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Democratic Party Superdelegates: Corruption or Brutal Honesty?
Superdelegates, officially known as unpledged delegates, have come under a lot of fire this election season due to their disproportionate support of front runner, Hillary Clinton. The Democratic National Committee, or DNC, instituted these delegates decades ago in 1984 in an attempt to prevent weak Democratic candidates from getting nominated by the voters. Instead of these superdelegates being elected by the people like pledged delegates are, they are allowed to choose whomever they wish to vote for at the Democratic Party Convention come July.
This is horribly undemocratic and unfair especially since these delegates make up 30% of the 2,383 delegates needed to win the nomination(15% of the total amount). Currently, Hillary Clinton has 469 superdelegates who have declared their support for her while Bernie Sanders only has a mere 31. This is only to be expected though. Bernie Sanders is running a campaign that aims to reform the Democratic party platform and voter base while Hillary Clinton is sticking with establishment politics. Superdelegates are comprised of elected Democratic governors, senators, house members, and most abundantly DNC members. Simply put, they are members of the establishment. Politically, none of them have much to gain by shaking up the system with a Sanders nomination. A Sanders presidency could inspire so-called 'Berniecrats' to start running for political office, which could challenge in-office establishment Democrats for their congressional seats. In fact, this is already occurring. The DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is facing competition from 'Berniecrat,' Tim Canova, in what looks like it will be a competitive primary. A Sanders nomination would only add fuel to the progressive movement that has ignited across the country. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is sticking with many of Barack Obama's policy positions, which are popular with the establishment, and therefore, this is the reason for the disproportionate support she has received from superdelegates while Sanders has received very little.
Based on this infographic, Sanders doesn't even appear remotely competitive. Is there even any purpose for him to stay in the race? Clearly, his progressive movement has failed, and he might has well drop out. Superdelegates, however, are not representative of how the people of this country actually feel.
When pledged, or elected, delegates are solely looked at however, Sanders suddenly seems as though he may have a shot at clinching the nomination, especially with many delegate-rich states like New York and California still up for grabs.
So what's wrong? ...Or is there anything wrong?
There must be something wrong with the system if the superdelegates are so disproportionately endorsing Clinton. In fact, in many states that Sanders has won the popular vote, his win has been stolen by superdelegates. New Hampshire, for example, where Sanders won by 20 points, ended up in a tie due to Clinton's support from the state's superdelegates (Source). Even more surprising, Wyoming, a state where Sanders won by 11 points was transformed into a win for the Clinton campaign as all four of the state's superdelegates declared their support for Clinton (Source). Clearly, the superdelegates in these states are not in touch with their constituency at all. Something must be wrong right? Well, not exactly. Contrary to popular belief, the DNC (as well as the RNC) is a private institution. Next election, they could decide to throw out the voters completely and nominate the Democratic candidate purely based on the party members' decisions, and this would be completely legal. Of course, the DNC won't risk fracturing their party like that though. Instead, they've simply decided to include superdelegates to attempt to influence the nomination in the party's favor no matter what the voters think. So nothing is really wrong with the process. The DNC can do whatever it wants, so is the system really corrupt when the election process is intended to be this way? It may be wrong, undemocratic, unfair, and a slap in the face to voters, but it certainly isn't corrupt. They're merely being honest with the voters. Honest in that they don't trust the voters to nominate a general election candidate.
So the DNC is NOT corrupt, just... un-American.
Although superdelegates have never been used to flip the nomination, they do inflate the lead of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders thereby making Clinton's lead seem insurmountable in the eyes of the voter. So no matter who you support, there is no doubting that they're giving Clinton a hugely unfair advantage.
So just because superdelegates are an intended implementation doesn't mean things shouldn't be changed. The U.S. was founded on democratic ideals, and those ideals have transformed us into the richest country on Earth. They should not be abandoned to allow the elite to decide elections for us. The last time that happened, the people started a revolution and won back their democratic and representative rights from Great Britain. Therefore, superdelegates should be done away with lest we lose our democratic rights and devolve into oligarchy.