I was chatting with a Bernie Sanders supporter recently, and (of course) the subject of superdelegates came up. He, of course, sees them as anti-democratic, a tool for the party hierarchy to exert a measure of control.
I see them as a reasonable way for the party to give weight to its most successful and most stalwart figures, but I have no problem with the Vermont Compromise: allow superdelegates if the party wants ‘em, but tie their first-ballot votes to the result of their state’s primary or caucus.
We also discussed primaries, open vs. closed. He favors open primaries, as the most (small-d) democratic way to choose a candidate.
This is all in accord with the general proposition that more voter participation is better than less. So, fine.
But then we get to caucuses. The Sanders supporter hadn’t given them much thought, but felt that there was a place for them because they reflect the level of “passion” behind a candidate.
This isn’t just one person’s view. Generally, the Sanders camp seems unconcerned with the potential unfairness of caucuses. When, in fact, a caucus is one of the best voter-suppression tools around.