March 10th, 2008
01:12 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer: How superdelegates are making up their minds

Candidates suggest the race will continue beyond March 4th.

Candidates suggest the race will continue beyond March 4th.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It’s now clear that neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama will have enough elected or pledged delegates to guarantee the presidential nomination.

Even if you add Michigan and Florida makeover primaries to the equation, neither is going to reach the magic number required for the Democratic nomination - which would increase with the addition of both states - with strictly pledged delegates. They will require superdelegates to put them over the top.

Undecided superdelegates will have to make a critical decision. Even decided superdelegates are in play – they are, of course, also allowed to change their minds. We have seen some high-profile switches in recent weeks. They, too, could be in play.

How should the superdelegates make their decision? What factors should they consider?

Some will naturally tend to go along with the candidate who has won the most pledged delegates. Right now, that looks like Obama.

Others will go with the candidate who has won the most popular votes across the country. Right now, that’s Obama but it could become Clinton after all the upcoming ballots are counted, especially if there are makeover contests in Florida and Michigan.

Some superdelegates will be inclined to support the candidate that carried his or her congressional district or state.

Yet other super delegates will look to the specific states that the two candidates have won and ask which candidate has the best chance of beating Republican John McCain in the fall. Clinton’s advisers point out that she has won the biggest states with the most Electoral College votes, including New York and California. That, they say, would bode well for her against McCain.

I have spoken with several undecided superdelegates in recent days, and most of them tell me they will eventually pick the candidate they believe has the best chance of beating McCain and helping other Democrats increase their majorities in the House and Senate.

What do you think? Do you agree with them?

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: superdelegates • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (188 Responses)
  1. Polly

    we should all be writing the superdelegates, they should represent the majority of the vote................... the general popular vote.
    we want change............

    March 10, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. Tex

    I think many of you are forgetting something very important. The Clintons essentially ARE the democratic party, at least as far as the influential members are concerned. They have so many connections, so much influence, so many devoted (and rich, influential) followers. I will be very surprised if they allow BHO to win this, and I do mean allow. Even though they have been "out" of office for a few years, they are still "in" with all the party bigs.

    Barrack better go ahead and take the VP offer now. If he doesn't, the party will definitely self destruct. HRC will get the nomination anyway (notice I didn't say "win"), and BHO will be OUT.

    March 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. M.

    I personally think that neither delegates or superdelegates should have any say in the process whatsoever...It's a ridiculous system...Whoever gets the most votes should be the winner.

    March 10, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Correct

    Yes. They should to pick the one who can beat McCain in Nov which is obviously Hilary who has one all big states.

    March 10, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. marion

    I personally know 6 friends that are Republicans here in Ohio and they voted for Clinton because they believe that she is the weaker candidate! If that many of my own circle have that opinion and allowed their vote to reflect that belief, how many more Republicans feel threatened by Obama? I believe that he is the stronger of the candidates and I feel that the superdelegates hold the same opinion.

    March 10, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  6. Angie

    I thnk your bias for Hillary is obvious to anyone that watches the Situatuon Room. You do no justice to Un-biased journalism. If we didn't already know it, we know know you are for Hillary. We know you love the think you can give us a break?

    As far as the Supers, they should vote however they want, they shouldn't be listening to the camps of either candidate nor bias people in the press. We all know both candidates have bias memebers in the press, so the Supers will just have to use their own judgment.

    March 10, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. LC


    March 10, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. greg

    Sen. Clinton wind the big battleground primary states, which are essential for winningthe general presidential election. Sen. Obama has success winning the caucas contest in many states that are going repub in the general election anyway, miss ga al Utah wy scarolina – these states are useless. Sorry to say,but true.

    March 10, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. Independent in IA

    I don't much care who they get behind, as long as they don't consider any of your biased comments to make their decisions.

    March 10, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. Progressive Voter

    I'm glad the super delegates are leaning towards whomever can beat the Republican candidate. They should hold off to the last minute, and then go with the polls. Forget the "more heat than light" arguments about whether it should be Clinton or Obama-they are both mainstream Democrats with very minor policy differences. I really don't want another 4 years of Republicans in power.

    March 10, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. Ray Hing

    I agree with them. The rule of Super-delegates should govern. Having said this, my gut feeling is that we will have a foreign policy crisis and that Clinton will come out swinging and makes her point. Hence, she captures the Democratic nomination. Watch-out the Iraq and Asia issues closely.

    March 10, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. Correct

    Yes. They should to pick the one who can beat McCain in Nov which is obviously Hilary who has one all big states. Why people keep saying that FL and MI broke the rules. The people of FL and MI didn't break the rules. Its the party leaders. The people of FL and MI shouldn't be held victims for the party leader's mistake.

    March 10, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. kelly WI

    ha ha. another sleazy dem to resign. NY gov. spitzer. lol

    March 10, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. Chris

    The superdelegates will have to go with whoever wins the popular vote, simple as that. If they go against the popular vote it will be like the popular vote doesn't count. This would be pretty much the same thing as the Supreme Court stealing the 2000 election for GW Bush. If superdelegates went against the popular vote it would destroy any ounce of credibility the Democratic party has.

    March 10, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. Shirley

    What are you idiots thinking!!!! Obama can not beat McCain.....

    March 10, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. Bob

    If Clinton wins the nomination for the democrats, my vote will go to John McCain. I guess if you go on television and cry people for sorry for you. I feel sorry for this country if she wins. Wake up people we need a complete change.

    March 10, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. Elsie

    Dale has been seconded.

    March 10, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. Tony Z- MD

    The Super Delegates need to step in now. Send Hillary a message that she does not have a 50 state strategy. and is not a a uniter. She is losing the presidential election for the Democrats.

    She should look at supporter Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend as an example. You act like a Republican and lose to a Republican when the Democrats are ready to support.

    Hilliary is vying for the VP spot on the McCain or Obama ticket. Somedays it is hard to see what side she is on.

    March 10, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. Steve

    I agree with those here that have said that the popular vote and pledged delegate totals should matter more than anything. Absolutely. Otherwise, how could it be a democracy? Think how horribly damaging it would be to the Democratic Party, and to our nation if superdelegates ignored the will of voters. Think of the message it would send to millions and millions of young and new Democrats across the country.

    Obama will have a lead in both popular vote and pledged delegates and it would be shameful and harmful if superdelegates did not recognize that.

    March 10, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  20. Ratgurl

    I would like to think that the Superdelegates would tend to vote the way their regions have voted. And I hope they vote for the best candidate to fix the horrible mess this country has become. And I REALLY hope that they vote for the person most likely to make government TRANSPARENT, thereby eliminating the mystery of how our country is run. Imagine what we could accomplish in the U.S. if we always knew how our moneys were being used.........

    March 10, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  21. Grif

    Nothing really to do with this!!!! Moreover, to do with other Politics...

    Smells a bit like the movie, (Without Malice)...

    March 10, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  22. roger

    Super delegates must go by the will of the people ( delegates) or push for a combined dream ticket.

    I do not agree the biggger-state is more important arguments.

    if super delegates are going to decide based on bigger-state ONLY, then why did we ask people in smaller states to vote then battling snow etc? Do they think we are fools to spend our time and energy to vote and send pledged delegates– just to learn that it is not going to count anyway.

    I will vote for combined dream ticket in any order if both campaign agree.

    March 10, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  23. bakersfield

    have a question?
    obama wins younger voters and voters over 50,000.00, clinton wins votes from older and below 50,000.00, poorer and older people would not or can not be there for the caucus's it makes since with this type of demographic that he would win the caucus's. the states go with caucus's because the dnc pays for it primary's the states pay for . so are these caucus's really a reflection of the state and during the general election do they have caucus because doesn't it seem to reason if they are all primary's in the general election obama won't fair as well just like i don't believe he would even be in the lead now if it wasn't for the caucus's example texas hillary won the primary but lost the caucus can somebody bring this up in explicit detail during the news, i'm sure this would be something the superdelegates would like to consider.
    Should caucuses, in which citizens who wish to express their choice are obliged to either show up at an appointed hour and sit in a room for up to several hours or not show up at all, be regarded as reflecting the popular will as much as primaries, where voters whose lives do not permit them to spend three hours in a locked room at the end of a workday can simply go into their local elementary school, vote and leave–like voters across the country do on the first Tuesday in November?

    March 10, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  24. Rachel Miller

    Ultimately, the purpose of a primary or caucus is to choose the candidate with the best chance of winning the general election. Obviously, it is much more complicated than that and there are many issues involved. However, I think the goal of the super-delagates will be to choose the person best able to beat McCain.

    March 10, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  25. Dan

    Dear Wolf,

    Why does the media buy into this ridiculous notion that, just because Clinton won New York and California in a Democratic primary, Obama couldn't – and wouldn't – win those states against the Republican McCain in a general election? For one thing, New York is Clinton's HOME STATE. Obama gets no credit for winning Illinois, another large, traditionally Democratic state. But Hillary wins New York and California – two LOCKS for the Democrats in November – and suddenly she's the candidate with the best chance to win?

    Oh, please. Don't buy this garbage. Hillary Clinton has no appeal whatsoever to Republicans or the majority of independents. McCain and Obama both appeal to people across the aisle. Hillary is the most polarizing person in the history of politics. She can't win a general, especially if the only way she gets there is by smearing Obama and ruining the Democratic Party to the point of no return.

    Come on Wolf, start acting like you guys are "the most trusted name in news." Seriously.

    March 10, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8