Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Superdelegates and representation

Joe Knippenberg thinks that this extended primary season gives us the "opportunity to think through and learn about our peculiar form (or forms) of democratic republicanism." In this op-ed he considers the purpose of "superdelegates", and what the federalist and the the anti-federalist notion of representation has to do with encouraging deliberation, and how the current Democratic Party might not understand it all.    

Discussions - 3 Comments

They understood their problem when they devised it, which was after the McGovern debacle. They knew they needed a mechanism whereby the sane could prevent those insane from dictating the nominee.

The entire system was meant to prevent a Dean, or an Obama for that matter, from capturing the nomination. It was meant to prevent radicals getting into the saddle. But instead of the supers exercising their "super" authority, they're caving.

If they go forward with the radical Obama, and go on to lose this race against McCain, and thus allow the Republicans to steal a victory after all the damage that Bush deliberately or inadvertently did to the GOP brand name, those superdelegates will long regret their dereliction of duty.

But after all the damage done by the Bush family, {it wasn't just the son}, I'm not sure that a Reagan or a Teddy Roosevelt would be able to win in the Fall.

Another one of those "safe" seats we lost tonight. In the Deep South too.

There are far too many Conservative commentators and pundits who drastically underestimate the level of anger that Americans have for this Presidency. There is too damn much wishful thinking.

Thank you, Joe. I am looking forward to the promised Part II.

I do not see that America does not get just what it asks for in any election. The more democratic elections become, the people of the nation are actually getting what they ask for. This makes our dissatisfaction almost funny. It's like celebrating the abundance of America, but loudly deploring obesity and waste, especially among the poorer of the nation. Disliking the consequences of democratic choice is a favorite national sport.

Have superdelegates always been so much in the news? I don't remember hearing about them so much in past elections. That could be a matter of my bad memory, I suppose. I don't remember actually seeing superdelegate interviews or knowing who they were, unless they were already prominent people.

Another thing I may misremember, I thought the superdelegate matter was a response to the 1968 Democratic convention debacle. I was sort of a Democrat back then and that is how I remember it. I'll look it up later. I ought to be working, but seem, uneconomically, to read and write here more than I should.


Superdelegates only (ought to) matter in a close race. Hence they haven't been in the news much in past cycles.

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