Tuesday 11 March 2008

Those Super Delegates

The incessant electioneering

Roosevelt at MoThanSkin highlights in his blog an issue I have been thinking of writing about.

The nomination of a presidential candidate from the Democratic Party in the States is driving us to distraction as wins and losses are used to prognosticate the future of the world.

Interestingly, since the GOP has concluded their selection in Senator John McCain, he has had no additional new coverage.

The battle between Obama and Clinton continues apace and it might have to come down to the Super Delegates.

Delegates by individual right

The Super Delegates are current or former officeholders or party officials of the Democratic Party; they are delegates by virtue of a completely separate process from the primaries and caucuses that pervade our newswires.

It appears this nomination would be deadlocked by reason of the primaries and caucuses not being able to decide decisively in favour of either candidate and hence the job of decision-making would fall to the Super Delegates.

Some commentators are suggesting that the Super Delegates vote according to the decision of the electorates, in that case, there would be no need for Super Delegates that there should be ways to break the deadlock through the primaries and caucuses.

The Super Delegates are delegates in their own right, they have already by virtue of some election or selection within the party to make decisions for the good of the party since they already work within that framework.

Super Delegates are independent

No Super Delegate is facing an election, a recall or vetting by the electorate in these Presidential primaries, hence they are not necessarily beholding to the outcome of the primaries before the Democratic National Convention.

To assume that a Super Delegate needs to follow the desires of an electorate voting for a candidate and representation that is not aligned to the continued electoral significance of the Super Delegate is to try and renew the mandate of the Super Delegate through an unintended process.

The function of the Super Delegate in the convention where a deadlock is looming is to break it by voting according to how the Super Delegate has been persuaded of the candidates and what is best for the party which includes the hierarchy and the people in general.

The independence of the Super Delegate must be assured and promoted in view of the weight of their responsibility and duty at the Democratic National Convention.

If the people cannot decide

If this vote changes the expected tally of votes, it would mean that the candidate might have been able to persuade the general public but not the party machinery. Anyone who would be a Presidential candidate needs the party machinery most of all to push their candidacy to the goal of claiming the Presidency.

It is incumbent on the Super Delegates to note that they have an obligation as delegates to the national convention to be persuaded by reason of their convictions regarding the candidate and not be externally influenced by the primaries or caucuses which are of no particular concern to them.

The rules do not need new interpretation

There is no reason to attempt to rewrite the rules in the middle of the game just because a situation has developed that would put the definitive result out of the hands of the primaries into the hands of the Super Delegates.

The rules are clear about the role of the primaries and the role of the Super Delegates and no where does it state that either should respect the intentions of the other.

The Super Delegates should be at liberty and will, without being under duress to follow their own minds because that is why they are Super Delegates.

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