May 22nd, 2008
03:35 PM ET
13 years ago

Blitzer: Could Democrats scrap the current delegate system?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Blitzer: Democrats are already starting to look past 2008."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic presidential nominating process is still being played out. It certainly looks like Barack Obama is very close to wrapping it up, but Hillary Clinton is not yet giving up.

There are still three more contests left, on June 1 in Puerto Rico, and on June 3 in Montana and South Dakota. And now, Senator Clinton and her advisers are even leaving open the possibility that this process could drag on to the Democratic convention in Denver at the end of August, especially if there is no change in the party’s refusal to seat the full Michigan and Florida delegations.

Back in early January, just before the first caucuses in Iowa, few would have thought that this process could continue into June. Many pundits actually predicted the Republican nominating process could drag on. But the widely-held assumption then was that the Democrats would wrap it up quickly, probably with Hillary Clinton winning the nomination. All of this goes to show that making political predictions can be a risky business.

Now, Democratic insiders are already starting to look beyond this year. Some are questioning the entire nominating process.

For example, should the party do away with its superdelegates. “I never supported superdelegates to begin with – 25 years ago,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, herself a superdelegate, said today. “I ran for the Chair of the National Committee opposed to superdelegates. You can imagine what a winning platform that was.”

She wants the Democratic Party to reconsider its rules. “There should be some representation of that leadership of the party and the congressional, gubernatorial and other manifestations of the party, but I think 800 is far too many.”

Is it too early for the Democrats to rethink their rules for 2012 based on what has happened this year?

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (267 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    The whole delegate system is flawed. The "super delegates" need to be completely removed from the process, they are not (for the most part) representative of their constituents, which are the people who are supposed to matter! Also, they need to move to a more Republican system of winner take all. In the general election the electoral votes are not split up, why should they be here? The whole delegate system is going to greatly hurt the Democrats in 2008, they are most likely going to nominate a canidate (Obama) who can not win the all important states because some "superdelegates" votes matter more so than the peoples. This needs to be fixed as soon as possible if they want any chance at the White House in 2012.

    May 22, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. CNN - but not for long......

    These rules and Howard Dean are just un-Democratic at times. The 'making up the rules as he goes' Dean will be the undoing of the Democratic Party as we know it. Since when do Democrats willingly and willfully disenfranchise millions of votes – especially since Florida in particular was as a result of Republicans??????? Only with Howard Dean could such a travesty occur! Watch out for the number of Democrats who leave the party and re-register as Independents.

    May 22, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. Rave

    No matter what they do, Delegates , Superdelegates – it is very fair to nominate Mr. Barack Obama. He is clearly the winner by people's decision.
    Why is the entire country revolving around Hillary's idea of changing rules every time she gets closer to loosing this nomination?
    Just watch her closely from the begining.. Pledged delegates, Superdelegates, FL / MI, Popular vote and what else??
    Why is the Media giving so much weight to her clear nonsense???
    I think CNN is playing very unfair towards Obama and towards Democrats. CNN is motivated to seat a Republican in white house again like 2004. Hillary Vs McCain is clear McCain win – even my dog knows it.

    May 22, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. Gringo

    ABSOLUTELY...change the rules to make it a majority rules election. Too bad they didn't think of that before a string of stupid unfair caucuses and the debacle in Texas.
    Now they have saddled themselves with a no-win no-experience candidate that will get blown out in November. Dems have done it again a la McGovern, etc.

    May 22, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. FrankSmith

    Why do the Clintons always "crew up" whatever they touch, including Paula, Monica, Whitewater, White House items.... and the list goes on!

    When will the Dems find the time to uplift their nominee for the general election?

    What are the Dems interested in: a fair nominating process OR a dynasty of families?

    May 22, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  6. Eduardo

    This nominating process is a terribel system. Some states choose delegates based on primaries, others on caucases and then some based on both. Whatever happened to a true democracy where the winner of the popular vote actually wins! Gore lost becuase of a faulty system and now we are seeing the repeat of 2000 all over again.
    I have to hand it to the Democrats to figuring out ways to lose once more.

    May 22, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  7. Marilyn

    The popular vote is the ONLY thing that should count in any election? After all, aren't we supposed to be a country governed BY the people?

    May 22, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  8. Chris

    The process shouldn't be scrapped just because a particular candidate loses (you don't change the rules of Football or our legal system because someone loses). "If" it is reviewed/scrapped, it needs to be done with respect to fairness, equality, consistency (caucus or votes – maybe not a mixture?) and democracy.

    There also must be pre-defined rules and consiquences... what's going on is divisive for both the country and MI/FL. Most of the country feels what Hillary is doing is out of greed, desperation and flip-flopping – FL/MI voters feel left out (both those that voted and those that didn't head out to vote).

    The system worked for Bill and past candidates, why is this year "different"?

    May 22, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  9. Real Change


    May 22, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  10. Alex in TX

    The delegate system is archaic. It was created back when people had to vote locally and jum on a horse and buggy to go to Washington to let people know who each "locale" was voting for. We have moder communication system that renders the delegate system useless.

    Had the electoral college been scrapped long ago like it should have been, our President right now would be Al Gore and the world would be a better place.

    May 22, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  11. RB

    It's about the number of DELEGATES! Would someone please shake Hillary awake. Popular vote (which you aren't winning anyway, sweetie) and five dollars will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Don't worry, they'll pour it for you!


    May 22, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. vic nashville,Tn

    The new polls shows that DNC have problems with their primary elections process
    I hope by 2012 they will fix it
    There is no clear winner in Democratic party
    I am life long Democrat this time me, my friends and my family members may vote for Mc Cain in November
    This is nothing do with Obama we are mad at DNC and some Media

    May 22, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. Rosalind

    Hillary should get a life. She is only pushing this issue because she is behind and not likely to be the nominee.
    She agreed to the original plan and decision to not count the votes in Michigan and Florida. Now she wants them to count.
    What about all the people who did not vote because they knew their votes would not count? What happens to thier non voice?

    The rules committee should not give all these delegates to Hillary just to change the outcome of the campaign. Obama is the winner and should rightfully be the nominee.

    May 22, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. gerard morei

    Hillary for President and second choice Hillary for President again!!!

    May 22, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. Jeanne, San Diego

    I think they should get rid of the superdelegates and adjust the rules for penalizing states that don't follow the rules so that they don't end up in the same mess again but otherwise, I think this system is more democratic than what the Republicans have and so the Democrats should find a way to make it work.

    May 22, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. Sherri

    People are excited, committed and ready for change. That is extraordinarily good for the Democratic Party and for the country.

    There do need to be some changes. There also should be a provision where each candidate must personally sign under oath a statement to abide by the rules or be disqualified to run...simple as that.

    May 22, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. for realsies

    superdelegates need to go. in fact, delegates need to go. have primaries. popular vote at primaries decides the candidate. that way, we can't have a losing candidate claim to have the popular vote when they obviously don't because there will be a clear count.

    on top of that, no more electoral college. just let the people choose for god's sake. the electoral college made sense forever and a day ago, but we are now in the (mis)information age, and people have access to a whole world of data that didnt even exist before. there is no longer a need for educated elitists to over rule the decision of the people, because the people are (mostly) not in the dark.

    May 22, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  18. Angus McDugan

    Only if Hillary thinks it will get her the nomination. Then you will see her 100% behind changing everything.

    May 22, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  19. Kumar

    I totally agree with the idea of scrapping the superdelegates. I have more suggestions. They should also add a provision which clarifies that it is only the pledged delegates not the pupular vote which qualifies for election. It should also be clearly stated that popular vote arguement can not be contested.

    May 22, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  20. jenkins

    They should copy the republican approach.

    May 22, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. stacy

    I agree with Bryan Rice, let it continue on all the way to the convention
    for the nominee, It is something to be interested in rather than rising
    food, gas, utilities that is eating away at our pocketbooks. May the
    best candidate win.

    May 22, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. Val!

    Democrats' chances to win in November are shrinking by the minute. It will be halluva victory for Republicans come general election, despite the fact that Democrats had everything in their advantage to win this election.

    May 22, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  23. Vincent

    Clinton cannot change the rules in the middle of the game!

    May 22, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  24. Sam

    there's nothing wrong with the process. Obama will get the required number of delegates, like all nominees are supposed to. Wolf, you give too much credibility to the Clinton way of thinking. If you don't, you'll realise that the process is still going on as designed and it's working well

    May 22, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. Elisabeth

    They should consider the entire nominating process. The caucuses were all frauds.

    May 22, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
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