Hey, fellow Bernie Sanders supporters? Chill.
I get it. The superdelegate thing really is stupid, and very antithetical to the idea that all our votes count equally. It should totally be changed, especially since it’s a transparent way for the party machinery to ignore the will of the people if they want to, and they need to be reminded they are nothing without the voters. That being said, my fellow Bernie Sanders supporters: Chill.
Firstly, let’s just all get good with what a superdelegate is. NBC News ran a story on their website that had a pretty good definition I thought, so let’s use that.
They are delegates to the party convention — usually members of the DNC and other state and federal elected officials — who are allowed to endorse their own pick regardless of how their home state votes. (source)
Goody. We’ve definitely established that they are usually members of the establishment, and are indeed not beholden to the will of the people. So they function like the electoral college in a way, but at least that has a pretty good intention behind it — making sure the more populous states don’t run roughshod over the smaller ones. But this superdelegate system is totally whack, no doubt. Still though, I think it’s going to be best for all of us who support Bernie in the primary to chill out about them, at least until we get closer to the convention.
The reality is that right now the superdelegates are being awarded to Hillary Clinton, but that can change. Something tells me if Bernie’s ground game is good in South Carolina or Nevada, and he manages to pull a stunner out and win there or in any of the Super Tuesday states, a lot of those superdelegates are going to be feeling enormous pressure to change their vote to Bernie. Maybe I’m wrong, and I’m just an overly optimistic comedian guy. But right now, I can’t see a reason to panic over the superdelegate issue.
Back in 2008, the Democrats wrestled over the superdelegate issue too. Supporters for Clinton and supporters for then-Senator Barack Obama both at alternating times would kvetch about the other side’s superdelegate count. That can be read of course in two ways — either it’s mutually unfair or it’s mutually fair to candidates. I happen to think it’s unfair, but if you look at the superdelegate counts for 2008, while Obama certainly came out on top, and by a little over a hundred, the truth is that the overall delegate count also tipped Obama’s way.
Yes, the superdelegates helped grow his eventual lead over Clinton, but in the end, the superdelegates voted with the same relative ratio for Obama that their states did.
So what’s this mean? Well, it should mean that if people keep coming out in droves to vote for Bernie like they did in Iowa and New Hampshire that he’ll have a pretty good shot at forcing those superdelegates to heed to and vote for the candidate the people chose. As simply put as possible: Bernie needs to keep winning states. The more he wins, the more pressure he puts on the superdelegates.
This primary season is turning into one hell of a barn burner. On the Republican side, just enough people want Donald Trump that it’s choking the daylight out of any other candidate’s hopes. On the Democratic side, there are impassioned supporters of each candidate that are possibly turning off voters in the middle who know the most important mission this year is to keep the GOP from controlling all three branches of government. Fighting over the superdelegate count at this early stage just seems counterproductive to me.
Get out and vote, Sanders fans, that is the is the best thing, as far as I can tell, for you to do. I remember the squabbles within the Democratic ranks over Clinton’s count and Obama’s count of superdelegates, and in the end, they went with the will of the people by the same, relatively slim margin. Vote. Start there, and if the party disenfranchises you, if they choose entrenched power over your voice, then, then I say you light the pitchforks and grab the pokey torches. Until then, vote.
And I’ll say it again: Vote.