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. James B.

    I don't think it's too many. Party elders and office holders are important to the process. If I was king for a day, I'd bunch the primaries closer together and get them (and the convention) over with sooner. That way, candidates wouldn't have to raise these obscene amounts of money to end up not getting nominated.

    May 22, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. Terry, Butte, Montana

    June 4th is when all the remaining super delegates need to endorse.

    I would hope that CNN or another news agency would get both Obama and Clinton to say they will stand by whatever decision is made in regard to Florida and Michigan.

    This needs to end on June 4th. If the losing candidate tries to continue on to the convention then I would hope that ALL the super delegates vote for the winning candidate.

    May 22, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. FEDUP

    Redo the whole system. Straight state votes, no caucuses, no splitting delegates.

    May 22, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. Concerned

    It's not the voters fault but the rules are the rules and Fl and MI should turn their anger toward the GOP who mislead them.
    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 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  5. Mary K

    In an weird way, it may be working for the Democrats. McCain has been completely marginalized in the press. Though Clinton is starting to look like a crazy person, Obama has had time to make himself a known entity to the American people. Provided that Clinton doesn't totally implode and try to destroy the process (and who knows given her recent racist comments) it's actually been positive for Obama.

    May 22, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. Rose - Baltimore, MD


    This is why it is called a democratic party. There is democracy, everyone gets a fair share of delegets, so that people don't go to vote for a candidate and their candidate comes out with zero delegates. If you don't like it you have the choice of being a republican or independent.

    May 22, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. JB

    Its not whether they could, its whether they should and the answer is yes.

    Being from NH, I can tell you that having small primaries first allows the candidates to get in touch with people, not 30,000 at a time.

    Consolidate the dates, unify the procedures and REMOVE FLORIDA PERMANENTLY!!!!

    May 22, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. ricoman

    People are excited, but only those that believe there is a chance for Clinton to win based on the possible reversal of the popular vote by the Superdelegates. But if we start with the elimination of the Superdelegates, we shouldn't stop there. We should get rid of the Caucus system as well. It's antiquated and not transparent. Not very democratic, even though it helped boost Obama, whom I support.

    May 22, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. ham

    I like Hillary Clinton, but she is looking really desperate and pathetic. For the sake of her own dignity she should stop.

    May 22, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. Sarah

    All this because Clinton is losing. OBAMA 08'

    May 22, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  11. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    The DNC needs to do it the way the Republicans. Half the states should be winner-take-all, and if one of the states disobeys the rules, only take HALF of the delegates.

    And most of all, get rid of the superdelegates! The only reason they're needed is because there were no winner-take-all states!

    May 22, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  12. Ellie in Aurora, CO

    Good point, Bryan. It would be good, though, to have a contest in which there couldn't be a disparity, or claim of disparity, between the popular votes and the delegates. If we could just do straight popular vote in both primaries and general elections. Isn't that a true democracy? As it is, we have some people or states count for more than others. Let's hope the Dems and all change the process.

    54-year-old white woman with MBA proud to be an Obamabot!

    May 22, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. susants

    Proportional representation is the closest we can get to democracy in a republic.
    The process has worked well in letting us get acquainted with states and constituencies we would not know.
    Democrats have been diligent and responsible in carrying out their responsibilities.
    The process has thrown up an exciting winner who has 'earned' the nomination by winning more states, more pledged and super delegates and the popular vote.
    What has been unpleasant is that the loser is trying to overturn the results by whatever means.

    May 22, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  14. Nina B.

    It should be "winner take all", as in the Republican Party. What a mess! Hillary shoud have been the nominee a long time ago. I guess it's just tough luck, Hillary, right? This is a travesty.

    N. Brown

    May 22, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  15. Blabberwitz

    What should be scrapped is this hysterical woman unable to come to grips with her pathetic situation. Clinton really needs to be institutionalized.

    May 22, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. avoter

    They need to do away with superdelegates and the whole electoral vote altogether. One person; one vote – let the individuals tell the story - popular vote only.

    May 22, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  17. Allan

    NO. The current system stinks.

    I think that they should do away with the caucuses, with those that have been in place for over 20 years being excepted (i.e. Iowa, etc). The newer caucuses in the larger states seem to be great for highly motivated followers, but not so good for the general population, who may not have the time (or stamina) needed to be at a caucus. Also, the caucus rarely reflects the general election voting, or even the process.

    I think they should have all of the primaries within 2 months of each other, split into 4 batches (i.e. 2nd Tuesday of April, then the 4th Tuesday of April, then the 2nd Tuesday of May, and finally, the 4th Tuesday of May). I don't know how to divy them up, off hand.

    They could experiment with giving the winners of a state ALL of the delegates (similar to the Electoral College), however, this would tend to favor early winners. Or it could go the other way, and leave the party even more split.

    I'm debating whether the superdelegates would be needed at all (especially, if all they do is reflect the vote in their state), or whether they're a great idea that has been held back by the current circumstances.

    The only good thing about this year's primary season, is that it has been a rollercoaster ride, and also interesting. More people are paying attention, more are registered, and more are voting. And, it still going on!

    May 22, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |

    The DNC is incredibly complicated and is at times undemocratic in how it allocates delegates. The super delegates further complicate the issue. They are supposed to be safeguards against the far left's radical, unelectable choice, but are being bullied into simply validating the radicals choice. Believe me Obama is radical.

    The far left feels it is necessary to cram their radical agendas down democrats throuts just because we want better health care. Some feel that we can only live up to ideals by nominating Obama because he is black. This is the worst kind of affirmitive action because it is going to cost the Democrates many votes, including mine, and will certainly lose the general election.

    May 22, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  19. scrapit

    Obviously the democratic system is bad. The especially need to clean out the DNC.

    May 22, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  20. HSNP

    Yes. Scrap it.

    May 22, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  21. Tom

    I don't think it is a matter of changing the system... It is a matter of wanting to change the rules, in the middle of the game just because you are losing.

    May 22, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  22. David D Kollie

    Barack Obama is BOXER.
    B–body shattering

    He was overlooked by the so-called pundits. But he proves to be a well known BOXER. Let HRC give it up.

    May 22, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  23. Allan

    My "NO" in my previous posting (if it makes it) was in regards to Wolf's last question, as to whether it was too early to start thinking about changing the system.

    May 22, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. taylor richmond virginia

    question? if Puerto Rico has no delegates in the general, why do they have 55 in the primary?

    May 22, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. Mike in Calgary

    Clinton does not do her homework (didn't read intelligence report before voting to start War in Iraq). She lies (about Bosnia). And now she RENEGES on her agreement that the Controverted Elections to be held in Florida and Michigan would not count.


    The Lady who brought self-service to the Public Service squandered her lead with her own incompetence.


    May 22, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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