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. MM

    I don't think it is too soon for them to talk about what it should be like in the next election. I would like it to be based totally on popular vote. I don't want it to see it to reflect the Republican's method of "winner takes all". Yes, I know that is how it is in the general but I think the primary is about chosing a candidate that will represent the the majority. I think that all primaries should be a closed primaries - meaning you must be registered as a Democrat in order to vote. I realize that independents will be left out but guess what, you are not a member of the party, why should you be given input as to the nominee – and btw I am an independent.

    May 22, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  2. fairandstraight

    If this was the same process that elected the last Democratic nominee they should keep it the same. Rather than scrap the process, they should scrap the intent of the superdelegates. If one candidate has the majority of the elected delegates and the other one is trying to find a way to destroy the party rather than concede, then the superdelegates end the process. I think they are holding out for personal gain rather than waiting for all states to vote.

    May 22, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  3. Patrick, Lake Stevens, WA

    The Democrats should revise or scrap the process entirely as it is too complicated right now. Clinton, however, is using it for all it's worth when you consider a few weeks ago she was spouting how she had the lead in Superdelegates despite being down in pledged delegates – when she fell behind in superdelegates over a week ago, she insisted, if not, demanded that Michigan and Florida’s votes be counted because she was ahead in the popular vote, according to her. Please, scrap this process and come up with something new so we don't get people like Hillary dragging out a process that could ultimately hurt the Democratic Party nominee!

    May 22, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. sb

    Just give it to Clinton. That crazy, insane woman might hurt the poor man if she doesn't win.

    May 22, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  5. Lynnette

    No, I don't want the Democratic Party to scrap the rules for deciding the presidential nominee. Why should we? Just because Hillary doesn't like it this year?

    I don't understand why people are blaming the DNC and Barack Obama for Florida and Michigan breaking the rules of the club. They knew the rules, the knew the penalties, and they did it anyway. All of those politicians in both of those states should be without jobs when election time comes around.

    May 22, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. James Nelson

    I don't know why you'd want to scrap something that has given us the most exciting, invigorating and historic political race in recent memory.

    It ain't broke, don't fix it.

    May 22, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. Concerned

    As DNC chairman, McAuliffe wrote about threatening to strip Michigan of 50% of its delegates if it moved up its date. Bill Clinton has also called a 50% penalty “appropriate.”

    Ickes sits on the committee and last year voted to strip Florida of its delegates.

    May 22, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. fred

    They should have re-thought them before this election. The DNC is a disgrace to the Democratic Party. I am ashamed at the way this primary. Do away with the caucus, they are a joke. We had one where I live and they totally disenfranchise the voters.

    GO HIllary!!

    May 22, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. Ill voter

    They NEED to do away with the current process, as does the national electoral college.

    Voters are better informed than ever before and can make their own decisions.

    I voted for Obama, and if he loses from superdelegate vote there is NO WAY I will vote for Hillary. If the race was tight in the popular state-by-state vote (pladged delegates) I could accept superdelegates making the choice.

    Obama has a huge lead in pledged delegates and any other Democratic nominee goes against the will of the voters.

    May 22, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  10. Adedokun from Atlanta

    Nothing is wrong with the Democratic primary process.It is the Clinton campaign that wants to change the rules in the middle of the game to suite their purpose.She has forgotten that the same process produced her Husband 16 years ago .

    May 22, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  11. s.b.

    Take it to the floor Hill!

    You're the only one who can win in Nov. polls will show that more and more up until Denver. Dems either want the white house or they don't.

    May 22, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. MonaP

    This delegate idea is idiotic – let the voters decide who should be the nominee. And while we're at it – let's get rid of the Electoral College. The popular vote of the people directly should be the determination of who are leader is.

    Under this current system votes in some places count heavily while other votes hardly count at all – how is that fair?

    May 22, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. lugina

    Wolf , Donna Brazile–Dean... INSIDE JOB , great job DNC...!!!!

    Hillary 08!!!

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

    I say keep the Super Delegates, but make it a winner take all system as opposed to a proportional system. THAT is the reason this is taking so long.

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

    Hillary needs to drop out now. She is damaging this party and it doesn't seem like she gives two sheet to the wind about the american people

    May 22, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  16. Chris In California

    I hope so! This has been nothing but a fiasco and I think the responsibility for it lies squarely on the shoulders of Howard Dean and the members of the Rules and Bylaws Committee. What a mess they have created!

    May 22, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. Paul from Boston

    Every candidate agreed to the rules this year. If they change them for the next election, great, whatever. Just don't act like changing the rules in the middle of the game is acceptable and fair simply because it benefits you. If you agree to the rules at the start of the game, you agree to them at the end. Only a fool serves their own self interests so blatantly otherwise...

    May 22, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. Ryan

    The worst part of the superdelegate system is that in 1996, everyone in Congress automatically was made a superdelegate for holding the position.

    I do find it tragically funny that Hillary's supporters now are even complaining about the superdelegates, as though 150 of the 700+ didn't come out for her at the outset of the process.

    Accept it, Hillary wasn't "likeable enough." The dishonesty being shown by her campaign right now is the reason that many of us didn't want her in the first place. I've been lied to enough by politicians lately.

    May 22, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  19. matthew

    the winner should be determined on popular vote. it's a simple concept. and it makes sense.

    why should 800 people get to choose the fate of the country?


    May 22, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  20. Jim

    Why should they? This is how elections are won; vote by vote

    May 22, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. Linned

    You have to take into consideration who the candidates are. This is a once (or a first, however you would say it) in a lifetime chance for an African American or a woman to be President.

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

    Wolf, your are right. Few thought it would go to June 3 and that includes Hillary, Bill, James Carvile and most especially Clinton News Network. Then Obama came as the underdog and blew right past her and hasn't stopped extending his lead after she was going to wrap it up on Super Tuesday.

    May 22, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. hmmmmm.....sounds fishy

    yeah.....Hillary would like it scrapped on May 31st....if possible
    Go Hillary

    May 22, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  24. James

    First, caucuses should be done away with the same way the electoral college should be. They are not democratic nor are they logical.
    Perhaps it's best to have the winner take all like the Republicans and then you have a winner more quickly.

    May 22, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  25. Zach

    They will definitely rethink the rules for 2012. It's not too early because they are already in the process of rethinking the rules for 2008 (possibly considering seating the delegates from Michigan and Florida, that were excluded by the current set of rules).
    If they weren't rethinking the rules, those delegates would not be considered and there would not be a special meeting on May 31 to decide.

    May 22, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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