The Democratic Party recently instituted the notion of superdelegates, a term largely overlooked and undervalued before the current democratic primaries. With the neck and neck race between Clinton and Obama, it seems that superdelegates may make their mark on this nomination process, whether the majority of voters agree or not. So what exactly is a superdelegate?
Superdelegates are high ranking members of the democratic party, like senators and governers, who do not represent specific states. And unlike pledged delegates, they are not required or expected to vote for the winner of their state's primary vote. While they can pledge support for certain candidates, they can also change that vote up until the minute they actually place it.
As of the February 12th primaries, Barack Obama has a total of 1,262 pledged delegates compared to Hillary Clinton's 1,213. (cnn.com) To win the democratic nomination, a candidate is required to win 2,025 of the delegate votes. Despite Obama's overwhelming victories in the last eight primaries, Clinton and Obama are within 50 pledged delegate votes and it looks like the race will continue to stay close, with the possibility that neither will win the necessary 2,025 votes before the convention. If this is the case, the responsibility to choose the democratic nominee will fall to the party elite - the superdelegates. A recent article in Fox News made the claim:
"A top Hillary Clinton adviser on Saturday boldly predicted his candidate would lock down the nomination before the August convention by definitively winning over party insiders and officials known as superdelegates, claiming the number of state elections won by rival Barack Obama would be “irrelevant” to their decision." (Fox News)
This particular aspect of the democratic convention could be deadly for the current overwhelming favorite, Obama. Harold Ickes, part of the party elite for over 40 years, "said superdelegates — who “have a sense of what it takes to get elected” — would determine the outcome and side in larger numbers for Clinton." (Fox News)
But how democratic would this be? Would the democratic party be gutsy enough to essentially throw out the results, and thereby the entire primary election, and vote in favor of the unfavored candidate? I doubt that the political momentum Obama has gained in the past eight primaries with the possibility of two more in the next three days can be completely ignored. I will be personally outraged if the party that ideally represents the common man in America turns to the politically elite to choose their candidate. And if they do vote against the winner of the popular vote, they obviously do not know "what it takes to get elected" in this country and we could very well end up with a Republican president yet again.