Sunday, February 10, 2008

Purely Undemocratic

Minnesota Monitor:: Who are the superdelegates?

Who are the superdelegates?
by: Andy Birkey
Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 11:29:05 AM

Presidential candidates from each party are vying for delegates at caucuses and primaries throughout the country this winter and spring, but some delegates cannot be wooed by courting caucus-goers and primary voters. In the Democratic Party they are called superdelegates, and in the Republican Party they are unpledged delegates. Unlike pledged delegates, many are not selected by the voters in each party.

In the nomination process, the presidential candidates spend considerable time attempting to garner the support of the superdelegates and unpledged delegates as well as the popular vote.

The best explanation I've seen for superdelegates came from The Tahlequah Daily Press in Oklahoma last week. "The essential purpose of superdelegates is to maintain some control of the nominating process by establishment party elites," said Northeastern State University political science professor Dr. Ron Becker. "It is purely undemocratic, but the reasoning makes sense because primary elections and caucuses are dominated by party activists, as the typical voter does not turn out to vote.

"[I]f the Democrats nominate a candidate too far to the left, or the Republicans nominate a candidate too far to the right, this candidate will lose the general election to the more mainstream candidate," he said. "So the idea here is to have the establishment party leaders maintain some control over nominations."