Edited by Samantha Best
The brainchild of the 1968 Democratic Convention may finally show its brilliance in 2016, when the unbound Democratic superdelegates upend pledged delegates and popular vote and choose their party’s nominee, thus holding the final firewall they were originated for.
Superdelegates were never intended to have a majority status. In reality, they only make up about 15% of the delegates available. And more often than not, their opinion isn’t relevant to the nomination. However, the purpose of the minority power is not to elect a candidate. Rather, they were designed to prevent a loss in a general election, a proverbial safety valve to circumvent an obviously weak candidate.
This is the superdelegate’s role in the Democratic nomination process: they are independent judges that only emerge in marginal contests. Their function is to secure a nomination based upon available data and a completed primary map. Their sole task is to identify and eliminate the candidate that controls a frenzied base, yet fails to connect outside of their stronghold. They’re designed to stop a candidate like Hillary Clinton.
The control Clinton has over the Democratic base is frightening. Obvious vulnerabilities that would end any other candidate’s presidential bid are overlooked and dismissed by her loyalist support. Face it. Whenever drastic unfavorability, distrust, and a possible FBI indictment fail to internally dismiss a party’s candidate, you’re not dealing with a potential nominee. You’re describing the leader of a cult, the very thing superdelegates were designed to prevent.
Still, it will take more than just the identification of a faction candidate for this unprecedented political coup to occur. The decision to overrule pledged delegates and popular vote also requires a general election map that is more favorable to the faction’s opposition. Fortunately for Democrats, the electoral map is indeed stronger for Hillary Clinton’s opponent Bernie Sanders.
Just by glancing at the 2008 and 2012 presidential election maps, the general election frailties of Clinton are clear. In order for a Democrat to claim victory in November, the candidate must be able to win in 3 geographical areas. They need to control the Northeast, the upper Midwest, and the entire west coast.
Both Sanders and Clinton would be able to maintain the Northeast; it is an undeniable fact. The further west that Sanders goes, the stronger he becomes and the weaker Clinton gets. The last time the campaigns were on the west coast, Clinton lost the state of Washington by almost 50 points. Combine that with the possibility of losses in Ohio and Florida this November, and an objective evaluation of the general election map becomes crucial to the Democrats success.
However, even with most available data in favor of Sanders, in order for superdelegates to change ship at the convention, he must finish the primary race strong. The need for a convincing victory in California is paramount to this historical political coup. This is why the support of Sanders cannot fade into the night. It must remain steadfast and burn it’s very hottest, on the doorsteps of Philadelphia, to have superdelegates write history.
The 2016 Democratic presidential primary is what superdelegates were created for. If they were designed to vote along with their states or the popular vote, it would defeat their purpose and the visionary work of the McGovern-Frasier and later Hunt commissions. The commissions knew someday a minority power would be needed to block a faction candidate and prevent a general election loss.
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Hampton is a contributor at large to Brooklynfights.com and Moniteau County Football FB