Convention Delegate Fight Update

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Feb 05, 2008 at 07:17


After yesterday's explosive discussion on delegates and a brokered convention here on Open Left, I've been talking to some party insiders to try and get a better handle on the situation. Here is what I can report:
  1. When Matt joked yesterday about preparing for "a party platform fight over mandates as a test of delegate strength," he was actually pretty on target. The fight over delegates will occur on three main committees: the platform committee, the credentials committee, and the rules committee. The fact is that right now there is not system in place to select delegates from Michigan and Florida, but the fight will encompass those three committees.

  2. The rules committee is dominated by Clinton supporters, even though it was the rules committee that stripped the Michigan and Florida primaries as the means to select delegates from those two states. Be prepared for a change of direction from the rules committee. As James Boyce wrote yesterday: "[n]ote to Obama supporters, you better have enough delegates to win with those [Michigan and Florida] counting for Hillary, trust me on this. In fact, lawyer up now." Indeed, trust him on this one.

  3. If Obama is going to turn back the rules committee, the credentials committee is the place where he needs to make his stand. That committee is, I believe, composed of three members from each state and all of the territories holding nomination contests (D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, Democrats Abroad, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). An additional twenty-five members are chosen by the presumptive nominee or, in the absence of a presumptive nominee, by Howard Dean himself. As such, this committee should be significantly less friendly to the Michigan and Florida demands from the Clinton campaign. I believe that the winner of each contest chooses the three members from each state and territory on the committee, but it isn't clear to me what "winner" means. For example, who won Nevada: Clinton who had the most state delegates, or Obama, who is projected to have the most national delegates? Even if that will be determined at a later date, then who won New Hampshire? Clinton won a plurality of the popular vote, the two campaigns were tied in pledged delegates, and Obama leads in the overall delegation from New Hampshire when super delegates are included. Still, since it seems Obama has a strong edge in smaller states and contests today, this committee should be favorable to him.

  4. The Clinton campaign is trying to use super delegates as a firewall, so any hope of a deal on that front should also be scrapped (just as any hope for an early deal on Michigan and Florida should also be scrapped). From my perspective, it is of utmost importance that the Democratic nominee be the candidate who won the most votes and popular caucus support during the January 3rd to June 3rd nominating contests. I also think it is foolish to assume that super delegates will simply line up behind Obama if he narrowly wins the most pledged delegates (even with Michigan and Florida included), as long as Clinton can still win the nomination with the support of super delegates. As such, I think it is up to us to start a pressure campaign on super delegates to support whoever wins the most pledged delegates and popular support. This means to stop counting super delegates in delegate totals immediately, to emphasize the greater democratic value of pledged delegates, and to emphasize the notion that no Democratic nominee is the legitimate choice of the party's rank and file unless s/he wins the most pledged delegates (popular votes would be even better, of course, but some states are not counting the popular vote). We need to let the party's leaders know that anything else is unacceptable.

This is a murky process, and I will have more later today. I'm surprised at the interest my post generated yesterday, but let me just say that I'm not the only Democrat who sees a teetering mound of flaming wreckage appearing on the horizon. The Clinton campaign is not going to budge on either super delegates or their preferred mechanism for the seating of Michigan and Florida delegates, and they have a lot of insider support to get their way on both. It is up to us to make sure that the party has a legitimate nominee, and the will of the party's primary voters and caucus participants is not thwarted. Howard Dean needs to show some leadership on this one, too.

Update: The composition of the platform, rules, and credentials committees can be seen here. Also, commenter joejoejoe has more.  

Chris Bowers :: Convention Delegate Fight Update

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Why? (4.00 / 1)
You say:

I also think it is foolish to assume that super delegates will simply line up behind Obama if he wins the most pledged delegates, but if Clinton can still win with the support of super delegates.

Why do you think this is foolish?  2/3 of superdelegates have not made endorsements.  Why do you think that is?  If they haven't endorsed Clinton already, why would they endorse her if she's losing in pledged delegates?


Because they all favor Clinton (0.00 / 0)
Really, they do, by the same 2-1 margin of the 35-40% or so who have made endorsements so far. The Clinton campaign is willing to do whatever it takes to win, and they have a lot of supporters among the super delegates who will follow them on that front.  

[ Parent ]
Why are they married to Clinton? (0.00 / 0)
If Obama is decidedly ahead in the pledged delegates, do you really believe that 66% of the Super Delegates would put their candidate ahead of the good of the party, our chances in November, and their own job security?

These people are politicians. They realize that damaging the Democratic brand in such a monumental way will jeopardize their own re-election prospects.

Unless we have hundreds of politicians who value Clinton over Obama more than they value their own jobs and governing majority, I think you're wrong.

If Obama is ahead in the elected delegates, he will get 51% of the Super Delegates. The only way that won't happen is if we have a party of Clinton zombies who value her Presidential bid over the health of the party and their own jobs. I don't believe that.


[ Parent ]
Quite possibly (0.00 / 0)
"If Obama is decidedly ahead in the pledged delegates, do you really believe that 66% of the Super Delegates would put their candidate ahead of the good of the party, our chances in November, and their own job security?"

Yes, quite possibly. Seriously, don't trust these people. They may be politicians, but they assume no one will ever throw them out of office for this. And they might be right.  


[ Parent ]
If they're willing to sacrifice themselves for Clinton... (0.00 / 0)
...and go against the will of the people, then that meme about "divided Democrats" really is true. More true than anyone expected. I didn't know their hatred for Obama went that deep.

If over half of the Super Delegates are willing to go with Clinton even if Obama has a lead in elected Delegates, we deserve to lose in November. Not just the White House--We deserve to lose the House, Senate, and in every level of state government.

Not many people are going to go to the polls and say, "Aha! You voted against Obama at the DNC! I'm not voting for you!" But any Super Delegate who believes that going against the elected Delegate winner for our Presidential nominee wouldn't hurt the Democratic party, they don't deserve to be in this profession.

If the Super Delegates are willing to do 1968-like damage to our party for Clinton's sake, we're in much bigger trouble than we thought.

I don't think the Super Delegates are that dumb, though. I still believe that 51% of them will line up behind the winner of the most elected delegates. They know politics. They know what the smart political move is. They know how to back a winner.


[ Parent ]
I don't think you are wrong about the pressures they face (0.00 / 0)
But I think you are underestimating their support for Clinton. Further, they will all come armed with arguments about following the rules, or seating Michigan and Florida, or the rights of delegates, or whatever.

If Clinton loses the majority of pledged delegates, some super delegates will flip to Obama. However, it won't happen without pressure. Further, the more pressure we apply, the more votes we get to flip. Can we reach 50% + 1, or 399? I don't know. Maybe, maybe not, but we need to do whatever we can to make sure we have a legitimate nominee, We should not simply assume that everyone in the party hierarchy understands that term in the same way we do.  


[ Parent ]
I'm curious: Where did you get the 66% number? (0.00 / 0)
Who are all these Super Delegates who are willing to destroy the Democratic party for Clinton's sake, and why haven't they endorsed her publicly yet?

Because so few Super Delegates have endorsed anyone yet, I get the feeling that most of them are hedging their bets and will endorse either the winner of their state or the overall elected delegate winner. I haven't seen any evidence of this huge Clinton backing as so few of them have endorsed anyone.


[ Parent ]
Not so few super delegates (0.00 / 0)
201 of the 796 have endorsed Clinton, and 110 have endorsed Obama. That comes to 311 endorsements out of 796, or 38%. Throw in the people who had endorsed other candidates, and nearly 50% were willing to make an endorsement so far.

But right now, Clinton does in fact lead 2-1, by a 65%-35% margin.  


[ Parent ]
My Mistake (0.00 / 0)
I thought you were saying that 2/3rds of the Super Delegates were going to back Clinton in August, come hell or high water. In actuality, only  25% of the Super Delegates have endorsed Clinton now, and that number's not likely to increase if Obama keeps his momentum.

So that's 25% for Clinton and 75% who are either for Obama or neutral.

Where does the scenario where the Super Delegates are willing to give the finger to the electorate and install Clinton as the nominee come in again?


[ Parent ]
Again, (0.00 / 0)
Why should we take the superdelegates who have endorsed as representative of the opinions of the ones who haven't?

[ Parent ]
Hence the importance (0.00 / 0)
of pressure now.

We must let them know that actions now will have consequences later.  The Clintons have been extremely aggressive at trying to make this all a zero sum game from the start: such as pressuring their donors & bundlers to give only to them and not to other primary candidates (in contrast, none of the other primary candidates cross-checked their donors with others' lists for donors to multiple candidates with such fervor).  Their message: either you're on the bus or you're not.  You have to choose.  They did this to try to use Clinton's early polling advantage to dry up funding for other candidates.  Didn't work.

I'm not sure what tactics they'll use on superdelegates but the squeeze won't have to be that hard.  There's an institutional bias there.

The trick will be applying enough counter-pressure so that superdelegates really see an uncomfortable future for themselves if Obama does well and they favor Clinton.  Of course, if Clinton cleans up in number of votes by June, there won't be a conflict.

The plural of anecdote is not data.


[ Parent ]
What "sacrifice"? (0.00 / 0)
if they currently hold elected office the next time they run they will be incumbents and that is a very favorable position in a two party system where all they need to do to get "good Democrats" to vote for them is to make sure they are not Republicans.

That's more job security than I have - how about you?


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
This is why we should do away with Superdelegates (0.00 / 0)
I don't mind some small percentage of superdelegates, but they wield too much power and represent a basically conservative or status quo check on the direction the people want the party to go since as elected officials they represent the will of the voters 2 or more years ago rather than their will now.

It is disconcerting to think that Superdelegates could decide our nominee against the wishes of the people who voted.  Then some percentage of these people could actually then be thrown out of office just a few months later.  While it would be their just desserts for their faithlessness, it is a pretty horrible burden for the electorate to bear by paying now for votes they made years ago.


[ Parent ]
Job Security (0.00 / 0)
The Democratic party will lose credibility if the person who wins the most elected delegates does not get the nomination. Not only would we have no prayer of winning the White House, but the backlash against the Democrats by moderates, independents, Republicans, and supporters of the majority elected delegate winner would be very noticeable. There's a reason why the Democratic brand took a hit after 1968 and didn't recover until Watergate. And I guarantee that no Democrat today thinks the 1968 convention went well.

[ Parent ]
But 1968 was issue driven-- (0.00 / 0)
people wanted an antiwar candidate, elected an antiwar candidate, had that candidate get shot, and then saw a prowar candidate get the nomination in a backroom deal.  The difference between Clinton and Obama is a smidgeon of the difference between RFK and Humphrey, much less McCarthy and Humphrey, especially considering how much Johnson symbolically tied Humphrey to the war.

[ Parent ]
not to say that there wouldn't be a backlash (0.00 / 0)
but it won't compare to 1968.  The situations are just too different for it to be as bad.

[ Parent ]
Please Give Me a Break on This (0.00 / 0)
The super delegates are mainly Democratic office holders.  These people sacrifice the interests of their constituents to the interests of their corporate patrons all the time.  They want to hold on to  power and they will be especially interested in backing Clinton if Obama appears to be leading an insurgent movement.  These people hate and fear any such movement.

Do a Google search using the terms "Howard Dean" and "Robert Torricelli" and read the articles and then see if you still think Democratic office holders would be unlikely to go against the interests of their constituents.  Here's a link to just one of the articles.


[ Parent ]
This whole discussion will mean much more tomorrow (4.00 / 1)
When we have a good nation-side estimate of the vote-getting prowess of these two caniddates.

Until then it is mostly posturing.  Clinton delegates who will go to hell and beyond for her ?  Even if Obama wins 60% of the vote from here on out?  Obama keeps going to the convention even if Hillary wins CA, NY, 12 other states and 60% of the delegates?

In all likelihood it will be between those two extremes, but until we have a better gauge of Obama's and her support, this is pretty much speculation.

I agree that delegates should be pressured at some point, but wre will know so much more tomorrow that it seems pointless to waste too much time on this now.

Though I appreciate your insights into the Clintonbots.  

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.


[ Parent ]
This is a prudent position (0.00 / 0)
but it's also to be thinking about this now, and be interpreting the super tuesday results in this light--looking at how the nomination will be decided rather than the day to day horserace that the press is so concerned about.

[ Parent ]
Almost 8 years .. (0.00 / 0)
Of Boosh and Darth Cheney have taught you nothing?

[ Parent ]
Politicians like to win (0.00 / 0)
Like Bush and Cheney, all politicians want the easiest and best path to victory. Like Bush and Cheney were willing to throw racist white people under the bus for an electoral advantage with Latinos, the Super Delegates will be willing to throw Clinton aside to support Obama if he has won the most elected delegates.

Politicians look out for their own best interest. Very few would be willing to sacrifice the Democratic Party to ensure Clinton's nomination. Most will back the winner for the good of the party and their own job security.  


[ Parent ]
I just don't believe you .. (0.00 / 0)
that they'll switch support from Clinton to Obama .. maybe they will ... I am just skeptical that they'll do so

[ Parent ]
Good God (0.00 / 0)
It's not about switching support.  Two thirds of superdelegates haven't endorsed anybody yet.

[ Parent ]
I know you know politicians... (4.00 / 2)
much better than any of us, but objectively, based upon what I know, there seem some issues with this.

1.  Bill Clinton's presidency, while looked upon fondly by a lot of rank-and-file Democrats, isn't looked upon with universal fondness by elected officials from that time, considering he did nothing to help build the national party, and left it essentially broke when he left office.

2.  Obama isn't Howard Dean.  He hasn't rocked the boat in any substantial manner that would threaten the Rahms and Hoyers of the world.  

Let's say we have this hypothetical worst-case scenario, where Obama leads the pledged delegates by a large margin.  Even if the voters don't offer a push-back against delegates, the following political calculus will go through the heads of a substantial number of delegates.

1.  "I could support Hillary.  She'll further my career, if she wins, but her chance of winning now seems less likely than Obama.  If she loses, she will have next to no power to further my career in her Senate position."

2.  "I could support Obama.  I like him somewhat less, but he is far better positioned to win in November.  A Democratic president means my line items will get into the federal budget, or my state/city will get adequate federal funding."

It honestly seems like a no-brainer for any cynical-self interested politician, provided the nomination struggle doesn't bring down the approval ratings of both, and Hillary superdelegates aren't as irrational as some of their boosters are on certain Blogs (E.G., they can tell he actually has a good shot of winning).  


[ Parent ]
You wrote a post on how democratic super delelgates were (0.00 / 0)
just as democratically chosen as super delegates.  I don't know if I agree with you or not...but you did say just that in one very one post.

I don't think you're being consistent. However even though I am  an HRC I do think that that many unpledged super delelgates will in some fashion get some guidance from the choice of their voters...by whatever demographic unit they want to define their voters.

Though of course they morally have th eright to choose whomever they want.

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
You might want to read that post again (0.00 / 0)
I was setting up a counter-argument. At the end, I proposed doing away with super delegates on the first ballot because they were not democratic enough:

Making Democratic Delegates More Democratic

Popular support in the form of votes is key. Whoever has the most is the only legitimate nominee.  


[ Parent ]
But how do you measure it? (0.00 / 0)
And I thought you had right after that begun putting them into the totals, by the way.

I think this potential debacle reveals the folly of proportional division of delegates....

It's in the same category of progressive reform as initiatives and referenda....the horror of unintended consequences.

McCain is not taking federal funds....while we go after each other the Republicans could revel in the spectacle and the enthusiasm and money on ther side increases with the even small whiff of victory.  

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
Ideally (0.00 / 0)
It would be measured in popular votes. Unfortunately, caucus states prevent that, and the Michigan situation in particular also prevents that.

Popular votes would be ideal. Pledged delegates is a useful backup if that isn't possible.  


[ Parent ]
depending on the total CA vote and the final %age (0.00 / 0)
She would lead in the popular vote perhaps by over 1 million votes.  So that would meet the standard you are setting.  

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
Really? (0.00 / 0)
What on earth is your basis for this claim?  As someone else asked, who are all these superdelegates who are going to deliver the nomination to Clinton in spite of her not winning a majority of pledged delegates, but haven't yet endorsed a candidate?

You keep making assertions without providing any evidence, or even arguments, to support it.  The key thing about the superdelegates who haven't endorsed yet is that they haven't endorsed yet.  Militant Clinton supporters among superdelegates have already endorsed Clinton.  Hell, a lot of not terribly militant Clinton supporters have endorsed her, too, and may end up abandoning her.

"Really, they do" is not an argument.  Show your work.  Make your argument.  Stop making bald assertions.


[ Parent ]
... (0.00 / 0)
This means to stop counting super delegates in delegate totals immediately, to emphasize the greater democratic value of pledged delegates, and to emphasize the notion that no Democratic nominee is the legitimate choice of the party's rank and file unless s/he wins the most pledged delegates.

100% agree. If only everyone else would go along with this.
Thanks for the research.

"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello Biafra


Obama as 3rd Party Candidate (0.00 / 0)
If the DNC gives in to the Clintons and seats the FL and MI delegates even though they forbade anyone from campaigning there, then there is going to be a ground swell of support for an Obama run as a third party candidate.  I could see an Obama-Webb or an Obama-Chaffee ticket doing quite well.


That is exactly the mess we need to avoid (4.00 / 2)
Obama will never run as a third-party candidate, but without a legitimate nominee, a lot of progressives will feel no need to support Democrats anymore. And that is what we need to prevent.

The integrity of the party requires a nominating process that is legitimate.  


[ Parent ]
I agree. (0.00 / 0)
But it is not legitimate to change the rules after the races have already been run.  And there will be a significant number of people who see a power grab by the Clinton's as little more than the 2000 Bush power grab.  

And I think that Obama could win a three party race, with Hillary running to left and McCain to the right and Obama right down the middle on progressive issues...He can raise the money he needs.


[ Parent ]
This would be a sad day indeed for progressives.... (0.00 / 0)
You have already hanged, drawn, and quartered us with your comment!  Hillary to the left!  Geez that sets the progressive movement back a decade.  Hillary is a centrist with social liberal tendencies.  She is too much in the pocket of the corporations to ever be a progressive in my eyes.  I am still not sure why Obama has hitched his star to high-Broderism, its probably the biggest disappointment of this primary.

[ Parent ]
She's not great for women either... (0.00 / 0)
Geez .. I just found out she co-sponsored this bill that would clearly give ammo to the wacko pharmacists that don't want to hand over the morning after pill...  I knew Lieberman signed on but Hillary...

S. 677 [109th]: Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2005
http://www.govtrack.us/congres...

h/t: http://www.thenation.com/blogs...


[ Parent ]
Re: (0.00 / 0)
I believe John Kerry was one of the sponsors of that bill.  It has zero to do with pharmacists refusing to hand out birth control; it's a bill that would allow people to take off religious holidays and the like.

[ Parent ]
Nope... (0.00 / 0)
It does not only deal with holidays...

In WA State this is exactly the ammo they will use to push their fight in the legislature.


[ Parent ]
Re: (0.00 / 0)
I did a detailed analysis of that bill once upon a time at Daily Kos.  I assure you I know what I'm talking about when I say it has nothing to do with prescribing birth control.

[ Parent ]
Ok -- then I would like the link pls (0.00 / 0)
//Coz from the summary alone... it is generic enough that it could extend to religion and birth control.

I've had to put up with the debates from these wackos...


[ Parent ]
Then they better change the nomination process... (0.00 / 0)
....next time around.  

"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello Biafra

[ Parent ]
Do Progressives need Democrats (0.00 / 0)
or is it the other way 'round?

I agree with this statement: "The integrity of the party requires a nominating process that is legitimate"

In an earlier post, you cautioned us not to trust these people - i.e. the superdelegates - if you don't trust the folks running the show, how can you trust the legitimacy of the process?  More precisely, if the de facto party leaders - the superdelegates - are not trustworthy, doesn't that already indicate that the "integrity of the party" is questionable, regardless of whether they provide the appearance of legitimacy?


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
thoughts on if Dem old guard fixes for Clinton (0.00 / 0)
what is the fallout? A majority of grassroots online democrats have long supported a "reform" tactic with the Democratic party. A Clinton nomination created by super delegates is likely to roil at least part of that group, and certainly the more defiant members of the party will be lost. Even in the national election. There might have been some hope among Dem faithful that the most defiant would eventually support Hillary if nominated. But if a Clinton nomination via super delegates comes to pass, I see those who might have voted for Nader in 2000 sitting out the national or immediately going to the Greens again. And what would happen to the progressive reform movement? Would that splinter badly? How long to form a new consensus on a reform strategy? How deep will the cynicism be?

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
Many of us supported Gore and Kerry ... (4.00 / 1)
Many of us supported Gore and Kerry and held our nose while doing so ... in order to keep Bush out of the White House. Then the candidates didn't fight for all the votes in FL and OH. That pissed a lot of us off.

Now, if the Democrats were to use procedural rules and smoke-filled rooms to deny a candidacy that many of us support very strongly, they will be pissing off a lot of voters (like me).

This would not be forgotten in 3 months ... or three years ... and may even succeed in denying the Democratic Party the majority of the 15-35 year olds (a demographic cohort which the Ds seem to be on the verge of securing for an entire generation).

(I don't mean this to seem like I'm speaking for every 15-35 year old, I'm simply trying to make the case that many of us are only marginal supporters of the Democratic Party ... and that our vote needs to be respected and earned).


[ Parent ]
We'll get extorted by the minions of fear (0.00 / 0)
"Vote for any old Democrat...or else, those nasty, mean Republicans will win".

That was the Kerry strategy, wasn't it?


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
The only third party candidate I want to see.... (0.00 / 0)
....is Ron Paul! Well, and maybe a run from the religious right. Make it vertical, Huck!

"Don't hate the media, become the media" -Jello Biafra

[ Parent ]
Fiction (0.00 / 0)
The DNC didn't forbid anyone from campaigning in FL and MI.  Totally false.

[ Parent ]
The wave of people & those that gave Obama $32 Mill (0.00 / 0)
in January I don't think will be forgiving if the SD are favoring Clinton for their own interests and not for the party/

To ignore the ground swell of youth coming out for Obama... I'm really wondering if they will switch and turn towards Hillary, especially if they feel snubbed...

+ Hillary offering Obama a VP ticket (when she knows that will never happen) won't cut it for many.


[ Parent ]
DNC convention '08 - info (4.00 / 5)
There is some good info at the DNC site about the convention. Howard Dean nominated the following as chair and co-chairs of the convention last July.

Permanent chair - Speaker Pelosi
co-chair - Gov. Sebelius (Kansas)
co-chair - Mayor Shirley Franklin (Atlanta)
co-chair - TX State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte

http://www.demconvention.com/

More on the delegate rules here -- from an archived Google page, not the DNC website (whassup wit dat?).

http://209.85.165.104/search?q...

Makeup of three standing committees (Rules, Platform, Credentials) below
http://www.demconvention.com/d...

I see Speaker Pelosi playing a BIG role in how all this plays out.

John McCain


Awesome (0.00 / 0)
Thanks for the great info!

[ Parent ]
interesting (0.00 / 0)
Sebelius and Franklin have endorsed Obama, and George Miller -- who is supposedly Pelosi's right hand -- also has. Don't know about Putte, but this looks good for Obama.

[ Parent ]
I'm wondering if Franklin's endorsement ... (0.00 / 0)
was more to save his own political skin...?

Is Minnosota a pro-Hillry state, or one that will have problems with their downtickets democrats if Hillary becomes the nominee?


[ Parent ]
er (0.00 / 0)
Shirley Franklin is a she, and she's the mayor of Atlanta in Georgia. (Probably Obama's second strongest state today after Illinois).

[ Parent ]
Thanks... (4.00 / 1)
Sorry I just saw Frankin and thought Franken... my bad ok..

[ Parent ]
Pelosi's district (0.00 / 0)
Will almost certainly go for Obama, so if she tilts to Clinton, she'll get yet more flack on the home front. Not that that ever moved her much before.  

Can it happen here?

[ Parent ]
Yeah, Well (0.00 / 0)
Pelosi is used to getting flack in her home district.  She seems to weather it quite well.  I don't expect Pelosi is too afraid Democratic voters will pack up and vote for Cindy Sheehan instead.

[ Parent ]
She seemed positively giddy (0.00 / 0)
When Ted Kennedy endorsed Obama.  Remember she was in Baltimore at her mayor father's side when JFK was a Senator, and in college when he was Pres.  I have no doubt that she met him at a very impressionable age.  And I have a hard time seeing her as Hillary's best bud.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
Thanks (0.00 / 0)
You may be right on that. I'm pretty hostile to my Congressperson, but I could be wrong.

Can it happen here?

[ Parent ]
questions (0.00 / 0)
1. How do disputes between the rules committee and credentials committee get resolved?

2. What role does the platofrm committee play in this?

3. Where is Howard Dean in all of this? Has he spoken about this issue at all? Does he have any real power to resolve this one way or the other?


Answers, sort of (0.00 / 0)
1. By the membership of the committee.

2. I actually don't know.

3. He hasn't spoken out. But he needs to do so.  


[ Parent ]
Dean (0.00 / 0)
Don't forget that Obama was an early endorser of Dean in 08, and Obama's campaign models and expands on a lot of what Dean did in 04.

I have no idea if Dean supports Obama (though you'd have to assume, given the trouble the Clinton machine gave Dean, he might). But he may be silent, thus far, to avoid appearing biased.

In any case, thanks for doing this, Chris. It's very constructive and helps those of us in MI and FL to mobilize for our own votes.


[ Parent ]
Will this all be televised (0.00 / 0)
Reminds me not of 1968 but 1964 and the fight over seating the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegation (th4e counter delegation because blasks couldn't vote in the white primary because they were intimidated and obstructed and outright disfranchised.  The old pols won that one, and won a Phyrric victory in 1968.  That's when they started changing the rules.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
Convention Floor (0.00 / 0)
I have not looked at the current rules, but I would be very surprised if the delegates on the floor cannot override anything the committees do.  

I was at the 1972 convention when the nomination only was won by winning a vote on the floor to override the credentials committee's award of California delegates to Humphrey.  If this comes to a floor fight in 2008 (heaven forbid), that 1972 fight may be a precedent.  The key ruling of the chair was that everyone could vote on a floor challenge to the delegates except those challenged.  Thus, the California Humphrey delegates that the Credentials Committee seated could not vote on the challenge against them, but everyone else could, including McGovern's California delegates and all delegates from other states who were being challenged.  What this could mean in 2008 is that if the Credentials Committee seats Clinton delegates from Michigan and Florida, those delegates would be able to vote on the challenges to the other one.  


[ Parent ]
Re: (4.00 / 3)
I confess, if the primaries don't produce a consensus nominee, then I don't really care if the superdelegates decide it or if the result is brokered somehow, even if my candidate isn't the one who ends up getting the nod.  I don't believe that the world ends if the nomination doesn't go to the candidate who got 50.1% of the pledged delegates.

The only scenario where legitimacy becomes a problem is where one candidate has a big edge in pledged delegates or in the popular vote, but a massive swing of superdelegates throws the nomination the other way.  That's not going to happen this year because both candidates have significant establishment backing.

There's already enough undemocratic wrinkles in the process that I'm not going to throw a tantrum if the result is close enough to go either way.  And really, I'm not happy with the sort of thinking that says we must appease whichever side is most likely to throw a tantrum if they don't get their way, because it incentivizes behavior that's not good for the party.


I guess it is how you define the terms (0.00 / 0)
If someone wins the nomination by 2 delegates after being down by 2 pledged delegates, yeah, that won't be as much of a problems as "one candidate has a big edge in pledged delegates or in the popular vote, but a massive swing of superdelegates throws the nomination the other way."

However, how does one define "massive?" That is open to intepretation.

Since it is difficult to draw a line anywhere, I choose to draw it at the most obvious point: whoever has the most pledged delegates is legitimate, and no one else.  


[ Parent ]
Re: (0.00 / 0)
Even pledged delegates don't provide a bright-line rule because of the MI/FL issue.  That James Boyce piece is really interesting, by the way.

I simply don't buy the notion that if one candidate is ahead by 20 pledged delegates, but the 800 superdelegates push the other candidate over the top, something terrible has happened.  I realize it's a matter of opinion, but I just don't think there are 234728937 different scenarios in which the party will be torn apart.  I don't know about anyone else, but I was taught from kindergarten onward that you're not always going to get your way in this world.


[ Parent ]
Yeah (0.00 / 0)
what if Obama leads in pledged delegates, but Clinton leads in total votes cast for her?  Would it be ok for superdelegates to decide it then?  This does depend on how close the vote is, and just how many superdelegates decide to break against the pledged delegate count.

However, we're really lucky Edwards dropped out--there could have easily been a multiple ballot convention.


[ Parent ]
Let's hope it isn't that close (0.00 / 0)
No matter what happens, let's hope it isn't so close that the winner of the most votes can have fewer pledged delegates, or that the winner of pledged delegates might not win the convention.

But if it is that close, then we have a mess. And we need to emphasize that the will of the voters be respected by the delegates above all else.  


[ Parent ]
That is the worst case scenario, but possible (4.00 / 1)
Chris, you just outlined exactly what my mother just called me frantically to ask, "What is this talk about delegates!?" she asked.  in the minds of normal people (ie, regular voters, non-political junkies) they think whomever wins 50%+1 wins the state.  We have to remember, never in such a long time have so many states mattered, like California where we live.  In my mother's mind (and countless others) this is starting to sound like Florida/2000 allover again.  They're not talking about "super-delegates", she called me alarmed over the fact that just like 2000, the person with the most votes doesn't win, and someone else can win by using "some weird system".  It smacks at the sense of fairness and that someone will win by "cheating".  I understand the rules and how this works, but I agree, the will of the VOTERS must be respected above all else.

[ Parent ]
impossible to count (0.00 / 0)
AIUI caucuses don't record vote counts. so there is no way to know popular vote totals. I believe this is why the line is being drawn at pledged delegates.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
Can we all just wait 24 hours (0.00 / 0)
to have this discussion?  We may know much more tomorrow.  And if we don't, at least we know that.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
Dammit (0.00 / 0)
Remember when the assumption was that the Democratic nominee would be decided by now whilst the Republicans would be knocking spots off each other?

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

I am starting to wonder if McCain wrapping it up early might.... (0.00 / 0)
be a good thing.  The Limbaughs of the world hate him and perhaps with the long lead up, a third party candidate from the right could crop up with the backing of the wingnuts.  It seems unlikely that a third-party candidate would want to rise up out of the ashes of a brokered Repub convention with little time to get up and running.  If McCain seals this up, it gives Dittoheads and others time to raise money for whoever is crazier than McCain.

[ Parent ]
legitimate (0.00 / 0)
Since you seem to assume that the "legitimate" candidate will be Obama and therefore MI and FL voters are not legitimate, I should keep my mouth shut and let you mount a pressure campaign based on your reasoning here. But I won't.

If you want to keep the focus on pledged delegates not from MI and FL you will need a better argument than 'the rules!' Rule making bodies, like the DNC committees, are not usually persuaded by other people's rules. You will need an argument that respects the wishes of Democratic voters generally, including those in MI and FL.


Front runners don't offer to debate. (4.00 / 2)
I don't understand why you are pursuring this argument the day before and the day of super Tuesday? Although I am hearing the clintons surrogates say some of the same things on cable.  Yesterday via surrogates they offered Obama the job of VP (the dream team) Last night into today they say this will go on until March. Today is irrelevant. Expect a draw. And this afternoon they are demanding FOUR debates over the next FOUR weeks. Do you smell what I smell.  They think they are losing. Front runners don't offer to debate.

Your vision of a deadlocked contest assumes that the election that is taking place TODAY is going to be split evenly down the middle.

I think you are jumping the gun, Listening a little too closely to the clintons noise machine. And fretting over unlikely possibilities.

When everyone thought that the clintons were going to lose NH there was a rather dramatic swift behind the curtain away from Hillary. The pundits were all noting how the dem power brokers and their money were getting ready to abandon the clintons. Given the right set of circumstances, they will do it again.

The super delegates like WINNERS. Not the clintons.


Subtext here is... (0.00 / 0)
If you have a primary in your state today go vote, dammit!

[ Parent ]
You would be surprised who I am listening to (0.00 / 0)
on the inside. and they are not Clinton supporters.  

[ Parent ]
Influencing the Super Delegates (0.00 / 0)
Perhaps the person most able to influence the super delegates and the party establishment is Barak Obama himself.  He can threaten to make their lives very unpleasant both at the Convention and in his speech at the Convention.  Many others of his prominent supporters can also threaten to, basically, wreck the convention if they are not treated fairly.

For me, that would come down to how the Florida and Michigan delegations are treated.  If Obama is penalized for playing by the rules (by, for example, not appearing on the Michigan ballot), then I would certainly support him if he wants to use his speaking time at the convention to call it corrupt. (And even throw in allegations of racism if that would make it even more potentially distasteful to the party establishment.)

How would an Obama speech to the convention denouncing it as corrupt be received by the delegates?  By the media? By the public?  How do you think a speech like that would affect Hillary Clinton's chances?

How would the black voters the party depends on react if Obama denounced the party establishment as rigging the rules against the black candidate?

Does Hillary Clinton want to be Hubert Humphrey?

What might the party establishment be willing to do to avoid such a scenario?  Does Obama have the gonads to play that kind of hardball?


[ Parent ]
Only that doesn't sound like anythng that's (0.00 / 0)
at all in line with Barack Obama's instincts.  If he takes a bold stand against the system, even if it's just in his own interest, he will have dispelled many of my doubts about him.

[ Parent ]
My Guess (0.00 / 0)
All he would have to do is quietly threaten to do this and he would have a lot of leverage to force, say, the Party to hold caucuses in Florida and Michigan.  What would the Party rather do, hold fair caucuses in these two states or have the Convention blow up?  Seems like an easy choice to me.

[ Parent ]
Chris, what do you think about the Clinton/Obama 'dream ticket' rhetoric? (0.00 / 0)
If the chance of this ticket actually materializing is next to zero, the net effect of the 'dream ticket' rhetoric seems a negative for Obama partisans--it presumes that if Clinton wins over Obama through superdelegates despite Obama winning a popular majority, the majority's voice will still be heard and Obama supporters may still get their candidate on the ticket as a consolation prize.  This could dampen the kind of grassroots, vehement insistence Obama needs to resolve the delegate issue in his favor.

Kicking it in the NY-25.

aoei (0.00 / 0)
I find it hard to believe we could see such a thing, if Hillary wins the nomination on superdelegates without the majority/plurality popular support of the voters.

It would be a soiled win, and beyond the disenchanted obama supporters problem, the Republicans will make a lot of noise about the illigitimacy of Hillary in the general if she wins this way.  And they'll be right for once.


[ Parent ]
Hillary will do anything to win (0.00 / 0)
period...

She ignored the progressives at the beginning of the campaign for a reason -- she was going to win via the elites.

However, I don't think the Hillary team quite expected the 'turnout' for Obama...  If it wasn't the numbers coming up for Obama (shown occasionally on the TVee) and the $$$ he has flowing in -- I think her plan was to whitewash us all.


[ Parent ]
Yeah, and Obama's a man of the people (0.00 / 0)
This is an elite versus elite struggle where the voting populace gets a decision too.  The only thing is, the voting public is much more closely decided than the elite.  This is all of a question of whether or not Obama can attract enough institutional support to check Clinton's institutional advantage, not to see if Obama can rally the mass of the public against the oppressive democratic insititution.

That battle was fought in 2004.


[ Parent ]
sure (0.00 / 0)
But I don't see Obama accepting a VP slot on Hillary's ticket was my point, unless Hillary wins it small d democratically, in which case he might do it in good conscience.

His supporters would see it as a huge betrayal if he took second banana from her after being "robbed" (As they would no doubt see it) by her.


[ Parent ]
Not (0.00 / 0)
Bill is already Hillary's co-President.  A VP is going to be more like Hubert Humphrey than Dick Cheney.

Why would Obama do this when he could run for Gov of IL in 2010, or do something like Al Gore did ficused on the common good?

Or just stay in the Senate?

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.


[ Parent ]
Re: (0.00 / 0)
I seem to recall that Al Gore accomplished a heck of a lot as VP despite Bill Clinton already having a "co-President."

[ Parent ]
Reinventing government? (0.00 / 0)


John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
Right (0.00 / 0)
There is no way Obama accepts a VP nod, unless the entire party leadership gets together and makes him an offer he can't refuse.

VP is a ceremonial role and usually just hurts the chances of that person becoming president.  Basically you are banking on the idea that (a) your ticket will win the initial election and (b) that eight years later your ticket will still be very popular.  It's actually a longer shot than one might be think, especially as it is very common for the presidency to change parties after a two term president.

John McCain: Health insurance for low income children represents an "unfunded liability."


[ Parent ]
My bet... (0.00 / 0)
The DLC has already decided who the VP is going to be... and it's not going to non-DLC teamplayer like Obama.  However, I'm sure the VP slot will dangled out there in the media -- just for show tho...

Just my take...


[ Parent ]
how can you tell? (4.00 / 1)
Regardless of what Obama says about the DLC, you do know that they like him quite a bit, don't you? Hillary's rhetoric is a little too partisan for them, post-partisanship is right up their alley. Ideologically both of them appear to be fine to the DLC.

[ Parent ]
Just on thing to say... (0.00 / 0)
If the Dems simply blow off their own rules and seat the FL and MI delegates, I think I'll lose so much respect for the party that I won't vote for them in the general. Some reasonable compromise, maybe. Total reversal, forget it. In that case they're really to incompetent to be in charge of the government. Nader/Greens here I come.

Even if they do end up seating them (0.00 / 0)
the penalty still had an effect. None of the candidates campaigned there or put money into the states, and their voice in the early primary process was essentially nil. In MI, many of the candidates even pulled their names from the ballot, and turnout was historically low.

Incidentally, it worked a hell of a lot better than the RNC's half-delegates solution at marginalizing the states and dissuading all the others from following suit.


[ Parent ]
How did RNC approach not work? (0.00 / 0)
The rule for both parties was that states skipping ahead of their assigned date would lose half their delegates. IA, NH, MI and FL all skipped ahead, so all lost half their RNC delegates. The DNC tried to bluff MI and FL and lost, the didn't move their primaries back.

How exactly did the RNC's sanction not work? Their calendar looks a lot like ours and they don't have this idiotic controversy.


[ Parent ]
It didn't work (0.00 / 0)
Because Florida still ended up being decisive for the Republican nomination.

Michegan was influential too, it kept Romney afloat when he was sinking.

The whole system is ridiculous and needs to be scrapped.  Let the DNC and RNC decide, alone, what states go when and how.

That's how parties operate in other countries.  There's no need for formal government involvement in the process, other than perhaps as scrutineers for hijinx or for financial oversight.


[ Parent ]
In other countries, only dues-paying party members (0.00 / 0)
vote in primaries.  And they're usually not contested anyway (or the real election happens in parliament, where only MPs vote anyway)

[ Parent ]
no, they are contested (4.00 / 1)
Elections for party leadership are often contested seriously.

Canada's Liberal party had 4 viable candidates, and the third place guy Dion, won the leadership after the fourth place guy quit and endorsed him.

To be sure, there are also races where there is a presumptive winner, like Gordon Brown winning the Labour leadership in the UK but the US has that too, where sitting Presidents and VPs almost never lose the nomination if they seek it.

You're right about the dues, and that doesn't comport well with US values, but neither does this current system.  Particularly irksome is Chris' point in another post that Florida's legislature is run by Republicans, and they won't allow another Florida Dem Primary.  Why should republicans have any say at any part of the Dem nominating process?  

Anyway, this isn't the place to discuss it in detail, but it's really broken and a few tweaks won't suffice.  


[ Parent ]
Better yet, (0.00 / 0)
dump the two-party "system" altogether. Like the electoral college, it's a development whose time is long gone. Let's try democracy for a change.

[ Parent ]
that (0.00 / 0)
Would require a constitutional convention.


[ Parent ]
There's nothing in the Constitution (0.00 / 0)
that mandates a two-party system, or any parties at all.

[ Parent ]
As long as we have congress (4.00 / 1)
decided by winner take all plurality, we will either have a two party system in every presinct.  The only third parties will be regional ones.  This is true of every country (that I know of) that has first-past the post single member districts for their legislature.

[ Parent ]
The Fight Is On In Every State (0.00 / 0)
To me, this is more important than the primary or general election of a few individuals.

The Democratic Party is a rotten patronage-chain today, not a real party. It has virtually no fair, open, or deliberative means of self-governance at all.

Its rituals consist entirely of rich, cringing, white, male lawyers patronizing and manipulating self-appointed "advocates" for poor, pitiful ... you name it. That is "intermediation", with perfunctory "deliberation" in the open and "settlements" or "set-asides" or plain, old threats on the side, once all the vested and special interests have been satisfied.

It is just another damn Grisham novel, not Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, Tenth Edition, in action.

This party has to compete internally and fight externally. But, its establishment knows about nothing but public posturing behind which lie only complex, flimsy, secret, corrupt deals.

The highly disciplined GOP has trashed them at every level of government, again and again.

I like it that Obama talks about post-partisanship, but I have no clue what he means. I hope it is a different sort of "conversation with the electorate" -- people who mostly do not identify with either party establishment and their ritual "bickering".

Behind that public "bickering", obstructionism, and so on, the GOP is happy to win by one vote in the House or to block anything and everything with a minority in the Senate. They understand parliamentary discipline and, also, accountability.

The Democratic Congresssional leadership consists of "safe-seat" senior office-squatters who are protected by and eager to negotiate deals with the GOP. They will say anythihng in public, but mostly craft "relationships" and "deals" across the aisle.

They are not satisfied to pass anything by one vote and work assiduously to offer the GOP earmarks and such to get a responsibility-diffusing super-majority or even unanimity.

They have not used the one power they have, other than distributing perks, namely, the power of the House to de-authorize and un-appropriate an entire sub-title -- what Speaker GINGRICH called "zero out" --  anything. There is no veto of something not there and the Senate cannot put things back in. But, that would be a fight, not a deal.

In convention, all delegates are equal. That should put an end to the party establishment.

Notice that the "unpledged" delegates are nearly all "pledged".

Notice that there really are no rules, but instead a "delegate selection plan" in the spirit of gerrymandering, you know, the politicians selecting the voters, not the other way around.

In fact, the Permanent Committees can bring things to the floor and overturn anything the rotten DNC and its corrupt Temporary Convention Committees do.

At the state level, it is the same: self-perpetuating SDEC Temporary Committees trying desperately to "lock-down" conventions and deliver on complex, flimsy, secret, corrupt deals they made months, even years ago based on pollsters' tip-sheets.

In this regard, the most important thing may be not an Edwards endorsement but Edwards or Uncommitted delegates.

"Lawyer Up"? Actually, Obama and Edwards need some old hands, who know about minority reports, floor fights, and just a few basic things:

The SDEC/DNC committees are Temporary and not binding on the State/National Conventions.

Actually, the state parties are sovereign -- not local chapters or "ATM" machines for the DNC/DSCC/DCCC. If the self-appointed "super" delegates want to seat the self-appointed "super" delegates from FL, MI, and so on, temporarily that would be fine.

But, the elected delegates should seat those states' elected delegates, or not. Actually, the elected delegates should not seat any of the pre-selected delegates. Who thinks the wildly unpopular party establishment and Congressional leaders know anything about winning actually contested elections, rather than negotiating self-perpetuation deals with their GOP counterparts?

Some people talk about a "brokered" convention. Well, that is the only kind of serious convention there is. Such a convention is fun. It is a pretty good way to nominate a President and Vice-President. But, it is the only way to clean house in a dysfunctional party with a wildly unpopular establishment, an inefficient baggage-train of mercenary pimp-consultants, and ineffectual Congressional leadership.

The only way.

What we should be scared of is a "brokered" beauty pageant that ordinary Democrats pay about $3k to be delegates at but that political parasites and mercenaries earn thousands not just attending but subverting.

::JRBehrman


I don't get it (4.00 / 1)
How can you decry the party as lost in its insider process but still think that a brokered convention is the only way to clean house? It seems to me that in a brokered convention, the house is more likely to win the day than in primaries.  

[ Parent ]
broken link (0.00 / 0)
your second to last link is broken, and I was looking forward to the "additional information"...  

:(


Off Topic - Layout Suggestion (4.00 / 1)
Hey Chris and Matt - its getting very hard to read the comments because of the narrow layout. Will you consider making the following change to your soapblox.css, this would create a liquid layout for the site.

.mainLayout {
 margin:5%;
 padding: 0px;  
}

#header {
 clear: both;
 height: 70px;
 text-align: left;
 background: maroon
 url(http://www.openleft.com/upload/bg_header.jpg)
             repeat-x
             scroll
             left top;
 padding:0px;
}

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare


oops slight corx (4.00 / 1)
specify that mainlayout margin like:

.mainLayout {
margin:0 5%;
padding: 0px;  
}

or you can make the left right margins a fixed size with:

.mainLayout {
margin:0 10px;
padding: 0px;  
}


Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare


[ Parent ]
How do certain people become superdelegates? (0.00 / 0)
For example, Diane Denish is the Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico, and a superdelegate currently pledged to Clinton. From what I understand, she's not a DNC members, as in "DNC" is not prefixed to her name on the list below of superdelegates.

http://demconwatch.blogspot.co...

Now, in looking at the list, I've only seen a couple of Lieutenant Governors on the list - the other notable one being David Paterson, Lieutenant Governor of New York, but also listed as a DNC member.

If superdelegate status is based upon elected office, why are only some lieutenant governors superdelegates and not others? There are 8 states that don't even have lieutenant governors.  Who decides which are eligible to vote and which aren't?

In a convention that could be decided by a dozen votes (or less) doesn't it seem ridiculous and downright undemocratic that people chosen for whatever reason under arcane rules and bylaws have this much influence?


Re: (0.00 / 0)
A comment notes that Diane Denish and John Cherry are Chair and Vice-Chair of the National Association of Democratic Lieutenant Governors (talk about a niche organization), which makes them DNC superdelegates.  They are not superdelegates solely by virtue of their elected office, that much is clear.

[ Parent ]
Thanks (0.00 / 0)
It's just that Lieutenant Governors pose a particular problem for me. Presuming the chair and vice chair are elected by a majority of the 22 Democratic Lieutenant Governors, why are 22 people responsible for electing two superdelegates?

Also, there's the manner of how Lieutenant Governors are chosen: in some states, they run as a ticket with the gubernatorial candidate, in some states they're voted upon separately.

Finally, not all states and voting groups (including both of mine, New Jersey and Democrats Abroad, though I only voted in Democrats Abroad this year) have Lieutenant Governors, so how are we represented in the decision making process that says these two individuals from this group are superdelegates?

On another example, what about union members? I'm pro-union (though not a member myself), but there are various superdelegates who are union leaders, as determined by the membership of the union, presumably. It also stands to reason that union members also get to participate in their state primary or caucus, and get to decide upon delegates and superdelegates then.

On the whole, it seems that the whole superdelegate issue is fraught with potential problems, based largely in its undemocratic nature. It is extremely important to me that pledged delegates (short of an actual popular vote total, which is impossible) decide our nominee.


[ Parent ]
These are valid points (0.00 / 0)
I think the thinking behind the superdelegate system is roughly like that of the electoral college.  It's an elitist safeguard against the possibility that the masses do something especially foolish.

So while those two superdelegates might not be picked in a sufficiently democratic manner, there are hundreds of others picked by other means, some at least better than 22 picking 2.

On the whole, the whole thing is an elitist anarchonism that should be disposed.   At the very least this primary should establish a norm that superdelegates either vote for the popular winner or at least vote for the winner in their state.  Much like the EC, where an elector voting differently from their state's voting results is subject to much ridicule and even deemed a "faithless elector."

SD's should not be free as the wind to vote for whomever offered them a better spot in their administration.


[ Parent ]
You're right (4.00 / 1)
I agree with you - the whole system needs to be completely reformed or at least disposed of - I was simply using that as an example of how unreasonable the whole thing could end up being.  I'm always deeply suspicious of the idea of having someone else choose a nominee or electee for me. As a party and as a matter of principle, we need to adhere as closely to the idea of "one person, one vote" as is possible - there's no reason a lieutenant governor, chair of the league of Democratic municipal officials, random union leader or anyone else should have the same voice in determining the nominee of our party than someone directly elected by me (or any of us).  

Even if we did want to retain superdelegates, or various people prominent within the party, what makes some more prominent than others? Is Walter Mondale really that much more prestigious than George McGovern (who I guess we can kind of blame for all of this, in a way), Gary Hart, Sargent Shriver, Geraldine Ferraro, Mario Cuomo, and the like, simply because he held a ceremonial office for four years?


[ Parent ]
Query (4.00 / 1)
How do you pressure a super delegate?  

Create awareness. (0.00 / 0)
We should make it comparable to the Electoral College.  No one will tolerate the EC deciding to vote for whomever they like, they call such people "faithless electors."  

If the Superdelegates see that the party will view a nominee they pick over the popular will as illegitimate and more likely to lose the general they will fall into line.

They'd rather the other Democrat wins in november than see their favourite one win.


[ Parent ]
A possible scenario (0.00 / 0)
"This means to stop counting super delegates in delegate totals immediately, to emphasize the greater democratic value of pledged delegates, and to emphasize the notion that no Democratic nominee is the legitimate choice of the party's rank and file unless s/he wins the most pledged delegates (popular votes would be even better, of course, but some states are not counting the popular vote."

Its kind of useless to speculate on this right now as we will have so much more information soon, but...

What should happen if:

(a) Obama wins slightly more delegates
(b) Clinton wins more votes in states where you can count them (not including MI).
(c) Clinton's majority is large enough that it is only reasonable to conclude that she would still have more votes if caucuses (which are small states anyway) were included.

The delegate apportionment system as currently designed does a very poor job at reflecting the will of the rank-and-file.  It could be my pro-Clinton bias talking, but I therefore think the popular vote should really trump delegates when it comes to thinking about the idea of a democratic mandate.  

As an aside, I really hope new roles are adopted by the DNC that mandate simple statewide PR rather than this district-by-district crap.  I would also like to see a rule that requires reporting of raw vote totals from caucuses.  I still can't wrap my head around the fact that we don't know that information.


John McCain: Health insurance for low income children represents an "unfunded liability."


Credentials committee composition, etc (0.00 / 0)
We don't yet know what the credentials, rules, and platform committes  will look like because the members haven't been chosen yet. I think you may be confusing the Democratic National Committee Rules committee with the CONVENTION Rules committee -- they are actually quite different.

There are two phases going on in terms of membership.

The permanent committees of the convention (Platform, Credentials, Rules) aren't based on 3 members per state but instead - just like the convention delegates themselves -  are weighted by population/Democratic voting strength. There are 161 state members on each committee. Each state gets at least one member of each committee, while California gets 17 on each.

Each state party will name "temporary" committee members in time for a first meeting (probably in April?) -- but these members won't do anything other than lay out the work the committee will do.

"Permanent" committee members are named as part of the delegate selection process -- slots are allocated in a way similar to delegate distribution, on a proportional basis. They are officially selected by the state's national convention delegates once they are all selected -- but the campaigns control who is selected as their representation). There are some quirks -- for example, in a small state that gets just one member per committee, the winning campaign chooses first which committee they want -- so if it looks like Credentials is where the action will be, the campaigns will make sure they select that before platform or even rules.

So control of the credentials committee is very much up in the air at this point and will depend on primary/caucus results.

(In addition to these state members, the DNC appoints 25 at large members to each committee. Those members are listed here:
http://www.demconvention.com/a...

They were selected by Dean and approved by the DNC -- looking at the names, I don't see them as group with a strong Clinton or Obama lean.

The permanent committtees will meet in June and July to accomplish their work -- the Rules committee will develop the rules that the convention will operate under, the Credential committee will certify the roll of delegates, and the Platform committee will develop the platform. All of these are forwarded as reports for the convention to approve.

The first order of business of the convention is the credential committee report (The convention operates under temporary rules at this point). They will vote on whether to seat Florida/Michigan (and any other contested delegates). The Credentials committee will forward a report recommending what delegates will be seated. If it isn't resolved by then, there will likely be a minority report against whatever the Committee recommended. The delegates who are not contested will decide whether to adopt the majority or minority reports.

So the test vote will be the credentials vote -- if the nomination is so close that these states could decide it, everyone will understand that voting to seat or not seat the delegations really is a vote for president.

(One matter I would recommend strongly -- whatever else happens in terms of these delegations, the superdelegates from Michigan and Florida should absolutely not be seated -- it was the political leadership that served their states so badly, and they deserve to be punished for it.)

 


Bull (0.00 / 0)
You're trying to equate "pledged delegates" with the choice of the "rank and file".  As we saw in Nevada, the way pledged delegates are allocated is a big charade that is incredibly antidemocratic and does not reflect the will of the people.  If Obama ends up with a technical lead in pledged delegates due to accounting rules while Hillary has clearly won more popular support, I cannot imagine superdelegates flouting the will of the people to allow the allocation rules to win out.  In fact, I would argue that that is exactly what superdelegates are for - to ensure that the will of the people is adhered to.

Hard to see that (0.00 / 0)
Why bother having delegates at all then?  Just decide the nominee based on who got more votes, if that's the intention.  The point of delegates is to give additional weight to smaller states in deciding the nominee.  It's pretty much the party version of the electoral college.

However, the worst outcome is that the superdelegates will decide the nominee even over whomever has more popular support and delegates.  The scenario Chris is talking about could see Hillary win the nomination even tough Obama arrives at the convention with more delegates and more votes.

It would be best if the winner is just whomever got more votes, but even settling on "who got more pledged delegates" is preferable to no standard at all, and the superdelegates are free to vote for whomever offers them better perks.

The other problem is that for caucus states we don't have a popular vote count.  Just (state convention and DNC) delegate totals.  Hillary won one and Obama the other in Nevada as you point out.  But who had more actual voters show up for them?  Impossible to say for sure since no one really counted.  


[ Parent ]
READ BEFORE YOU VOTE (0.00 / 0)
Guys make sure you check out the article "The Intoxication of Inspiration" on the blogzine SAVAGE POLITICS (not related to Mike Savage) at www.savagepolitics.com. It is awesome......everyone should read it before voting.

With a picture of Newt on the left hand side... (0.00 / 0)
I know where this article is going...

[ Parent ]
delegates (0.00 / 0)
If the DNC settles the FL and Michigan issue with some ruling that plays to Clinton's advantage, there is going to be a shitstorm in the Democratic party that we are all going to regret.  The African-American community is not going to be happy, the progressives are not going to be happy, and we will have set a precedent that the rules just don't matter.  The Democrats of Florida and Michigan knew the rules of the game before they decided to go ahead and move their primaries up in the schedule.  They marginalized themselves.

[ Parent ]
Proportional Representation (0.00 / 0)
This may sound of heresy, but I think a fundamental problem with the whole system is the proportional awarding of delegates.  

Watch tonight's results.  As the pundits claim that a candidate has "won" a state, see if they win the delegates.  55%-45% and they each get half.  (Of course, it's more complicated than that.)  

But what ever became of getting something for a win?  Couldn't future rules give some bonus to the candidate who takes the most votes in a CD or a state?  That's what builds momentum and lets the party coalesce around a "winner."  And it's why the R's will have a nominee early but the D's will be going to the trenches and facing the risk of a convention that will guarantee a loss in the fall.  


Super Delegates (0.00 / 0)
This is funny because you wrote a dissertation last week about how Super Delegates are more democratic than we think and pledged delegates are less democratic than we think.

Banned for posting five straight diaries.

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