Guest Author - Tracey-Kay Caldwell
The concept of super delegates, on its face, seems like un-democratic idea. But, are they a good thing or a bad thing, for the Democratic Party? The super delegates are political insiders. They must be members of the DNC and include, the current president and vice president if they are Democrats, all of the Democratic members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, all of the Democratic governors, all former Democratic presidents, vice presidents, former Democratic Speakers of the House, former democratic Minority Leaders, and former DNC Chairs. Super delegates were created in 1980 by the Democratic Party in response to being unsatisfied with the candidates that had been chosen by primaries and caucuses in the previous three conventions. Is it undemocratic to have these leaders play a role, possible the decisive role, in choosing our presidential candidate?
You have heard plenty of people on the TV talking about how super delegates should not exercise their independent judgment in choosing a candidate. They should go the way of their congressional district, or state, or national popular vote, or some other guiding force in choosing the candidate they will vote for. I will admit this does not seem to make much sense to me. If they are just going to reflect the popular vote, then they should be allocated with the popular vote. If we are going to give these active and experienced members of the party their own vote, then it should reflect their judgment. There are several good reasons for having party officials play a role in choosing our presidential candidate. First, they are politically experienced, giving them a unique perspective on who might be most effective in implementing the Democratic Party agenda. Second, they serve as sort of a buyer-protection plan. With the primaries occurring earlier than ever, it is possible we would have decided on a candidate by now, leaving months until the convention. During that time, the candidate would have been exposed to the Republican attack machine. If something scandalous, or so devastating was exposed, that it made the candidate unable to win a general election, the super delegates could acting on our “buyers remorse” swing the election to a more suitable candidate. Third, the super delegates are political insiders, the very kind of people the president will have to work with in order to carry out his agenda. The ability to create coalitions is exactly the skill needed as president. So the ability to woo them now, may reflect how effective he will be as a president.
What ever we might decide as a party, about the super delegates, we need to look beyond how it will impact the candidate of our choice for the party nomination. The policies we will implement will effect future elections, with different candidates, and what seems like a good idea now, may not look so good under different circumstances. What we cannot do is allow inner party squabbles about the super delegates to divide the party and cost us the presidency in November.