Today I am pleased to announce the launch of the Superdelegate Transparency Project on Congresspedia and SourceWatch. It is a joint project of LiteraryOutpost.com, OpenLeft and the Congresspedia community on SourceWatch. It is meant to build on the work at DemConWatch.
The project describes itself as follows:
The Superdelegate Transparency Project is the central gathering place for compiling primary and caucus results--Congressional district by Congressional district--for states that have to date held their races, and going forward until the Democratic nomination is secured. We are compiling the district-by-district results of the popular vote and pledged delegates, and then tracking these results against how superdelegates are currently pledged (or have publicly endorsed a candidate), and how they eventually vote. The aim of this project is to open up the Democratic nomination process, and to gauge what effect the superdelegates have on the nomination. Rather than hypotheticals at the end of this nomination process, we seek to make hard data available to all interested parties, including citizens, activists, journalists, bloggers, campaign staffers and people around the world who are following this U.S. election. This is the only project currently tracking this data at the district level.
The reporting arms of the project reside at the blogs at LiteraryOutpost and OpenLeft. The participatory arm is here on the wiki at Congresspedia, where we're keeping running tallies in each state/district, who the superdelegates are, and whom they are backing. The STP is intended as a collaborative project among all interested parties to bring transparency and accountability to the Democratic National Convention by providing citizens with information on how the superdelegates could impact the outcome of the nomination.
In addition to increasing transparency in the process, another central value for the project on my end is democracy. Until a single leader in the popular vote and pledged delegate count emerges at the end of the primary and caucus season, superdelegates should not make a firm commitment to vote for any candidate at the convention other than the popular choice of their constituents. Endorsements can be made, but in order to uphold the principles of democracy within the Democratic Party, there should be no firm commitments from any given superdelegate to vote for anyone at the convention other than the candidate chosen by the constituents of that superdelegate.
This project and these values in no way violate the rules of the Democratic National Committee. Instead, this project and these values seek to inject much needed transparency and democracy into the Democratic presidential nomination process. Together, with a group effort, we can find out which super delegates are pledging to uphold the popular will of their constituents, and which super delegates are seeking to cancel out the will of their constituents.
In order for the Superdelegate Transparency Project to work, we need volunteers If you are interested in helping out, please register and get started! If you have any questions or media requests, then please send an email to Avelino Maestas at email@example.com. Also, please visit the super delegate sections of Literary Outpost and Open Left for up to date reporting on superdelegates. Let's shine some light on the process!
Update: In order to clear up confusion, my democratic standard for super delegates is that if one candidate wins pledged delegates and popular votes according to all counts, then all super delegates should vote for that candidate. However, since we won't know if a candidate achieves that standard until the end of the primary / caucus season, and since it is possible no candidate will ever achieve that standard, then in the interim all super delegates should pledge to vote their districts. That is democracy, and it is well within the rules.
But really, this specific project is more about transparency than about haggling over definitions of democracy. The goal here is simply to identify all of the super delegates, and how Democratic candidates performed in every district around the country.