A Primary Truth

The votes or endorsements of 2,025 out of a total of 4,049 primary delegates are required to secure the Democratic party nomination, as of January 4th, 2008, these delegates are currently allocated:

  • Clinton 169
  • Obama 66
  • Edwards 47

The numbers above, counterintuitive as they are, are not in error. Due to something called superdelegates, who are not bound to vote based on the popular vote in each state, third place Clinton now has more than twice the number of delegates of the first place candidate Obama.

In point of fact, as of January 2, 2008 – even before the the Iowa Caucus – the delegate totals were:

  • Clinton 77
  • Obama 31
  • Edwards 16

Enacted in the 1970s, after control of the nomination process in the Democratic Party effectively moved out of the hands of party officials into the primary and caucus process, 852 superdelegates were created to offer some measure of overriding control to the leaders and key players in the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and to standing Democratic politicians and their supporters. This means that 21% of the total 4,049 delegates are not elected into their position nor are bound to vote in accordance with the will of the American people!

Currently these 852 power brokers are:

  • 482 DNC members
  • 235 Democratic House members
  • 49 Senators
  • 2 District of Columbia’s shadow congresspeople
  • 28 Governors
  • 56 Other Democratic power brokers

As if having 21% of the delegates outside the purview of the voters wasn’t bad enough in and of itself, the very rules that govern the Democratic primaries and caucuses lend extra weight and power to the 852 unpledged delegates. Under the Democratic Party’s Delegate Selection Rules, delegates are awarded by proportional representation, with a minimum 15% threshold required in order to receive delegates.

This means that in a close or sharply contested popular race – as 2008 looks like it’s going to be – there is a greatly increased chance that these 852 superdelegates will be the ones actually mandating who will be the Democratic Nominee for President.

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6 Responses to “A Primary Truth”

  1. eeyore Says:

    This system is so corrupt, it’s unbelievable. People are duped into thinking “their guy” is going to change things. Americans, too lazy to think,will be herded around like sheep (goats?)….Republicans, Democrats, whatever-it’s man at his worst. All they care about is lording over the masses. God help us all.

  2. jonolan Says:

    G’morning, eeyore! Sorry to start it off with unpleasant facts. Yes the system is corrupt. I’m especially bothered by the superdelegates because they were created in response to the power in the nomination process shifting from the DNC overlords to the individual primaries and caucuses – i.e. shifting to the People.

    The old boys just couldn’t stand that I guess.

    I’m also concerned with so many of these superdelegates being currently serving Democratic politicians. Do we really need a presidential nominee to enter the general election already beholden to various Congressmen, Senators and Governors?

  3. Who won NH? | Reflections From a Murky Pond Says:

    […] A Primary Truth […]

  4. Who Won NV? | Reflections From a Murky Pond Says:

    […] actually nominate the Democratic Party’s Presidential Candidate. It’s these men and women, plus 852 “superdelegates”, who will determine which candidate is nominated. Democratic primaries and caucuses award delegates […]

  5. Edwards - Kingmaker? | Reflections From a Murky Pond Says:

    […] In suspending his campaign – instead of terminating it – Edwards gets to keep all 26 delegates he won in: Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. After he officially exits the race, 10 of those delegates will be dispersed to the other candidates, with Obama getting 6 and Clinton getting 4. Under Democratic National Party rules, Edwards will maintain a say in naming the other 16 delegates. Edwards had also collected endorsements from 30 of the 852 superdelegates. […]

  6. AlexM Says:

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

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