February 19th, 2008
03:21 PM ET
15 years ago

Blitzer: Some superdelegates may be shut out

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/19/iowacaucusnight2008.jpg caption="Florida and Michigan’s superdelegates have been penalized, too."] (CNN) - The superdelegates going to the Democratic convention in Denver at the end of the summer include all the elected Democratic governors, senators, and representatives. Right? Wrong.

Michigan’s Democratic governor, Jennifer Granholm, is not a superdelegate. Neither are Sen. Carl Levin or congressmen John Conyers and John Dingell. The same is the case for Florida’s Democratic senator, Bill Nelson. He won’t be a superdelegate. Neither will representatives Robert Wexler or Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

That’s because Michigan and Florida moved up their primaries into January, before the February 5 Super Tuesday schedule. That broke party rules, and as a result, the Democratic Party stripped them of their pledged and unpledged delegates. The superdelegates are unpledged - meaning they can support any candidate they want.

Thus, the 795 superdelegates at the Democratic convention do not include the 28 who would have come from Michigan and the 22 who would have come from Florida. That could change only if party leaders reconsider their decision.

There is talk of organizing caucuses in both states if the battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama remains deadlocked going into May and June. Organizing full-scale primaries is much more difficult and much more expensive. Hillary Clinton hasn’t done well in caucuses so far.

At the same time, however, she and her supporters believe they can still win those big states. They did “win” the most votes during the January primaries even though none of the candidates could campaign there and Obama’s name wasn’t even on the ballot in Michigan.

I suspect we will see caucuses in Michigan and Florida if this race remains unresolved. That is possible. The Democratic Party big shots would prefer that to a brokered convention on the floor in Denver.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: superdelegates • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. concerned about fairness

    I have always respected CNN as being professional.
    However I find it increasingly disturbing how Wolfe using positive language when talking about Obama and VERY NEGATIVE when talking about Senator Clinton.
    Listen to your self and please not let your personal choices impact on the job you should be doing of reporting the news.

    February 19, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Noe

    DNC should accomodate the GOP's rule in the future. They have to realize now, how expensive and time consuming their system are.

    February 19, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. Elliot Baron

    I continue to hear Wolf Blitzer promote a fiction, just moments ago with Donna Brazile, that Florida Democrats changed the rules on their primary and should not be seated.

    This is like the "big lie" that keeps getting repeated with the hope that it becomes true. What don't they understand about the truth?

    The State Legislature, both houses of which are controlled by Republicans, changed the primary date and it was signed into law by the Republican Governor. The Democratic leaders had absolutely NO CONTROL over the change in date.

    It worked out to be a brilliant Republican ploy. Their primary counted and they successfully disenfranchised the voting Democrats yet another time - like the way their votes didn't count in 2000.

    Why national Democratic party leadership aided and abetted the Republican Party in disenfranchising Florida Democrats is anybody's guess. Why the "talking heads" keep twisting the reality is nothing short of moronic.


    February 19, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. Kame

    Another round of caucuses in Michigan and Florida would be a good choice. The current results in those states aren't representative, so two choices remain on the table: shut them out, or give them another chance. Shutting them out will probably cause a lot of voters to be angry though, so if they still wish to have a chance of winning those states in the general election, they'd better let them in.

    February 19, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. John Stevens

    Caucuses are very undemocratic. Florida and Michigan should get full primaries not caucuses where a few percent of the Democrats get to vote

    In addition I have not heard a good argument why the delegates from Florida should not be seated as they are. All the candidates were on the ballot there – the only one to campaign there was Obama via National Ads – and in fact Obama had just won the South Carolina primary should have given him a boost. The very source of the 'problem' of the Florida primary being early was due to the Republican government setting the date. Clearly the DEmocrats in Florida should not be punished for that.

    As for the total vote cast and pledged delegates – I believe Clinton is ahead if Michigan and Florida are counted. I remember when the primaries took place – that party officals there believed they would be seated at the Convention when the smoke cleared.

    February 19, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. Tony, Memphis TN

    Even if they do caucus and seat delegates, is that enough to put someone over the top given the proportional rules? This thing is brokered unless Obama can keep winning and by large margins...

    To bad too; whoever wins, the other side will feel cheated and I think the ticket gets defeated.

    February 19, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. Philip, NY

    You live in a democracy and you believe a super delegate should have one voter times over 10,000 voting power?

    February 19, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  8. Teresa C

    Ya know... I understand why they shouldn't be counted, But I am a Michigan resident/voter, and truth be known it is not our/voters fault for this stupidity.. so are we not to be considered nor our vote?? hello this is the U.S.A and votes do count we are the PEOPLE not the Goverment. I am beside Hillary and would pray that my vote matters?? after all what message does that send out to the world? We need to be the example of this thing called Democracy.

    February 19, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  9. Jim Souza

    Great thoughts on a sticky situation... especially for the democrats and the role that the superdelegate will play in 2008. Thanks for the insight.

    February 19, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  10. Bob

    Both Hillary and Obama are calling on the DNC to do the thing that would benefit them personally. This convinces me that both of them are self-serving politicians. I would have thought that especially for Obama, this might be a chance to show his awesome compromising spirit, but no, apparently winning is more important.

    I don't know if this will get through the filter, but Wikinews has been interviewing third-party candidates. We don't have to put up with these selfish jerks - we have a choice.

    February 19, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  11. Phil, KC, MO

    I do hope the DNC does not capitulate and seat these delegates without some form of a fair contest. In fact, it wouldn't hurt my feelings if they were not seated at all, period. Those states broke the rules and now they have to live with the consequences.
    It appears to me that Hillary played both sides of that issue by pledging to support the DNC's decision, then making sure her name was on the ballot in both states. Further, she pledged to support the decision then and now argues those delegates should be seated. It would seem to me she is being a bit opportunistic here – to put it mildly.
    I do not strongly oppose or support either candidate. I just think that, once a decision is reached by the party, all candidates – and their campaign staff – should be honor bound to uphold it and the party should not back down.

    February 19, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  12. June

    Well Wolf. at least the democrates are not crying over hanging chads
    My opinion for what it is worth is this .. All votes should count do away with the delegates.. the fair way is to let all our votes count and Wolf Hillary will be President

    February 19, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. steve ---Arizona

    Remember when things were going bad in Iraq and CNN gave us a steady diet of Michael Ware moaning how hopeless it was. When was the last time you saw Michael Wareor any reporter in Iraq on CNN? Now it is non stop blather about Obama's "momentum" -and Iraq has disappeared. Nevermind that we still have about 120,000 combat troops over there. It now is more important to feed us Obama mania and Lyndsey Lohan. Maybe if things crap out again, CNN will pull Mr. Ware out of the hamburger joint and put him in front of the camera again. Does the media manipulate the news? Is the Pope Catholic?

    February 19, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  14. Jon Ed

    " I suspect we will see caucuses in Michigan and Florida if this race remains unresolved. That is possible. The Democratic Party big shots would prefer that to a brokered convention on the floor in Denver." – Could a legal challange from the Clinton team force the party to accept the Michigan & Florida results?

    February 19, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. maggier

    Where was the outrage and precaution to avoid BEFORE the Florida and Michigan primaries?

    Personally I thought the DNC's decision to strip FL and MI of their delegates was as ridiculous as it was unfair. But for all purposes that decision seemed to have been accepted. IN deference to that decision Democratic candidates, with the exception of Sen Clinton, did not campaign in those states or put their names on the ballot.

    To cry "Unfair!"' now is, well, unfair. The Clinton camp wants the clain the FLa and MI delegates now - isn't that a bit like wanting to place a bet on a winning horse after the race is over?

    February 19, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. Dave

    If the Michigan and Florida delegates are seated without a fair caucus or primary, I will quit my monthly contribution to the Democratic party. We're tired of "politics as usual" and the high turnout in the nation's other primaries and caucuses is because we expect something different. Don't destroy our chance to begin to fix the disaster of the last 7 years and the next one.

    February 19, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. Tom in MA

    No, no caucuses. Those states had primaries and it is the only fair way to go. Caucuses will disenfranchise many of those who voted in the primary because they won't be able to make the caucuses! It is also a cheap way to try to favor Obama who will load them up with his fanatics and browbeat everyone else.

    February 19, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. Stacy

    Hillary Clinton is a woman who really wants the Presidency. She is clearly very intent on becoming President, to serve her own purposes. I am very angry that she is throwing around insults at Obama and of her attempts to undermine his campaign. Don't be blind people!

    February 19, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  19. Scott

    the democrats created thier election system, now two decades later it will make the biggest decision ever at the convention.

    i don't have a dog in this hunt as lou would say,

    but exsperince is what this nation needs, mr. obama dosn't have it.

    the republicans will pick him apart, or what little of him there realy is.

    they want obama, look at the carter/ ford race of 76, they will devour obama alive, were at war, the vet will shine.

    bowling green, mo.

    February 19, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  20. A. Waldron

    Wolf, they are called rules. The rules are the rules. Everyone, including Clinton, agreed to them at the start.

    I understand that the Clinton News Network is pro Hillary....but can we agree that the rules should be followed?

    Give us a break here.

    February 19, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  21. PSK

    One person. One vote. Superdelegates are anti democratic. And SHAME on Hillary for agreeing to forgo Florida and Michigan and then turning around and demanding they count. Typical Clinton manipulation.

    February 19, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. BobCFC

    The reason it is controversial this time is because of the possibility that Obama cleanly wins the normal delegates, yet still looses the nomination because some super delegates voted against the wishes of their own state.

    February 19, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  23. Debra Russell

    I'm from florida, I have talked to many people who did not vote, with the understanding that the vote would not count. So, if they change their minds and allow the vote to count they should re -vote.

    My thing is every time we vote for president some kind of voting problem pop up. Give Florida voter a break, everybody is not a republican. If their vote count our should too.

    February 19, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  24. Devon

    The Democratic party needs to stick by it's guns on the issue of Michigan and Florida- change things up without our say-so and you're done. Period. End of story. And if they don't move their primaries BACK for the 2010 cycle, they should continue to be denied delegates at the conventions until they do.

    The reason for this is simple: the Democratic party needs to solidify it's party in much the same way as the Republican party did in the early 2000's- vote with the party, or you don't get supported next election. Toe the party line, or else. The Democratic party is having serious issues internally right now, and it's far past time for the Party to get it's act together as a political whole in order to actually accomplish something, or risk falling out of favour with the exceedingly fickle voting public.

    It's put-up or shut-up time for the Dems, and they had better start with their own before they take on a force as well organised as the Republican Party.

    February 19, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  25. Phaedra H

    Why are we revisiting Michigan & Florida? Wasn't it the DNC who stripped them of their delegates? Didn't ALL candidates agree not to campaign in both states? Do we really want to continue to tear apart the Democratic party over an issue that was decided months and months ago? We MUST unite or we will run the risk of destroying our party and thus allowing McCain to win the white house. Democrats, do we really want McCain? Can we afford, "In lives and in treasures," a 100 years more of this Iraq war? Can we afford, "In lives and in treasures," another war with Iran? If for no other reason, think about our kids AND our country! Can we continue to sacrifice our young people? Can we afford more of this war? We are headed (or in) a recession now! Another war WILL bankrupt America! We are better than this...Democrats, we must stop this bickering, before it's too late!

    February 19, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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