The super superdelegates
The Associated Press takes a look at the ongoing superdelegate drama taking place between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and informs its readers that some superdelegates will have more power than others:
WASHINGTON – Some of those presidential superdelegates Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are pursuing are more super than others. One delegate, one vote doesn’t apply to them. These prominent Democrats can name additional superdelegates, giving them control over multiple convention votes, and that could be the difference in a race that may not be decided until the August convention.
The clout of the nearly 800 superdelegates is unprecedented in this year’s race because neither Obama nor Clinton can clinch the nomination with only the delegates won in state primaries and caucuses. Largely overlooked in the arcane process, though, is the power of a select few to complete the superdelegate ranks by naming 76 newbies, and Clinton and Obama are fighting hard over every one of those from state conventions to back rooms.
Separated by fewer than 140 delegates, both candidates are lobbying the hundreds of known superdelegates, employing family, friends and influential surrogates to woo the governors, lawmakers and other party leaders. Some are more important than others.
Consider Art Torres, chairman of the California Democratic Party. He remains uncommitted, yet he could be the most powerful superdelegate of all. Torres gets to name five additional superdelegates, giving him control over six votes at the national convention this summer.
“I am the super of supers!” Torres proclaims with a laugh.
He and other state party chairmen will appoint most of the additional 76, known in Democratic ranks as “unpledged add-ons.”
“They basically are gifts to the state party chairs,” Harold Ickes, a chief strategist for Clinton, said of the additional superdelegates.
Is this wacked or what? On top of there being superdelegates who already have more power than the voters in each state just by the fact that they can change the outcome of the nominating process , there are also super superdelegates who get to pick more supers. Thank goodness RNC are not a party to this high level of insanity when it comes to picking their presidential nominees. Saying that, I should note that while the Republican party does have superdelegates of their own, they make up only about 5% of the delegate total. With the Democrats, it’s around 20%.
Graphic courtesy of the RNC
As a sidenote, how much you wanna bet Hillary’s wishing like heck that the Democrat party didn’t reward delegates on a proportional basis in each state? The reason being that if the Democrats did winner-take-all, Hillary would currently be ahead by 120 delegates – and that includes the supers. Without the supers, she’d be ahead by 167 delegates.
I view the Dems’ dilemma on superdelegates with a mixture of embarassment and schadenfreude. Embarassment because the superdelegate process is what it is today thanks in large part to a former North Carolina governor: Democrat Jim Hunt. I feel schadenfreude for obvious reasons: the longer the Democrats remain divided over not just the superdelegate drama, but also on how to handle the Michigan and Florida delegates situation, along with the number of Democrats who say they will vote for McCain if their candidate doesn’t win the nomination, the better it will be for the Republican party come November.
Divided the Dems could fall, and united the GOP could win.