February 14th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
14 years ago

Democrats fear superdelegates could overrule voters

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/POLITICS/02/14/superdelegates/art.dem.convention.file.afp.gi.jpg caption="Could the Democratic Party's superdelegates cause the kind of turmoil they were originally created to avoid?"]
(CNN) - Some Democrats say they fear their party's method of picking a nominee might turn undemocratic as neither presidential candidate is likely to gather the delegates needed for the nomination.

Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are running neck and neck toward the party's August convention in Denver, Colorado. Most projections show neither getting the necessary 2,025 delegates in the remaining nominating contests before then.

Party rules call for the votes of superdelegates - 800 or so party officers, elected officials and activists - to tip the balance. The party instituted the system to avoid the turmoil that a deadlocked race would create at a convention.

But even some superdelegates are questioning the system, as the party heads toward the conclusion of a race in which they might determine the outcome.

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Filed under: Delegates • superdelegates
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Vince Los Angeles, CA

    If the superdelegates back Hillary regardless of the fact that Obama leads the pledged delegate race, I will be VERY open to the idea of an armed revolution!!! Such an event would be tantamount to treason and completely OPPOSITE to everything the United States stands for....I would NEVER support Hillary Clinton under such circumstances.....!!!

    February 14, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Karen from Minnesota

    I don't have any problem with superdelegates and I don't feel that they need to follow the vote of their states. What sense would that make? They are the party's backbone and need to have a say in the party's nominee.

    Political parties are not governments and we do not have any "rights' re the nominees of either party. They should run any candidate they think is the best for America. Parties are not democracies either. If people do not like it they can run as independents or create a third party.

    The Obama people do not seem to be party loyalists and want to take over the process. I suspect most are not members of their state or the national party. Obama has presented himself for consideration by the party but it is not mandatory to be the nominee in order to run in November.

    In November the dynamic will change and the Republicans wil be ruthless, cohesive and full of money. They will not roll over and die!

    February 14, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. Randy - Denver

    Get over it people it is THE RULES, just like Michigan and Florida violated the rules and lost their votes (including those who chose not to vote since they knew it was a waste) so too shall the so called superdelegates (I prefer uberdelegates myself) be able to vote however they decide. Thet are not required to vote the way their states voted nor are they required to vote the way they have publically stated, it is a secret ballot and most realize that they are there to represent ALL Democrats and if one candidate is significantly ahead of the other in total votes I suspect that candidate will get the nod. So relax folks all will turn out well even if your candidate does nto win.

    February 14, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Julia

    Whatever they decide ... if Barack Obama will not be the nominee I and my family will leave the Democratic Party and vote for John McCain.

    I would not want to be affiliated with Billary and another Royal Family. I have already lost most of my faith in the Democrats when I see how easily she can lure them in with her promises that she cannot keep as president anyway (for the most part because it would become a national sport to torpedo whatever she would propose). The Billaries would be a presidential joke, SNL material for four years and maybe -on the plus side- this would open the path for the establishment of an Independent Party.

    Is it not amazing how bush-like she is defiant of anything negative in her campaign and how she has a problem to admit when she made a simple mistake (Iraq) ?

    If she would be elected we'd be 'bushed' once more ... The Republicans hope that we will nominate Queen Billary. What an easy target ...



    February 14, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Obama supporter

    This rings of John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson, all over again.
    I love how our political electoral system is blatantly corrupt, and the people are just supposed to take it.

    February 14, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. Jamie

    Watch and see how the Clinton Machine is working overtime to steal this nomination from Obama and the voters. They have an army of lawyers working to seat the Florida and Michigan delegates. This nomination process will be as cut-throat and disgusting as LBJ's "landslide Lyndon" rip-off of the 1948 Texas Senate race. Hillary will lash out like cornered beast and wreck the party to get what she wants. Draw your chairs up to the edge of the precipice, folks, it’s going to be a helluva show.

    February 14, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  7. Worried Neighbour (Canada)

    Obama says that he is for change, BUT...

    The nuclear power company Exelon was pumping radioactive material into Illinois water supply, and Obama introduced a bill (the one he touts) to tackle it. After Obama met with Exelon the bill mysteriously got watered down to the point that it had no effect on the company.

    Illinois was left with a bill that failed to protect it's citizens from nuclear waste!

    Obama was given almost $195,000 in donations from the executives at Exelon!

    If he can sell out the good folks of Illinois to corporate interests, just imagine what is waiting for the whole country!

    There is no 'O' in change!!!!!!

    February 14, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. Pete Wilson

    As well they should be concerned....I think in order to give the public a more accurate count of the delegate totals...CNN and every other news orginization should stop giving totals including the "Superdelgates". This gives the public a false sense of what the numbers really are and puts more emphasis wrongly on the Supers. Let the people know what the people think...and not the supers

    February 14, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Phil

    Let me get this straight. You are afraid the process might become undemocratic? I hate to turn on the light for you but it already has.

    This process is clearly wide open to manipulation and I believe that is exactly what has happened. Starting in 2000 it appears that Howard Dean and the Democratic Party hierarchy doing their best Hugo Chavez imitation has embarked on designing a system to defeat Hillary Clinton. They did this by increasing the number of caucuses that take the primary election out of the hands of registered Democrats and puts it into the hands of a narrow special interest slice of the electorate.
    Consider this. Based on the numbers published by CNN, so far the closed caucuses which Obama won have included an average of 1.24 percent of registered democrats in those states. The open caucuses have included an average of 3.24 percent of all voters in those states.
    So for the media to trumpet a win of 52 to 48 percent is very misleading. It is only 52% of the 1.24 % who showed up.
    In open caucus states, who knows how many crossover voters participated with the express intent of eliminating a candidate that may be more difficult to beat in a general election.
    Then there's Florida and Michigan. Is that fair?

    February 14, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. Eli

    GO HILLARY!!! She is the only SMART one running! When Obama opens his mouth and talks, it sounds like he never finished high school!! He sounds just plain retarded, and if he wins the democratic race, MANY dems will vote for Mccain!! I know I sure will.

    February 14, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Every time Hillary gives a speech she always injects that she's been tested like she the only one. Millions of us Americans have been tested in ways Hillary has never experienced; loss of jobs, home foreclosures, no health care, no money for our children's education and the list can go on. Obama knows and relates to what Americans need. Vote Obama.

    February 14, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  12. Fabian Blache III

    This is precisely the kind of concern that undermines the electorate process. Ultimately, the electorate process taints the basic tenets of a true democracy. I have said in another post that when we talk about "we the people" it should mean just that.

    The mere fact that they can vote for anyone, even though historically they have voted for the designee resulting from the popular vote, is troublesome. Why? Because the process is not representative of a system that allows, or trusts the people to choose their elected official.

    So the popular says one thing, then the electors check that result to make sure the populous has not lost their wits, then Congress checks the electors in basically the same manner. This results is too many layers that water down what should be the bottom line, and that is whether or not the people–by majority–chose that candidate or not.

    The fact that Al Gore won the popular vote by more than half a million votes, roughly 543,816 to be more precise, still resonates today as one of the most profound examples of why the electoral college system is grotesquely flawed.

    We the people...elected Gore, the electorate and Congress shoe-horned Bush into our lives and the effect is markedly indelible and despicable.

    February 14, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |


    February 14, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. Jazz

    Superdelegates are the keepers of the flame for the democractic party.
    Because we hold open primaries and caucuses we are vulnerable to the Machiavellian desires of party outsiders. Crossover republicans and independents who are republican leaning are using this fact to push for Obama knowing they will not vote for him in November. They are even boasting about it in "public opinion interviews" on tv. If it works for them today, which third party candidate will it work for in the future?
    If Florida and Michigan party members should have no say because
    of a parlimentary rule violation, then nonparty member's votes should be factored out as well. We the party faithful were with you during the Reagen and Bush years, where were they?

    February 14, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. Liam

    If Senator Obama goes into the convention with the most delegate won, the party better not cheat him out of the nomination, or they will see the African American voters sit out the November election, and the party will lose even the Senate and House.

    Do the right thing. Support the nominee that ends up with the most elected delegates. That is what elections are supposed to decide.

    February 14, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  16. ron

    If it gets to the supers and they do not follow the ultimate will of the voter then I and I am sure others will abandon the Dem Party.

    I am not saying I will vote for McCain but I can not support a candidate that was not supported by the majority vote.

    The Dem party needs to change their system if they want to avoid upending the apple cart. This could and will be a major deal.

    If the Dem party wants the Super's to pick the candiate then why even bother having a priamry. Save all the maoney and wasting our time and just pick yourself. The voter can then decide in November who they prefer. Think about why get us inlvolved if it is going to come down to just a few making the fianl decision

    February 14, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. Liz

    "...might turn undemocratic.."???

    Hasn't it been un-Democratic all along? Why are Republicans and Independents allowed to determine the DFL candidate? Of course you want their votes in the General Election but you need to get this part right in order to win. We're seeing a blur of party lines like never before.

    Where is the focus on issues and solutions? I still don't know what kind of President Obama would be. I'm amazed at how many people think immeasurable ideals qualify someone to be President.

    Why are primary debate questions not tied to your party platform and candidate qualifications, along the lines of a job interview?

    Someone suggested the Dems use ONLY party delegate votes in determining their candidate. Maybe then we wouldn't have to watch all this money being blown, the media bias, broken party rules in MI and FL, the meltdown of core democratic values (racism, sexism, ageism).

    February 14, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. Leo

    If our votes do not count now they will not count when these super delgates decide to run for office again.

    February 14, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. RADA

    Feeling alienated? Disenfranchised? – that's how we feel in Florida... sick of it to be exact. The Democratic party will loose this election after all. What we need is a united party and a united ticket… this is ridiculous… we need to get this decided before convention. I wonder exactly how Mr. Obama is going to win the Whitehouse without Florida. His campaign and he kept telling 1.7 million Democrats here in Florida we don’t count. Even thou I voted for him I regret it now.

    February 14, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |