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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

In Regards To Super Delegates

Category: 2016
Posted: 09/07/17 13:07

by Dave Mindeman

Let's go back, for a moment, to 1972. I was a young college student and very much into the anti-war movement. It was my first foray into politics and like many young Vietnam war protesters, I was against both the Republicans and the Democrats for allowing this mess.

Enter George McGovern. McGovern galvanized the movement into a political one. As Eugene McCarthy gave the movement a birth right in 1968, George McGovern gave it a political voice and political power.

Backed by an army of political neophytes that was going to "change the world", George McGovern stormed through the primaries and won the Democratic nomination. The convention was an anti-American, anti-war diatribe that denounced the Nixon administration in no uncertain terms but in addition, it made the independent part of the electorate wary of a left extreme that seemed to warn them of chaotic consequences.

McGovern was shellacked in the 1972 election. Nixon had 520 electoral votes and got 61% of the vote. The margin was 18 million voters. The Democratic Party was decimated everywhere.

Upon self-examination of how vulnerable the Democratic Party was to, what was considered, extreme politics, they put forward the concept of "super delegates". It was hoped that a block of elected officials as automatic delegates would calm the waters.

Super delegates in the Democratic Party has stayed with us to this day. And a lot of people think it is some kind of party attempt to rig the nomination for people they want.

Although the super delegate concept is probably outmoded today, there has never been a nomination where they changed the outcome from the primary/caucus process. Never. Not even in 2016 because Hillary had the most delegates without any super delegate count. Those elected officials could only have changed the nomination by voting for Bernie instead of Hillary.

Yet, somehow, the super delegates have become some kind of rallying cry for Democratic Party corruption.

I doubt anyone would question the idea of doing away with super delegates, but then if you want to go to a convention, do you really want to compete with Walter Mondale for a position?

Super delegates is another non-issue blown up into a grievance. The Democratic Party has enough grievances.

Don't create unnecessary ones.
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