20 February 2008
11 February 2008
In the current Democratic race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama the Democratic party may have painted itself into a bit of a corner. The issue here is the superdelegates. The superdelegates were instituted to create a sense of party unity by the following process:
- The American public votes in the primary.
- The superdelegates throw their support behind the winner to give the illusion of more party unity than is actually there to give the chosen candidate more political clout and put them on a stronger footing in the actual election.
The problem is that the superdelegates are casting their votes early, committing to one side or the other in the current primary before the general public has had the time to vote. Most of them are voting for Hillary.
If Obama wins the popular vote in the primary, this creates an interesting situation.
What happens if he wins the popular vote, but not by enough to override the votes of the superdelegates. Then the American public is given the distinct impression that they chose their candidate, but their vote was ignored and the Party chose who it wanted and not who the people wanted. This will reflect badly on them.
But if those who have already committed change their minds to follow the majority of voters, opponents can leap on them as being weak and indecisive, which will also hurt them.
And then things get interesting. If Obama gets the popular vote, he did it without Florida and Michigan, who had their delegates stripped for violating parole ... errr ... primary rules. Both states went to Hillary. In a tight race, those votes could be the deciding factor between Hillary and Obama.
- If they don't give them back when giving them back would tip the election, people will scream foul.
- If they do give them back when giving them back would tip the election, people will scream foul.
So unless either Obama pretty much takes the rest of the country for a solid victory or Hillary wins the primary without Florida and Michigan, and without including the superdelegates in the count, expect a dust up before this thing settles and we have a candidate. And expect the dust up to hurt the Democrats in the general election.