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frogcycle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:26 AM
Original message
Superdelegate quandry
It was never supposed to come to this, of course. The SD's are there as a means of getting the party "leaders" (?) a place at the convention, having them participate in the platform-writing and schmoosing, and yes, cast votes. I believe the general expectation has been for the past couple of decades that the winner would have been determined and the voting would be a coronation. So the party leaders get to go "bless" the "people's choice."

BUT, they are NOT non-voting delegates. Whatever the original intent of giving them each a vote was, its there. There is no rule that they are obliged to go with either the national popular-vote choice, or their district's choice, or their mother-in-law's choice. They are picked purportedly because they are party leaders, and their opinion might actually matter. It is the party selecting a nominee. It wrote rules that provided for the hodgepodge of primaries and caucuses, and the superdelegates. It is only the party's rules that "bind" the elected delegates; there is no law, state or national, that has any bearing whatsoever on what the party does.

So there we are. It looks like we'll get to the convention without a candidate with enough pledged delegates to lock it in, so there will be a decision to be made. By the rules, the SD's vote however they choose, and its winner take all.

Well, that pretty much sucks, and we all know it, regardless of whom we favor (or disfavor the least).

So here's my proposal:

The party leadership prevail upon the superdelegates - every one of them - to abstain from voting in the first round.

We all know what the result will be - no winner. Fine. Then they take some time and all the delegations (most will be a mix of BHO and HRC supporters, varyingly 40-60 to 60-40) mix it up. Just like the caucuses. They beg, wheedle, implore, cajole, and otherwise attempt to influence.

After a time another vote is taken, with two possible results:

  • Events that have transpired subsequent to the various primaries and caucuses have caused a significant shift in preference in one direction, and we have a winner.
  • Still a standoff.


If the former, we're done; the SD's all chime in and vote for the winner, the rest change their vote, and we have "unity." OK, a large number of the loser's supporters will be bummed all to hell, just as I was when Biden supporters caved at the Iowa caucuses, but at least there will have been some representation, albeit not to everyone's liking, in the move to consensus. This would be far better than having one's delegation essentially negated by that one SD who puts the other candidate over the top.

If the latter, then the party leadership introduces another name into nomination. We can all imagine who would be on that short list. Gotta be experienced, capable, minimal skeletons in closet, acceptable as "second choice" to a LOT of people. I have two, maybe three names in mind.

That nomination gets introduced, and then the delegates go back to jawboning each other. They can get the mike and speak to the entire crowd if they want to. Let the people's representatives work this out. They might all persuade themselves and each other to go to this "alternative" candidate, and they might not. Do another round of voting. Now SD's get to vote. Maybe one of the original two picks up enough more, maybe there is a flood to #3. Or maybe now its a three-way-split.

If the latter, go back to jawboning. Lather, rinse, repeat.

This might sound messy, might take a long time, wouldn't be an orchestrated coronation, but dammit, it would be representative democracy. Efforts could be made to minimize "horse trading" and keep it to arguing for and against on the merits. But at the end of the day, just as we built our government on a Constitution drafted at a lengthy and often contentious convention, and as our lawmaking bodies are composed of (supposed) representatives of "We the People," this would be entrusting the delegates to work out the best solution for the party to win the election. If, when the impasse is clear, they determine that going over to candidate B is the right thing to do, well, we all have to live with it and go with their consensus.

But neither candidate would be able to rig the thing by strongarming SD's in advance, nor by "stealing" pledged delegates in advance. Any "stealing" happens on the convention floor in caucus fashion, and the SD's only come in to play after that fails to resolve it. And if the SD's say "a pox on both your houses, we like #3", which could well be the case if these two have thoroughly tainted each other and themselves by then, well then the SD's will be doing us all a favor by getting us a nominee who can still win.

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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:27 AM
Response to Original message
1. That's a solution to FL and MI too.
Seat them but no first round vote.
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frogcycle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. good point
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Kittycat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:45 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. *sigh*
They're not legitimate. And MI even more so.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Tell the Democrats who voted there they don't count.
After the first ballot there are no more pledged delegates.
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stahbrett Donating Member (855 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. No need for us to tell them - plenty of MI and FL dems already told us
They told us that they knew the elections were decertified ahead of time. Many stayed home. Many voted in the Republican primaries. (Have you stopped to wonder why, contrary to the rest of the country, where the Democratic side has garnered 2-3 times the number of voters as did the Republican side, MI and FL saw the Democrats attract fewer voters to their meaningless elections?)
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:13 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. That's 2,300,000 Democratic voters you're calling meaningless.
What are you afraid of?
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frogcycle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. Florida may have been a reasonable semblance of a primary
in that all were on the ballot, and none technically campaigned, although some found ways to get exposure in Fl. Taking those delegates as-is is at least arguably acceptable. Michigan is another matter. The seven then-active candidates who were not on that ballot had every expectation that there would be no Mi delegates to vie for. The unanimous vote for HRC, while a nice endorsement, should not be used as-is to seat those and only those Mi delegates.

A Mi do-over is called for if any are to be seated; a Fl do-over would be unlikely to differ much from what is already there. Since then events may have given some (many?) of them second thoughts, but the same is true for all early-selected delegates.
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stahbrett Donating Member (855 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. the election was meaningless, and everyone knew it
When 70,000 football fans get together to watch an NFL pre-season game (and potentially millions watch that same game on TV), the game is meaningless. That isn't a slight against the fans, so trying to turn this into a slight against the Florida and Michigan voters is similarly faulty logic.

So I'm not afraid of anything (OK, I was afraid of the thought of President Huckabee), but an election that was advertised as meaningless ahead of time cannot and should not retroactively be turned into a valid election. (My objection is really only if the invalid FL and MI elections would have an effect on the nomination - once Obama is the nominee, then by all means - seat the FL and MI delegates however you want.

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frogcycle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:03 AM
Response to Reply #3
10. more so?
more not legitimate?

The point that Fl and Mi "broke the rules" and were punished for it has been well made. The SDs are an untended wild card. The victories in red states are arguably illegitimate as well (except they are within the rules). The rules allow small pockets of dems in red states to sway the nomination although they will not be able to influence the GE. How perverse is THAT?

The whole thing is a clusterfuck.

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Bright Eyes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:54 AM
Response to Original message
5. The real solution is to turn those SDs into regular delegates.
To prevent them from switching sides.
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frogcycle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:16 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. impossible
they aren't bound to anything. There is no such thing as their "switching sides." Claiming they "should" align with whatever their home district or state said is making up rules after the fact, as well as demoting their supposed status as "leaders." They aren't even all clearly mapped to a definable district. What would be Howard Dean's obligation? He is not a SD by virtue of where he lives, but by his role in the national party.

In a contentious mess like this, a strong leader takes a hands-off approach for a time, says "now you kids work this out," THEN says, Ok, I'm solving it. That cannot be done fairly prior to the convention. Once at the convention, with ALL primaries completed, ALL votes counted, then challenge the pledged delegates to solve it without intervention. THEN intervene.

If the SD's just become "regular" delegates there is never a resolution. It ends up with a victory by a handful of delegates, becomes "winner take all" and whichever one has only 49% is forever convinced that a given slimy ad or crooked vote is what "stole" it. That does not put this mess behind us - it hands the election to muckain.
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