Monday, February 25, 2008

Ferraro on Superdelegates

Geraldine Ferraro owns up to having created the superdelegate process in 1982 when she was the vice chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus. The first part of this New York Times op-ed is a reasonable historical retelling. But then she falters, as do all justifications of this system. Here's the key excerpt:
Today, with the possibility that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will end up with about the same number of delegates after all 50 states have held their primaries and caucuses, the pundits and many others are saying that superdelegates should not decide who the nominee will be. That decision, they say, should rest with the rank-and-file Democrats who went to the polls and voted.

But the superdelegates were created to lead, not to follow. They were, and are, expected to determine what is best for our party and best for the country. I would hope that is why many superdelegates have already chosen a candidate to support.

Besides, the delegate totals from primaries and caucuses do not necessarily reflect the will of rank-and-file Democrats. Most Democrats have not been heard from at the polls. We have all been impressed by the turnout for this year’s primaries — clearly both candidates have excited and engaged the party’s membership — but, even so, turnout for primaries and caucuses is notoriously low. It would be shocking if 30 percent of registered Democrats have participated.

If that is the case, we could end up with a nominee who has been actively supported by, at most, 15 percent of registered Democrats. That’s hardly a grassroots mandate.

More important, although many states like New York have closed primaries in which only enrolled Democrats are allowed to vote, in many other states Republicans and independents can make the difference by voting in Democratic primaries or caucuses.

Whatever its imperfections, whether genuine (low turnout) or alleged (open primaries), the nominating process is not improved by resolving a close race for pledged delegates with backroom deals for superdelegates. Read the rest of the op-ed, where her partisan interests become evident.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Only 55% of the voting age population turned out in 2004.

Maybe we should cancel the election and just let the superdelegates at the Supreme Court decide.

ProGrowthLiberal said...

My sense is that this will become irrelevant as Obama is steam rolling his way to the nomination. And I had said way back when that Clinton was a lock. I think I was 100% wrong.

libhom said...

Ferraro should be apologizing for her role in creating the "superdelegates"

Anonymous said...

"More important, although many states like New York have closed primaries in which only enrolled Democrats are allowed to vote, in many other states Republicans and independents can make the difference by voting in Democratic primaries or caucuses."
Um-hmm, kind of like Texas, where Rush and Bill encouraged people to vote for Hillary, but Barack still won more delegates (note to the Clinton campaign; get a new dictionary and memorize definition of win and lose... ah, on second thought, don't bother). In fact, in that, his worst week, he STILL cleared more delegates than Hillary.