Thursday, April 17, 2008


Democratic Superdelegates, with a pivotal Presidential election in their sights, are being hassled by opposing forces to commit for reasons becoming less evident by the day. With a bombardment of wide-ranging propositions germane to the triumph of the party, to the will of the majority, to a candidate’s overtures, or to the aspiration of the country, is it surprising that the confusion is conspicuous? The hard numbers have not yet provided an overwhelming winner, and the teetering balance may well resolve to the superdelegates for conclusion. Where should they seek adjudication on their upcoming consequential decisions above the interference of their cell phones?

Nancy Pelosi had sent a warning, stating that it would be a serious mistake for the Democratic Party if the superdelegates voted against the popular vote. Emerging from the leadership of a Democratic party within a Democracy, this is a particularly dissonant pronouncement. Ms. Pelosi’s motivation is less significant than the fact that she uses fear as a motivator. Is the credibility and future of the Democratic party left in the hands of the superdelegates, and directly commensurate with their upcoming votes? Not by any measure, nor should it be. Members of the electorate will consider the outcome from the aspect of their respective positions, whichever direction is taken by the superdelegates.

Some of the superdelegates are by definition unpledged delegates independent of primary and caucus results. They are supposed to be free to support any candidate they wish to be their party’s representative for the run to the White House. The acrimonious path the current Democratic race has taken between Clinton and Obama, should give rise to a commitment on conscientious and thoughtful decision making. Most delegates heading into the crowning convention will unfortunately not have much room to maneuver regardless what might surface from the candidates in the interim period.

In the creation of superdelegates, the senior party officials wanted to retain some influence over party direction independent of the electorate. Ms. Pelosi’s angst is that the role of the superdelegates, as was originally intended, might go against the slim majority, and in such a close race, could discharge dictatorial fumes. Whatever candidate their final vote supports, half of the Democrats will feel dissatisfied, disgruntled and some perhaps even angry. It remains that the superdelegates must be provided the maximum time and latitude for a final decision on who will run against John McCain. The outcome’s substantive impact on the American and global landscapes during the coming decade requires it. When making life changing decisions, do we not all wish for all possible instructive facts to surface? Do we not squeeze as much time as might be available, ergo the eleventh hour?

The ratio of pledged delegates for the two candidates in each State should have no bearing on the decisions of any of the superdelegates. Expecting otherwise renders them redundant, and should be a persuasive argument for the Democratic party to implement reforms to its process. The reality is that they exist. The other reality is that this is a democracy. In this election, the undeclared superdelegates should all have until the eleventh hour, even if this clock goes to the convention floor.


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