The pressure is growing on the four Vermont superdelegates to drop Hillary Clinton in favor of Bernie Sanders. Well, the voices of the disaffected are growing louder, anyway. I don’t see any sign of a mass movement.
Nor should I. As I’ve explained before, the superdelegate system is a legitimate expression of a party’s legitimate self-interest. No presidential primary season has ever been a pure reflection of the popular vote; the presidential selection system is governed by the parties because their nomination is a prize that is theirs to bestow.
Superdelegates are people who have served the Democratic Party well and loyally. It’s reasonable to argue that they deserve a voice in the presidential selection process.
Which won’t convince Sanders supporters who believe they’re getting screwed. But let’s put it this way:
… by every possible democratic measure, Clinton is winning. She’s winning in states (and territories) won, which isn’t a meaningful margin of victory anyway. She’s winning in the popular vote by 2.4 million votes — more than a third more than Sanders has in total. In part that’s because Sanders is winning lower-turnout caucuses, but it’s mostly because he’s winning smaller states. And she’s winning with both types of delegates.
That’s from Philip Bump of the Washington Post. And the numbers don’t lie: Hillary Clinton has won 2.4 million more votes than Bernie Sanders. Indeed, if there were no superdelegates at all, and the delegates were apportioned based on the vote, Clinton would still have a substantial lead over Sanders. She would still be the clear favorite to win the nomination.
She is The People’s Choice, f’real.
And it’s a curious thing, considering that Bernie’s claim to legitimacy is that he is leading a new movement that is bringing millions of new participants into Democratic politics. If that’s true, then why does he trail so badly where his supporters say it counts most — in actual votes?
The truth is more like this. Bernie has an enthusiasm edge on Hillary. His supporters are more energized — but they are far fewer in number. And you win elections by, mirabile dictu, attracting more votes than the other folks. Unless he has an astoundingly strong finish, Bernie’s going to finish second. Not only in delegates, not only in superdelegates, but as Mr. Bump put it, “by every possible democratic measure.”
As for those four pesky Vermont superdelegates, they are exercising their party-granted right to cast their votes as they wish. But beyond that, they are actually reflecting the primary results.
Hillary Clinton was shut out of allocated delegates because she failed to reach 15% of the total vote. That 15% is an arbitrary standard. Why should the 14% who voted for Hillary be shut out? (I would argue that the threshold should be the percentage of the vote equaling one delegate — three point something. That way, you don’t wind up with fractions of a delegate.)
If there were no superdelegates, and all Vermont’s delegates were apportioned based on primary votes, AND there was no 15% threshold, HIllary would receive four delegates.
And she’s getting four superdelegates.
It’s a happy accident, but it’s true: the four Hillary superdelegates are representing not only their own consciences, but the 14% of primary voters who opted for Hillary. Let’s hear it for democracy, right?