A recent article in the Washington Post talks about the fact that, as I mentioned earlier, the “Democratic” race will end up being decided by superdelegates at the convention in Denver. Most disturbingly, uncommitted superdelegates who are leaning towards Clinton are starting to make noises suggesting that they will be comfortable overriding the will of the people if the final numbers are close (which they will be):
But Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury said that if there is no clear leader, he is prepared to exercise his judgment. “If the pledged-delegate total is within 100 votes or whatever, I don’t think there’s a great deal of significance in that,” said Bradbury, who also represents other secretaries of state as a superdelegate.
He added: “I just believe that the determining factor for superdelegates shouldn’t be, ‘Well, 49 percent voted for Hillary and 51 percent voted for Obama, and that decides it for us.’ Sorry, but that’s not how it works.”
Actually, that’s exactly how it works. Does the DNC, of all people, need a refresher course on Democracy? After the flap they made after the 2000 election, you’d think not. And yet on last weekend’s Meet the Press, Ed Rendell weighed in with his justification for making a joke of the Democratic primary:
…the governor of Pennsylvania and a Clinton supporter, countered by arguing that “the traditional role of the superdelegates is to determine who’s going to be our strongest candidate.”
Tradition is an interesting choice of words for a system that was invented in the 1980s to put power back in the hands of the party elite. But regardless, wouldn’t the strongest candidate be Obama by any rational measure? He polls better against McCain than Clinton, has more support from moderate Republicans and independents, and doesn’t have the historically high negatives of Clinton. Is it possible that Rendell is not, in fact, looking out for the best interests of the party and country, but is looking out for himself?
What’s amazing is that for all the handwringing about this, nobody in “the party of the people” has floated the idea that maybe having superdelegates isn’t such a super idea. Why do the Democrats always manage to leave themselves with outs when it comes to democracy?
Having the superdelegates choose the candidate means the decision will be tied to political debts owed, and more importantly, favors promised them by the candidate they choose. In other words, a brokered convention favors the established and the dishonest. That is to say, it favors Hillary.