Monday, 22 February 2016

Thanks to “Superdelegates," Hillary Might Be Assured of Nomination

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Question: with Hillary Clinton’s win in Nevada, 53-47, but only squeaking by Bernie Sanders in Iowa and getting spanked by him in New Hampshire, how is it that Clinton has a seven-to-one delegate advantage (502-to-70) over Sanders?

Answer: Because one-sixth of the approximately 4,763 delegates who will be headed to Philadelphia in July to pick the Democratic Party’s nominee are “superdelegates," beholden to no one, least of all the voters. Seven hundred and twelve of those delegates are “unpledged” and include

20 party leaders (current and former presidents, vice-presidents, congressional leaders and chairs of the DNC (Democratic National Committee);

20 Democratic governors including territorial governors and the mayor of Washington, D.C.;

47 Democratic members of the U.S. Senate, including the “shadow” senator from Washington, D.C.;

193 Democrat members of the U.S. House of Representatives; and

432 elected members of the DNC.

Five hundred and two of them have already said they would vote for Clinton — although it should be noted that superdelegates can change their pledges at any time, especially if Hillary is indicted or if Sanders wins more popular votes.

Liz Shield, writing for PJ Media, calls it a “parallel” election that runs alongside those being conducted in the states. Doing the math, Sanders would have to win nearly 60 percent of all the delegates from the other states where primaries haven’t been held yet in order even to come close to overcoming Hillary’s commanding lead.  

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried to answer charges that this rigs the primaries, thus turning further primary campaigns in the states into Kabuki Theatre and entertainment for the deluded masses who still think it’s a contest:

Well, let me just make sure that I can clarify exactly what was available during the primaries in Iowa and in New Hampshire. The unpledged delegates are a separate category. The only thing available on the ballot in a primary and a caucus is the pledged delegates, those that are tied to the candidate that they are pledged to support. And they receive a proportional number of delegates going into the — going into our convention.

Unpledged delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don't have to be in a position where they are running against grass-roots activists.

A careful parsing of this "clarification" reveals what superdelegates are there for: to make sure that, as Shield expressed it, "the unwashed grassroots activist class doesn’t hold too much sway when choosing the party’s nominee … to make sure the nutter-left [that would be Bernie] doesn’t take control of their party’s nomination."

And just how are those superdelegates rounded up and herded into Hillary’s cattle pen? With money. Since the DNC overturned a ban introduced by Barack Obama in 2008 restricting donations from super PACs, money has been pouring into the DNC’s coffers. And those funds have been blatantly used to buy superdelegates who might otherwise be wavering.

A single example will suffice: According to Bloomberg, the New Hampshire Democratic Party received $124,000 from the Hillary Victory Fund. Conveniently, six out of six superdelegates in the state dutifully pledged to Hillary while 60 percent of the primary vote went to Sanders.

So now those superdelegates pledged to Clinton — but who, remember, can change their pledges at any time and for any reason — will take center stage.

 Photo: AP Images

A graduate of an Ivy League school and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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