Both Bernie Sanders and President Obama agree that the role of superdelegates in the Democratic primary must change.
During an interview on CNN’s State Of The Union, Sen. Bernie Sanders again called for changes to the superdelegate system, “The point that I was making is, there’s something absurd, when I get 46 percent of the delegates that come from real contests, real elections, and 7 percent of the superdelegates. And the point that I made a few minutes after that is that some 400 of Hillary Clinton’s superdelegates came on board her campaign before anybody else announced.”
Sen. Sanders is far from alone in his calls to reform the role of superdelegates in the Democratic primary.
The debate over the place of superdelegates has been raging in the Democratic primary since 2008. The Obama/Clinton primary was a total fiasco thanks to fears that superdelegates would swing towards Clinton and narrow Obama’s delegate lead. For some reason that is only known to the DNC, they decided to keep the superdelegates instead of going to a system where the popular vote determines delegate allotment. That decision is the reason the Democratic Party is on track for more angst and chaos over superdelegates.
After President Obama won the Democratic nomination in 2008, a commission that he backed recommended that the rules be changed so that superdelegates are required to vote for the candidate assigned to them by the popular vote. The DNC ignored the recommendation of the commission that Obama backed and kept the current system in place.
The biggest problem with changing the superdelegate system isn’t getting a new DNC Chair. It appears that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is gone no matter who wins the Democratic nomination. The problem with changing the superdelegate system is that the DNC itself has to support the change. If Barack Obama could not get the system changed, it is going to be difficult for Bernie Sanders to accomplish the task.
The broader point remains that the debate over the role of the superdelegates has gone on for too long. Democrats across the spectrum want changes to the system. The momentum is growing, and the next DNC Chair may find it impossible to keep the current flawed system in place for much longer.
Whether the superdelegates like it or not, it appears to be only a matter of time until change comes to the Democratic primary process.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association