Friday, May 2, 2008

Superdelegates: Respect the will of the electorate

Some leaders in the Democratic Party are playing with fire. They think that they can betray the will of millions of voters--and choose Hillary Clinton as the nominee, regardless of whether or not she is the choice of the voters. We can't let this happen. It would be the largest disenfranchisement in modern history, and it would mean the Democratic Party giving their stamp of approval to a clear and consistent pattern of race-baiting by the Clinton campaign.

If we make our voices heard, we can stop it. Please join us in signing an open letter to leaders in the Democratic Party -- DNC Chair Howard Dean, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and all superdelegates -- demanding that they reject an outcome that involves trampling voting rights and legitimizing the politics of division and fear:

By the time the last vote is cast on June 3rd under the rules of the Democratic Party, it's unlikely Hillary Clinton will beat Barack Obama among voters. But there's a chance that superdelegates will hand Clinton the nomination anyway.This would be a shocking attack on democracy, and it would destroy the Democratic Party's credibility on protecting the right to vote.

Black people have a long history of fighting against voter suppression, and now the Democratic Party will be the enemy in that fight. As bad as that would be, there's another reason that a coup by party insiders would threaten racial progress.

Senator Clinton's plan to have superdelegates hand her the nomination doesn't make sense without a parallel strategy -- she has to stoke enough division and race-based fear among Democratic voters to convince superdelegates that white voters will not vote for Senator Obama in the general election. One of Clinton's key arguments to superdelegates is that America won't elect a Black man, and therefore she's the better choice for Democrats to beat John McCain. While she makes that argument in private to superdelegates, in public Clinton's campaign and her surrogates are doing everything they can to damage Barack Obama by ginning up fear and division and playing to the worst instincts of our society. It's an insult to Black people and all Americans, Obama and Clinton supporters alike.

The pattern has been clear and consistent to some party leaders. Last week, according to the Washington Post, James Clyburn -- who as House Majority Whip remains neutral and is the highest ranking Black member of Congress -- accused the Clintons of marginalizing Black voters.Referring to this strategy in another interview, Clyburn said that "Nothing in this campaign has been by accident."

Congressman Clyburn warned that "black people are incensed" over the divisiveness of the Clinton strategy and that it threatens an irreparable breach between Black people and the Democratic Party. He's right. And if superdelegates hand Clinton a victory despite her defeat among voters, they will be condoning and rewarding that strategy.

Some party leaders have expressed strong concern about superdelegates overruling voters. But as a whole, superdelegates have not made it clear that they will respect the will of voters. Today, we want to send a clear, unequivocal message to superdelegates and other party leaders: Reject the idea that the nomination can be won with a strategy that preys on racism, sows division, and disenfranchises millions of voters. Please join us:



PioneerValleyWoman said...

If the Democratic party does this, it will prove itself to be reverting back to the bigotry of the Civil Rights Movement, when southern Democrats fought civil rights enforcement.

So is the Democratic party going to use the play book of the Republicans over the past 40 years and implement a "Southern Strategy," now that a black man is competitive and threatens the ability of a white woman to win?

If they do this, they are reinforcing white supremacy.

MacDaddy said...

Thank you Color of Change and Tami for setting this up and disseminating it to us. I will sign the letter and post this important info on my own blog at Thanks again.

Evan Carden said...


Sorry, that wasn't clear. When should the superdelegates decide? Should they go based on the first polls? The caucuses? The primaries (at least here in Washington, we had both)? What if a congressman's district went for Obama, but his state went for Clinton? What if the poll results when the time comes to actually vote show that his constituents have changed their mind?

For that matter, at this point, neither cantidate can win without superdelegates, at least not without significant treachery on the part of the 'pledged' delegates, who are in fact entirely permitted to abandon the cantidate they're 'pledged' to.

The theory behind the superdelegates (as I understand it) is that the representative part of this representative democracy of ours might have some relevant experience and knowledge about who could and should be president. If they're just extra delegates for the state, what's the point?

I don't like the current system and think it should be changed. The fact that Washington held an entirely meaningless Democratic Primary still sort of shocks me...but this is the system we have and it isn't entirely irrational.

This election will be decided by those who the Democratic party have entrusted with control of the country...I don't like it, but it's not voter suppression, or 'trampling voting rights.'

Oh, just an admission of bias, I am a supporter of Senator Clinton.

Brother OMi said...

another clear example as to why the dems and the reps could give a damn about people, period.

Tami said...


It seems utterly illogical that the candidate who is ahead in delegates, popular vote, funds raised and states won, would not receive the Democratic nomination. If delegates are the measure we judge candidates by, then the fact that Obama is ahead by however small a margin, would seem to make him the "people's choice."

I know that Hillary Clinton floats a new way to measure success every other day, but I wonder if the shoe was on the other foot, what would the response be from the Clinton camp? If Hillary Clinton was ahead by the usual mesaurements, would we be hearing how the the Democrats are pulling out all stops to keep a woman out of the White House?

Evan Carden said...

I agree that the current primary process is screwed up on multiple levels.

But let me give you a couple of different examples. Each senator is a superdelegate. So, assuming we believe in proportional allocation of delegates, in any state where one cantidate won by less than seventy five percent, shouldn't one senator go to each?

And for that matter, the primary isn't over. In todays Times, it's argued that Senator Clinton may still win the popular vote:
I'm not sure I buy that argument, but it's not over yet (which appears to rapidly becoming the Clinton Campaign motto).

Another question. If as a congressman, I've worked with Senator Clinton, or Senator Obama and know that I can work with them in the future. If I'm owed by, or allied with one, shouldn't I vote for that one? Having a good relationship with the president is currency for a congressman and helps them serve their constituents.

I'm not even going to talk about funds raised. That whole process disgusts me. Honestly, we might just as well have our cantidates come out covered in logos, like race car drivers.

As to your last question, of course we would. Just like right now, you're screaming about Democrats pulling out all the stops to keep a black man out of the White House.

A while back I was having an argument with my sister. I might have been able to win, but I had other things to do, so I made my strongest argument and fled before she could reply, declaring victory as I went.

The point of that little story is that everyone tries to stop a fight when they're winning. I think the primary process would be better if we had a nationwide primary, but as it is, I see no problem with letting the race go all the way to the end.

But then again, I'm a supporter of Senator Clinton.

A final point, when you say he's winning by states, that's absolutely true, but the states he's won are ones that traditionally...I don't want to say 'don't matter' in the general election, but where Democrats have approximately the same chance of winning as they do of spontaneously combusting. More than that, Senator Clinton has won the large states, which is why the popular vote is so much closer than it should be from the number of states involved.

Then there's my problems with caucuses...

Anyway, my take is that we should see where we are when we reach the end, which we haven't yet.


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