Superdelegates - Who Needs 'Em?

So there are a couple of petitions going around, with the purpose of pressuring the superdelegates to vote according to the popular vote.

I didn't sign either petition. I think the hoopla about the superdelegates is overblown this year - the MSM likes to promote drama, you know. The superdelegates will in all likelihood go with the delegate leader. In case of a tie, they'll go with the momentum candidate.

The main reason I think the petition is a bad idea is because ...
I don't want the superdelegates to be bound to align themselves with the people's choice as a matter of principle (that's how the petitions are wording the issue - the superdelegates should always be bound by the will of the Democratic voters). If that becomes the established precedent, then they'd be completely superfluous. As a side issue - what expresses the people's choice: delegates or overall vote?

It's not really an issue for this year's race, because either Clinton or Obama will be fine nominees for the party. But imagine a different scenario. Imagine there's a serious nutbag like Ron Paul, with lots of popular support but with an actual campaign, too. Imagine what a spot the GOP would be in if Ron Paul were in the lead, or even close. What if he were in a close second, and McCain had a heart attack in August? The GOP could not support a Ron Paul candidacy, even if he had significant popular support. I don't want the Democratic Party to be in that position in the future.

That's what the superdelegates are for. They protect the interests of the party. Running a presidential candidate is a serious effort, and it requires a party infrastructure that is decades old, with thousands of people dedicated to the party's future. Their support for a candidate is very important.

Now, you could argue that there are too many superdelegates. That I might even agree with. There's probably a bias in the party towards creating more of them as a way of rewarding people. But I think it's a balance that's required rather than a dismissal of the concept entirely.

Clinton annoyed me when she started pandering to the Florida and Michigan delegates - saying that she would try to get them seated. She was trying to influence them by advocating for a change in the rules midstream. And this petition effort strikes me as an effort by the Obama supporters to influence the superdelegates by altering how the nomination process works. I think underneath all this is a fear that the superdelegates will go with the 'establishment' candidate - Clinton.

Realize that I'm saying all this as an Obama delegate to the Idaho State Convention. He's my guy now, and signing this petition would probably help him. I just think it's slightly 'dirty pool' and most likely unnecessary.

[Cross-posted at Drinking Liberally]

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I Agree

There's absolutely no indication the supers are in a mood to play spoiler for either side. Although the process getting there may be a bit messy, I fully expect the end result will be that the final pledged delegate leader is the nominee.

This all may be a moot point by this time next month anyway.

I didn't touch the petitions either

The superdelegates are obviously beholden to their own constituency. They are not going to go against how they voted for fear of jeopardizing their own re-election. And the elected leaders of the party should have a say on the ticket. It makes sense to me.

There Have Already Been Defections

HRC has lost at least five superdelegates over the past week, two have pledged to Obama, the other three are now "uncommitted." The wavering is particularly noteworthy in Georgia, where Obama decisively won the primary.

If HRC loses Texas and/or Ohio, expect the trickle to become a flood.

Kingmaker

Aren't Edwards sworn delegates still available?

I Suppose

But he only has something like 24. I don't think the margin will be that close.

Edwards appears to be hedging his bets. I'd be surprised to see an endorsement from him either way in the immediate future. Same goes for Bill Richardson.

24 is a massive amount

Right now 24 delegates would almost push Obama over the magic number, if the predictions hold true.