I am a superdelegate.

10 Feb

An article is making the rounds on social media with a clickbait headline, “The DNC Just Screwed Over Bernie Sanders and Spit in Voters’ Faces.”

Having apparently slept through the 2008 primary season, the author is shocked to learn that by the rules of the Democratic National Committee there are  a number of delegates to the national convention that are elected federal officeholders, party officers and members of the Democratic National Committee.  In 2008, the very same dynamic was at play. Clinton had many elected officials behind her and there came a point when some feared that it was those superdelegates who would decide the nomination.  Those fears did not come to pass.

DNC-kicking-donkey-logo1Since I was elected a Democratic National Committee member representing Minnesota in 2012, this time I get to experience the fun from the inside! Given that I will not be running for reelection to the DNC, I was really hoping my SUPERdelegate status would mean I was getting wined and dined by our candidates.  Alas, Hillary hasn’t called and all I get from Bernie are emails.  No flowers, cards or Edible Arrangements.  Not so super at all.

What I did get today was two calls from reporters.  As concern grows with some Sanders’ supporters that Clinton will “steal” the nomination through superdelegates, I have been called to be identified as a candidate supporter.  Since I might be listed soon as one of the Council of Elders ruining our democracy, I thought maybe I’d state here what I told them and how I feel about this whole thing:

  • I am a Clinton supporter and expect I will be casting a vote for Clinton at the Democratic National Convention this summer.
  • I support reforming our delegate system to eliminate even the possibility of superdelegates deciding a nomination.
  • I do not believe super delegates will decide the nominee.  They didn’t last time and, if it came to that, the party would be so fractured and the process would be so divisive that it would not be a tenable set-up for a general election win.
  • I will be listed as a  Clinton supporter because I am one (more on that in another post); that said, in the unlikely event of the convention coming down to superdelegates deciding over the will of the voting electorate of primary and caucus goers, I would not participate in that.  What that means, who the heck knows.  It’s a far-fetched hypothetical.

That is all.

Have a super day.


A friend wrote with some math.  There are 4763 total delegates – 712 of those are supers.  That’s 14.9% of the total.  Not exactly an overwhelming and right now about 60% or so remain uncommitted.  So everyone chill, please. 

One of the arguments for having superdelegates is that, if these folks did not have reserved delegate spots they would likely run for national delegate positions and, as party elected officials and leaders, would likely win many of these positions.  So you’d still have a “party elder” problem in the delegate pool. 


36 Responses to “I am a superdelegate.”

  1. Erik Hare February 10, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

    What you didn’t tell us – do you get an appropriate costume? I mean, an attractive one in pastel, that is.

    Seriously – thank you for posting this and rejecting the eventuality that you might be in a position of thwarting the will of the people. Your service is commendable, though I expect you to get some flak from people who apparently have been asleep through the whole process.

  2. Vickie February 10, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

    Im glad you are a super delegate. I wouldn’t worry about what people think.🇺🇸Go Hillary,yes…smart choice mr.super delegate…

  3. Manchershaw Engineer February 10, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

    I think you’re missing the entire reason people are upset. It isn’t that Superdelegates probably can’t afford to go against the will of the general public. It’s that they have the power to do so.

    Hilary Clinton is an establishment politician who is running against someone who is essentially against establishment politics. Those who support Bernie do so because they are also against establishment politics. The mere fact that there is a way for the establishment to bypass the voting will of the people gives credence to their claims. Additionally, that credence itself is destroying the democratic system. Most people in this country do not vote because they do not feel it matters. They are so disillusioned by the power of the establishment that they feel absolutely helpless and at their will. I can’t say anything you have written has made them seem wrong about that. If the establishment wants Hilary, there really isn’t anything the people can do other than vote and then “hope” the establishment changes their mind. Not exactly what Democracy is supposed to be. If it were Democracy, there wouldn’t be Superdelegates, or any votes whatsoever that count more than an average citizens.

    • thuginpastels February 10, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

      Did you read the part where I said I don’t support super delegates making a decision and that, if it came to that, I would not participate?

      • Manchershaw Engineer February 10, 2016 at 8:52 pm #

        And again missing the point. It isn’t that you won’t do it. It’s that you have the power to that essentially makes my vote completely worthless.

      • thuginpastels February 10, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

        I know. I agree with you. That’s why I said I won’t do it. Maybe argue with someone who actually disagrees with you

      • Erik February 10, 2016 at 10:19 pm #

        The main damage comes not from the potential that the superdelegates might in some hypothetical universe vote against the eventual popular winner, but that the media (which Hillary also has close ties to) reports with fervor the lopsided delegate count. This makes people who have not yet voted feel disenfranchised, that the result is a foregone conclusion predetermined by an establishment they have no power over, and therefore less likely to vote once their primary comes around making it a self fulfilling prophecy. It makes no difference what you intend to do under certain hypothetical situations once you are at the convention. The mere fact that you are a superdelegate who has publicly stated a preference for Hillary, and are therefore included in the media’s delegate count, is what gives the impression that the establishment has already anointed Hillary regardless of what the actual people want.

      • thuginpastels February 10, 2016 at 10:24 pm #

        Hillary had a superdelegate advantage in 2008. She lost. Bernie is now getting wall to wall coverage for a decisive victory in New Hampshire. You are also indulging in hypotheticals, assuming that some voter is feeling disenfranchised because of a delegate count most people are not paying attention to. They are paying attention to the media coverage of the actual results. Sanders had an h expected close second in Iowa and a landslide in New Hampshire, and the media coverage is reflecting it. You guys should maybe learn to enjoy your momentum and capitalize on it. You don’t always have to be the victims, certainly not when your candidate is, at the moment, doing pretty well. If Bernie wins more primaries and caucuses he will be the nominee. That’s how Obama did it against an establishment candidate who everyone considered was next in line.

      • Brad March 3, 2016 at 10:01 pm #
  4. Manchershaw Engineer February 10, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

    You are disagreeing with me. You told me to “chill”. This is about as big a deal as they come.

  5. Dug February 10, 2016 at 10:33 pm #

    You are failing to mention two things in your defence of the Super Delegate situation. First is that Hillary had a majority of pledges from Super Delegates in 2008 before a bunch switched over to Obama when casting their votes. Second is that while Super Delegates only count for 14.9% of the Delegatesn it is an unfair bias. Lets look at New Hampshire. There are a total of 32 Delegates for the DNC in New Hampshire. 24 of those are divided up between the 249,265 people who showed up to caucus for their candidate. The remaining 8 Super Delegates are comprised of 8 people. That is 25% of New Hampshire’s vote. Where one quarter of it’s support is decided on by 8 of 249,273 people representing. That means if you were a Super Delegate in New Hampshire your vote is worth that of 10,386 people.

    It’s an off balanced system that better represents a party or system that is already established and in place than the people who organize and show up to vote for a candidate.

    When it comes to an election, 14.9% is all a party needs to put their “favorite team player” at the top when the popular vote isn’t going the way they want. Then hide behind statements like “only 14.9%”. In this case 14.9% is a cutting up a pizza into 8 slices, giving one to one person, letting them take a couple bites of the remaining 7 slices and then dividing the other 7 pieces up between 92 people.

    That said, this is the system that is in place and what we will have to work with. I won’t agree or disagree with who you support, as that is your business and your right in this case. Just please, if you’re going to defend it, don’t act like it isn’t a big deal and I should just chill because it’s nothing. I feel differently and like you I am entitled to my position

    • thuginpastels February 10, 2016 at 10:40 pm #

      Jeez, there is a lot of selective reading going on here. I said I DO NOT SUPPORT SUPERDELEGATES SUPERSEDING PRIMARY/CAUCUS results. So much so that, if it came to that, I WILL NOT PARTICIPATE. It’s right there, in the post. I also, however, am trying to explain, as someone familiar with the process, that that is an extremely unlikely scenario. Both things can be true. I can both believe that it is extremely unlikely, and reassure the people who elected me to the DNC that if it came to that that I would not participate. I also think that the public pressure would be such that it would put many superdelegates in a tough spot. Again, an extremely unlikely scenario.

      Go organize, convince voters of your guy. We happen to disagree on a candidate right now. We’ll eventually come together. I hope.

      • M Beth Mohr February 10, 2016 at 11:33 pm #

        “and reassure the people who elected me to the DNC …”
        Who are those people?
        How does one get to be One who is deigned smarter and more worthy than 10,000 of us mere mortal Democrat schmucks?
        Did you have to pull a sword out a stone or something?

      • thuginpastels February 10, 2016 at 11:38 pm #

        I was elected by the State Convention of democrats in 2012, made up of schmucks like all of us who are party activists. Not all states elect their DNC members. Other states appoint their DNC members. In Minnesota, we do things more grassroots. I campaigned across the state, spoke to democrats and I had the honor of being elected by them.

      • Dug February 11, 2016 at 9:39 am #

        No selective reading here. I have merely addressed the very things you said that I felt at odds with.

        Lets start with your position to not support the Super Delegate system. You state that, “I am a Clinton supporter and expect I will be casting a vote for Clinton at the Democratic National Convention this summer.” How can I know which it will be then. Will you or won’t you be using your Super Delegate status?

        You are at conflict with your own words and accuse me of selective reading. You responses to people here are demeaning. You think I should be ok with your limited presentation of facts and I think you should shouldn’t be “selectively” representing facts.

        I never mentioned my support for Bernie. I stated we disagree, and that was on topic about the Super Delegate situation, not your support for Hillary. The fact that you think 14.9% is no big deal when elections are won in smaller margins is offensive to me, especially when it comes from a person who’s single voting power is greater than mine or even my ability to influence others.

      • thuginpastels February 11, 2016 at 9:56 am #

        Oh FFS. “How can I know which it will be then. Will you or wonky you be using your Super Delegate status?” Read bullet point four, where I state exactly that. I am not defending the fact that there are super delegates, even though I understand some of the arguments and they are simply not nefarious. But, again, not defending the way things are and said explicitly I support changing the system so there’s not even a chance of super delegates deciding. I am merely stating that it is extremely unlikely that it would come to that, if for no other reason because the scenario imagines that voters have shown decisive support for a candidate and the elected officials who are super delegates would be under a lot of pressure. I also believe it’s unlikely because I have the benefit of having been around long enough to have seen this scenario play out before – especially in 2008. These rules didn’t just happen and they weren’t invented by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to screw Bernie, as the usuncut article implies.

        It’s not impossible to believe both things – that the scenario you imagine us highly unlikely BUT that should it happen I wouldn’t participate in it. So that’s what I said.

      • duggleass February 11, 2016 at 10:35 am #

        “Oh FFS”. That’s a great way to start. It’s revealing about how upsetting this is for you. Are you not prepared for a real discussion on the matter? Must you keep going back to defending Hillary despite my stated lack of concern for who you cast a ballot for?

        You have just now proved my point. Bullet Point 4 is in direct conflict with bullet point 1. Which is my statement of conflicting information.

        You haven’t addressed the numbers other than to refer to 2008. Which you never agreed or contested the fact that Hillary started with a the majority of SD’s pledged only to see a number of them move over to Obama. That this doesn’t matter. You like numbers. You disagree with them, but you like them. So lets look at the 2008 Primary.

        Hillary had 1726.5 Delegates and 246.5 Super Delegates for a total of 1973. Obama had 1828.5 Delegates and 478 Super Delegates for a total of 2306.5. Obama wins by popular vote, SD and total vote. If for whatever reason the SD’s held their pledges and remained supportive of Hillary then things easily could have been different. For example, if we trade SD votes between them we get a different result. Hillary would have 1726.5 Delegates, 478 SD for total of 2204.5 while Obama would have had 1828.5 Delegates, 246.5 SD’s for a total of 2075. He would have won the popular vote, lost the SD vote and thus lost the total vote.

        Ignoring how less than 1% of those casting votes gets to represent 14.9% of the results being screwed up, it would have changed the election. With less than 14.9% of the delegates at that. Well within the 14.9% margin that doesn’t matter.

        Again. Go. Vote for Hillary. That is no concern of mine. This conversation isn’t about WHO you support. It is about the balance of power members of the DNC have over the election results.

      • thuginpastels February 11, 2016 at 10:41 am #

        One thing I’ve learned by writing this is that some people won’t take yes for an answer. Have a super day.

      • duggleass February 11, 2016 at 11:09 am #

        A good day to you too.

    • Buffy February 11, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

      I gotta say, cut this person a little slack. Bernie didn’t make it to this place in time by assuming everyone who participates in the “establishment” is an enemy that needs to be interrogated. Your tactics here don’t look good.

  6. Jane Deaton February 11, 2016 at 9:41 am #

    I continue to think it is decidedly non-democratic to have super delegates. I say that as an ardent Democrat.

    • thuginpastels February 11, 2016 at 10:00 am #

      I don’t love it either. The argument for them is that, say your state senators are Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken (mine) and you support a candidate. If they weren’t automatic delegates but wanted to go to the convention to support their candidate, they’d have to run for a delegate spot. Al and Amy are loved by Minnesota Democrats. If they ran to be a national delegate they would certainly win, beating out two rank and file democrats who could otherwise attend the convention to support their candidate.

      I’m not sure the scenario above is worth the hassle of this conversation we repeat every four or eight years about the out sized role of super delegates. That’s why I tend to agree with you on the need for change. But I don’t think the other side’s arguments are necessarily undemocratic. We just done agree with them.

      • seanumichn February 12, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

        The rule could be simple. SUPER DELEGATES can go to the convention, but MUST follow the will of the DEMOCRATIC primary results.Just as there is an ELECTORAL COLLEGE (which is a whole can of worms we dont need to open here) voters in most states follow the will of the people.

      • seanumichn February 12, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

        The rule could be simple. SUPER DELEGATES can go to the convention, but MUST follow the will of the DEMOCRATIC primary results.Just as there is an ELECTORAL COLLEGE (which is a whole can of worms we dont need to open here) voters in most states follow the will of the people.

  7. JT February 11, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    Gotta say, Javier and I have been disagreeing about a lot of things on social media lately (including most basically favored candidate). But whatever the overall flaws in the superdelegate situation, I personally read this mainly as a peace offering and step in the right direction.

    • thuginpastels February 11, 2016 at 11:15 am #

      Thank you! I’ve been a little flummoxed by some of the reactions.

  8. Andy Schauer February 12, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    Additionally – people are acting like becoming a superdelegate itself is somehow undemocratic. I am not one, but I know the people who are in those positions were themselves elected – either to office or through the state parties to the DNC. As if that power is just bestowed upon some people magically and kept from others unfairly. Every single county party meeting is open to the public. Everyone has the same ability to get involved in that process. And while I don’t always agree with every decision our big-D Democratic party makes, I know that the people who are making those decisions didn’t just wake up in those roles. They were not given to them because they gave the most money (like in the GOP), the campaigned and worked for those positions. I have no problem with their superdelegate vote meaning more, because their vote is a reflection of a voting majority of voters or party faithful. Actual superdelegates, out of modesty, will rarely say all of this, but it should be said.

    • Buffy February 12, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

      Well… we’ll see if their vote is an actual reflection, or a directive of the DNC. And I would agree with the super delegate original poster — this nomination process with super-delegates is not a genuine democratic system. It’s one place the Republicans stand in the right against us. They do not have super-delegates in their nomination process. Why do we? Except to exclude people like Bernie Sanders from winning over the will of the people and becoming the nominee.

  9. Phil February 16, 2016 at 8:52 am #

    My thoughts on the whole super delegate topic are well articulated by Nate Silver. http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/superdelegates-might-not-save-hillary-clinton/
    Since you don’t support the superdelegates system how about you pledge to use your vote to make sure the unpledged delegates more closely reflect the pledged ones from MN?

    However, I am extremely curious why you would support Clinton. My best guess is that you, like a lot of other people who supported Dean in 04, saw him get chewed up by the Democratic establishment and them completely sell out and become an insurance lobbyist (making sure sick people get screwed). He has even admitted he never expected to win, he just wanted a pat on the back for falling into the VT governor’s mansion and managing to get reelected as an incumbent. Maybe that little bit of roadkill made you value ‘pragmatism’ over vision.

    There is only one problem with that argument, Clinton is not the pragmatic choice. Ignoring all the GOP email Benghazi BS. I think it is abundantly clear that no one knows where her true feelings on any issue are. She has been on every side of guns, marriage equality, single payer, drug legalization, mass incarceration, and sadly enough a woman’s right to choose (I will gladly cite sources if you want).

    Tell you what though, I’ll even grant for the sake of argument that she has evolved on all those and she really wants to make progress. Lets talk 2016. No one saw anything about this cycle coming. Well, at least no pundits. We no longer live in a democracy, the popularity of a policy among the general public has a statistically insignificant correlation with its likelihood of being enacted. If rich people want something though get their preference 78% of the time. https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

    The average person probably doesn’t know that statistic, but you bet they know something isn’t right. 76% of people across the political spectrum think large donors expect something in return. https://today.yougov.com/news/2016/01/11/too-much-money-politics-too-much-damage-democracy/

    This really is a fight for the sole of the democratic party. Are we going to try and out Republican the Republicans when it comes to being the party of business? Or are we going to the party of workers? http://www.salon.com/2016/02/16/the_clintons_will_really_try_anything_false_attacks_and_failed_strategies_as_hillary_repeats_2008/

    Personally the disingenuous attacks and dog whistle politics are enough to make me never want to vote for her, But If the democratic part decides it wants to be the part of SuperPacs I will be voting for the Green party for the foreseeable future.

  10. rlcfzf@mail.umkc.edu March 2, 2016 at 12:18 am #

    As a former resident and active political citizen of Minnesota and I am curious about your stated commitment of superdelegate status to Hillary Clinton. Given the overwhelming choice by the people of Minnesota in Bernie Sanders I am concerned whether or not you will be supporting the constituency you have been chosen to reflect. Will you be supporting Bernie Sanders during the nomination process considering the result of the primary, or are you still committed to backing Hillary Clinton?

    This is a threshold question of civic integrity, and I hope that you will make the appropriate decision.

    I look forward to receiving your response

  11. Rebecca Nargang March 2, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

    Rather than abstain you should vote for the will of the people. Otherwise, publicly step down in protest of superdelegates. To abstain from your position as a superdelegate is to fly in the face of every single Minnesota district going for Bernie Sanders. Either vote with the people or publicly declare a rigged system.

    • rlcfzf@mail.umkc.edu March 29, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

      EXACTLY! This is about “We the people.” Not “me the person.”

      • Phil March 29, 2016 at 8:29 pm #

        This whole superdelegate media blackout SuperPAC funded shitstorm has really brought into focus just how the Un-Democratic party operates. If Bernie doesn’t win I’m voting strictly 3rd party from now on.

  12. Jennifer March 29, 2016 at 8:53 am #

    Javier, I watch you on TPT’s Almanac regularly and appreciate your insights and commitment to labor issues. I imagine you were asked or pledged your support for Clinton back when it was all-but-assured she would be the Democratic nominee. Now that things have changed (we have a real race for that nomination), I hope you would consider shifting your super delegate vote to Sanders. On labor issues alone, Sanders is on our side to a much greater degree than Clinton: his support of a higher minimum wage than she supports, his opposition to terrible international trade deals that harm workers and the environment, etc.


  1. Clinton, Sanders put in Minnesota appearance Friday – TwinCities.com | TwinCitiesLand News - February 12, 2016

    […] Hampshire gave her nearly equal New Hampshire delegate strength despite Sanders’ primary blowout, Morillo-Alicea wrote: “In the unlikely event of the convention coming down to super delegates deciding over the will […]

Leave a Reply to thuginpastels Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: