Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Obama strategist: We'll close the superdelegate gap

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

As part of the post-New Hampshire frenzy, superdelegates is the word of the day. We've been tracking which superdelegates have made endorsements, and which haven't. The numbers show Clinton with a significant lead in the superdelegate endorsement race, but there are hundreds of superdelegates who haven't announced an endorsement yet. So can Obama make inroads with the Democratic party establishment and close the gap? Obama campaign manager David Plouffe says yes:

We expect to see a great deal of movement to Obama from superdelegates in the coming days, seriously eroding the Clintons’ existing advantage in this universe.
Will it happen? Check back here often to watch it unfold.


Anonymous said...

I tried posting this on the main thread, but failed.

Obama's picked up two more super delegates since New Hampshire: California Congressman George Miller and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin (Franklin was a DNC member from Georgia, but vacated that seat to become co-chair of the convention and an unallocated member of the DNC.)

That makes four superdelegates since NH, counting Kerry and Johnson, and the NYTimes strongly hinted today he's got another half-dozen senators lined up and is rolling them out gradually over the course of the week for maximum impact. So yeah, I think he's closing the gap.

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't the media picked up on the unfairness of superdelegates in the voting system? Does the public know that their votes can be overridden by a candidate's strong support by the DNC?

SciVo said...

It's stinky, anonymous. Right now I'm trying to picture what would happen if Obama won more regular delegates, and then the DNC members chose to override them. And it isn't pretty.

The best case scenario that I can think of there is something that only affects the presidential campaign while leaving the party otherwise intact, such as Bloomberg signing on as VP candidate to support an independent run by "the people's choice." By re-enfranchising the voters, that would release pressure that might otherwise tear the Democratic party apart from the inside out.

But can you picture the metaphorical bloodshed in a three-way race between McCain/Lieberman, Clinton/Richardson and Obama/Bloomberg? And my imaginings just get worse for the Democratic party from there.

seiun said...

At first glance, the superdelegate system appears vastly unfair, but think about it: these are professional politicians with access to internal polling data that most voters don't get to see. And their main concern is making sure that the most electable candidate gets the nomination. While I'd prefer the superdelegates didn't have the power they do, I also understand why the party wants to maintain some control over the vetting process.

The superdelegate system means that the people don't necessarily get their say in an election year where voter turnout is tepid. But in a year like this, the Democratic establishment is taking a very serious look at Obama right now. And if they think he's got the best chance to beat the Republicans, you can bet they're going to get behind him. No one's locked in until the delegates have been counted. They're free to change their affiliation at any time.

These people want to be on the side of whoever is elected. The reason they're supporting Hillary is because they don't want her as an enemy if she makes it to the White House. But if it looks like she's not going to be the one, they'll drop her like a hot potato.

Anonymous said...

I see your point, but I don't agree. The party elite may have access to polling data, but the voters ARE the data. Anything else is just tea leaves.

At the very least, superdelegates should withhold their vote until the primary is over.