It’s a wonderful world we live in the democracy that is the United States. You go out and place your vote in the caucuses to get the man you want to represent you. He then goes on to run for President and you go out and vote again to try to put him in power. Gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling like you really made a difference. Well, as we gear up for election coverage here at Common Sense Conspiracy, we will be analyzing the election process in detail, including our full breakdown of the Electoral College and why it makes your vote amount to next to nothing. However, even the caucuses can be meaningless, especially in a situation like the Republicans are in this year, where the nominee is not crystal-clear. Sure votes are great, and when one candidate hugely outweighs the others, the people do kind of decide. However, when things are close, each party, Republicans and Democrats alike, have a class of what are called superdelegates that are the real deal-breakers in the process. And the average American has no idea what they are or why they exist. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
To make it simple, candidates need a certain amount of delegates to endorse them for the nomination. The caucuses decide which delegates will vote for which candidate. This comes from the vote of the people. These delegates are pretty much bound to vote for the candidate their constituents elect. However, there is another class of delegates that exist outside of this system. Dubbed superdelegates, these are those that have a vote in the nomination that have no obligation to go one way or the other. The Republican Party has 120 superdelegates this year, and they will almost definitely decide who gets the Republican nomination nod, not the votes of ordinary citizens.
But how does one reach superdelegate status? Well, it’s hard to say. The Republican National Committee (as does the Democratic National Committee) seemingly appoints superdelegates at will. They are generally high-powered party leaders, Senators and U.S. Representatives, or what, for a lack of a better word, is referred to as “add-ons.” Generally, former Presidents and Vice-Presidents are automatically granted superdelegate status based on their prior achievements. These superdelegates will be able to vote whichever way they like, and in a close election like this one, they will probably determine the winner. And the majority seems to be leaning toward Mitt Romney. And they aren’t being shy about it, either?
Several superdelegate-status personalities have already stepped out and said that Romney is assured the nomination. An Associated Press poll of known superdelegates found that Mitt Romney has 35 of the 120 available superdelegate votes locked up. Newt Gingrich has only four, Santorum two, and somehow, Ron Paul captured one. So, it doesn’t take a statistics expert to figure out that Romney is running away with the suddenly all-too-important superdelegate votes. Mitt Romney is all but assured to win the nomination shortly, and the remaining voting is nothing but an illusion of choice.
While it’s easy to see this as a Republican issue, the same situation played out back in 2008. To win the Democratic nomination, Obama needed 2,025 delegates to vote for him. Going into the convention, Hillary Clinton had an estimate of 1,442. Obama had 1,612. That’s really close, but Obama also had locked down the superdelegates, meaning that it was a done deal already, even though the general public still thought that Hillary had a chance.
If all of this doesn’t turn your stomach enough, get this…superdelegates were introduced in 1984. It came as a result of Jimmy Carter’s unlikely run in 1976. Carter had no national experience. By 1984, the idea of superdelegates had risen as a solution to runaway dark horse candidates gaining steam. The idea is that if the election is too close, long-standing members of the Party will make the decision. Voting has no impact on this whatsoever, as none of the superdelegates are in a position to lose their jobs over any decision they make.
Common Sense Conspiracy will continue to break down these situations, including the Electoral College and historical presidential elections in the run up to November. Thanks for reading and there’s nothing wrong with voting as long as you understand the system.