Super-D's: Better Late to the Altar

    Charles Blow makes a good suggestion today in his Op-Ed, that the perceived injustice of Superdelegates can be toned down by having them commit later in the election cycle, say max 2 weeks before Iowa - e.g. after they've had a chance to hear new contenders.

    I'm sympathetic to Superdelegates not because Hillary's leading or I think we should support the establishment, but basically having an escape valve for the kinds of losers the GOP is vetting seems healthy.

    I don't know if that would have been meaningful in 1972 (it was the media that doomed Muskie, and infighting and intrigue with Humphrey, Carter, George Wallace and John Connolly's "Democrats for Nixon" in the chaos of 16 contenders that doomed McGovern as much as his disastrous appointment of Eagleton - though Convention rules then emboldened them more than Superdelegate rules would have).

    And despite or because of the Convention chaos, important new issues arose and created a new type of party that should have changed much from all the activism of the 60's. That new birth was arguably more important than winning the election, though the impeachment & resignation roughly gave the best of both worlds.

    And Carter was exactly the type of insurgent we should support (ignoring his sneakiness in 1972 and his arguably tepid presidency) - he won the election in 1976, and ushered in a Democratic southern wave that countered Nixon's Southern Strategy. 

    The other issue Blow addresses are the caucuses. By lowering participation through longer time windows and more complicated setting, plus the lack of privacy in publicly declaring your pick are strongly anti-democratic (from a group that complains about showing ID at the polls).

    At the same time, caucuses do offer some way of shuffling the deck or breaking up the pool table that a purely money-dominated race wouldn't allow. It's worth considering that undemocratic methods sometimes promote a type of democracy that wouldn't fester up through the cracks without. Of course like Affirmative Action, no one likes it when they're on the other side, but "fair" often requires a broader appreciation of chance and easy access to the competition. It's also a concern that the insurgents have less of a chance than incumbents by the very nature of the game - the new kid almost always has less renown and fewer resources. Somehow the transition needs to occur anyway.

    Of course I'd be reluctant to attribute winning caucuses to "greater popularity", vs. a certain kind of organizational ability, a support for particular kinds of enthusiasm, and a bit of luck.

    If I think about it, I kinda like the combination of Superdelegates (declaring later) to counter the worst possibilities of having a large number of Caucuses. Otherwise it would have been a boring year to date, and the party would have been worse off. And actually the Superdelegates have never been used, only there if needed. So unsurprisingly, I guess I'm sticking with the status quo - though this year's anti-establishment fans seem to have taken to the more spicy, undemocratic status quo as well.

    Any suggestions? or is this slight modification as good as it gets?


    I'm pretty fed up with the primary system as a way of choosing candidates.  Parties were never supposed to be such an important part of the decision. Maybe we should drop primaries entirely and do preference ranked voting instead.

    Preference ranked voting or what some call instant run off voting is a far better system. Sensible people are afraid to vote outside their team and give the election to the other team. There are very real differences between the two teams. As much as one finds themselves in disagreement with their preferred team. the other team is on a very real level worse.

    The primary system does not seem to be an effective way to choose a leader.  Do you have some suggestions for other ways to do this?  Preference Ranking makes a lot of sense to me, but only if the campaign season is short, like it is in England or Canada.  (Oh, yes! What a great idea!)

    are there other options on your mind?

    I haven't found a system I like better thn the ranked preferences one.  That one could really take the parties out of it almost entirely.  I know there are good parliamentary systems out there that give smaller parties a voice, and that could be an improvement over what we do in the House or Senate, but I don't really want more party influence, just new voices.

    It would certainly be nice this year to go to the polls and cast a first ballot for Clinton, a second for Sanders and maybe a third for some other lefty or social libertarian and then be done with it.

    Much ado is made over super delegates that I think is nonsense. They serve two purposes. The first is for the party political class to make a powerful endorsement of a candidate, if the voters care. It's only an endorsement until they actually cast their votes at the convention. I don't have any problem with the party political class making that endorsement.

    The second  is the escape valve you discussed. I believe that escape valve will only be triggered in extraordinary circumstances. Perhaps if the primary was so close that one candidate barely won the pledged delegates and the other won the popular vote.

    I don't see any problem with super delegates. If Sanders was winning the delegate count and the popular vote the supers who endorsed Clinton would switch to him as they switched to Obama in 08. It's political suicide for the party to take the nomination from the clear winner of the primary contests and the supers know that.

    First, I never see a problem with making a Senator or Representative or Governor a super-delegate.

    Should a city council member be a super? NO

    These are elected representatives of course and as long as these reps stick to their own party, that is just fine with me.

    It is just that there are too many supers involved in the process.

    Personally, I do not give one goddamn what the repubs do. I gave up on them a long, long time ago.

    The idea of super delegates goes back hundreds of years in this country.

    And Plato would have felt better if all delegates were 'super'.

    Plato, after all was no fan of democracy. Kind of like Gingrich. hahahahahah

    There is nothing in the Constitution concerning parties or super delegates or broadcasting lies to the public on a daily basis; although Jefferson and Adams had no problem with libel and slander.

    In a perfect world of course, all bad people would die and go to hell.




    Our system of selecting the nominees for President is archaic, but when I sit and think about it, I can't come up with a different way that is fair all the way around. If you massively shorten the time frame, it isn't fair to the lesser known names who need time to build a constituency. I don't know how the feds can step in and tell all states that they have to do away with their caucuses and go to primaries, but the caucuses seem to be a violation of being able to cast your ballot in private. I heard tales of people feeling intimidated by representatives of Bernie Sanders when trying to caucus for Hillary. Nor does it seem to be fair to have the same states go first year after year. Why should a small, lily white state be the one to set the tone for the race?

    So, I don't know. It seems to be a mess. And I certainly don't know how to clean it up.


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