delegates.

The reasoning behind this isn’t too terribly hard to follow, though.  1) Remind people that Hillary has performed better in primaries as opposed to caucuses (at least up until yesterday).  2) Demean or belittle caucuses, and imply that delegates won through caucuses are less Democratic than those won in primaries because fewer voters are used to select them than delegates from primaries.  3)  Omit any and all references to Super Delegates because at this stage of the campaign, Super Delegates represent Hillary Clinton’s best hope of winning the nomination and yet, not a single voter selects who these Super Delegates vote for other than the Super Delegate in question.

Now, the concept of a Super Delegate as a whole is something I would have to take a much longer look at before I would be willing to say one way or another whether or not I think they should stay or go.  But there’s one thing that is pretty much a no brainer–these 700+ members of the DNC should in no way shape or form be used in such a way that they blatantly go against the will of the party.

Pushing the delegate leader over the “magic line” in a contest that is so close that neither candidate is likely to receive a direct majority, or in other words, coronating the candidate that has a plurality, does not, to me seem entirely unfair.

Nor would I specifically oppose Super Delegates being portioned out to perhaps localities in some way or another so that they are tied perhaps their state’s popular vote would also not bother me (thus, we could perhaps deliver more reward for winning a state as opposed to what we see in some states where one candidate can clearly win the state over another, but because of the way delegates are divided, they both come away even).

There’s a lot of ways you could adjust the Super Delegate system to be more democratic and more fair in general.  But at this point musings on such a subject can be little more than academic dalliances; I’m a firm believer that you play by the rules that you agreed to.

Though few people who have paid a lot of attention to the primaries understood the concept of the Super Delegate, the candidates did, and no one fought to change that prior to the election cycle, so you cope.

So, as someone with what I like to think is a modicum of integrity, I refuse to change the rules.  If the Super Delegates get to cast their vote without word one from the voters, so be it.  However, as a Democrat, if I find the rules of the party not to my taste, I can choose to not be a Democrat, plain and simple.

We’ve already seen several Democrats make it clear that the same option is open to them, Democrats like Chris Bowers, and Donna Brazile.  Now, I am in no way in the league of these two, but I am still a Democrat, and I can still do what is right.

Furthermore, if the whispering that we see going on under the bright lights and megaphones of the campaign gets louder, I think you’re going to see a lot of other low profile Democrats make that same choice, and pretty soon we low priority Dems are going to stack up and make a difference.

And the choice is pretty simple.  I will support the Democratic nominee with the most pledged delegates this fall, no question.  If Hillary Clinton manages to win the most pledged delegates I will swallow my pride, I will volunteer for her Virginia campaign, I will defend her as much as I can on this blog, and I will vote for her come November.  Same goes for Barack Obama; I will vote and work tirelessly to see him elected in November so long as he has earned at least a plurality in pledged delegates.

However, if the Super Delegates nominate the candidate with the fewer pledged delegates as selected by caucuses and primaries, in other words, the elect the loser of the Democratic race, I will simply not be a Democrat anymore.

I will not vote for the Democratic nominee, which means I will likely not vote, and I will not support the Democratic party as a whole unless it fixes the Super Delegate system in such a way that it is not able to so easily subvert the will of the people the party counts on to man phone banks, knock on doors, and vote their politicians into office.

There can be no greater insult to Democrats across the country than for the Super Delegates to decide that the will of the people is not wise enough to follow, and I won’t be a part of an organization that does that.

Further, I ask any other Democrat to make that same pledge; to let the DNC know that they are free to operate by the rules they have in place, but to do so against the will of the voters is to preside over a much smaller party than they thought they had.

One Response to “Of Pledges And Super Delegates”

  1. Dynamic says:

    That’s a pledge I’m willing to join.

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