Skip to comments.Superdelegates And The 17th Amendment
Posted on 02/18/2008 2:30:51 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
The Democratic Party is finding itself in a very strange position. They’re approaching a potential situation where neither of their candidates have enough elected delegates to secure the nomination, and the race will turn to the superdelegates to decide. Primary results can then be trumped by the say-so of the “party elites”. Thus, the party who complained that Al Gore “really won” the 2000 election due to the popular vote may nominate Hillary Clinton, who now looks unlikely to win the national Democrat popular vote or the elected delegate count.
The schadenfreude of watching the Democratic Party put into a position of acting undemocratically notwithstanding, this case is very interesting on its own merits. It has a parallel with our own Constitution and the 17th Amendment, and thus I find myself cheering on the “antidemocratic” forces within the party rather than those who would rely completely on the popular vote.
In the days of our Founding Fathers, “democracy” was a four-letter word. Democracy is mob rule, and unchecked democracy can lead down a very nasty road. America was never intended to be a democracy, it was intended to be a Republic strictly limited by the bounds of the Constitution, with democratic processes implemented to elect [some of] the leaders of that republic. Even so, our Founding Fathers chose against the direct election of Senators, because they wanted a counterbalance to the power of the democratically-elected House. Particularly, they are a check on the growth of central power, a way for the States to retain powers that 50%+1 of the members of the House of Representatives wanted to give to the central government.
The democratic party is designed in much the same way. Some delegates are elected popularly, and tasked with voting based on certain rules in accordance with what “the masses” want. On top of this are superdelegates, whose mandate is different: do what is best for the party. If the scenario plays out in the most interesting way, with Barack Obama leading in both the popular vote and the elected delegate count, there will be loud calls for the superdelegates to vote along the same lines as the popular vote.
The specific purpose of the superdelegates, however, is to be the brake on bad decisions of the popular vote if they believe it to be necessary. The superdelegates have a mandate, and if they believe that the popular vote is contrary to the goals of the party itself, they are obligated to follow their belief, not the popular vote. This is an unpopular position to take, of course, because we’ve been raised to believe that democracy is– in and of itself– a worthwhile end. Democracy, though, is a means and not an end. Democracy is only justified as a means if it reaches the “right” ends, and there is enough evidence throughout history to show that democracy often leads towards ugly, nasty results (slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow being a few clear examples).
All this doesn’t mean that I’m implying that the superdelegates, if the situation breaks such that Obama leads the popular vote and elected delegate count, shouldn’t vote for him. However, it is important that the superdelegates follow their conscience and do what they believe best for the party, not simply parrot the popular vote for its own sake. The superdelegates should view such things as the preferences revealed by the popular vote as only one aspect in their decision. Other crucial aspects to consider would be the questions of which candidate more closely lines up with core Democratic party policies and which is more likely to defeat the Republican in November. This calculation may cause their vote to line up with the leader of the popular vote and elected delegate count, or it may not. Either way, the superdelegates should not allow themselves to be railroaded into making a vote they don’t believe is the correct move for the party.
I pointed out quite a while ago that Libertarianism and Democracy are not mutually exclusive, but that it often lines up that way, as the incentives of government tend towards government power and away from individual liberty, and this is no different in a democratic form of government. Likewise, it must be pointed out that the Democratic Party has its own goals as an organization, and it is the obligation of members of the party to see that those goals are realized within the organizational rules they’ve enacted, even if it means that primary voters get overruled. Much as the original purpose of the Senate was to protect the interests and rights of States against those of the general populace, the superdelegates are tasked to protect the party from mistakes made by the Democratic primary voters. What that means for their nomination vote is up to their own conscience, and should not be subject to any constraints saying they must “follow the popular vote”.
Can’t wait to see the reaction among Obama supporters if Bill Clinton manuvers in the back room to line up the super delegates to support Hillary.
You can just imagine Bill working on the delegates. He will manuver the delegates into a position where they will do what he wants.
It would be the end of the Democratic party as we know it.
The super delegates are smart enough to know that.
Unless there was some way they could cover it up they would never do it..
You know, this is another example of how the MSM really love McCain. We really should start punishing our own GOP leadership.
The All-or-Nothing primaries gave McCain the nomination with 30% of the GOP vote - if we did the proportional representation thing the Dims did, Mitt and Fred might still be in it.
The Dims will be able to say, superdelegates are like overtime, where the GOP called the game after the first half.
One can only wonder about thecost to a candidate for an elected delegate and for a super delegate.
The cost per elected delegate can easily be determined and measured in $$.
A superdelegate is a different kettle of fish. Direct and indirect payments are not public and unknown. Payments in power can’t be quantified and may remain hidden for ever.
The policy is wise however. I can think of nothing worse than allowing the Rat riffraf to control the convention
Let’s hope the delegate count is fairly close and the superdelegates squeak it out for Hillary. Then we’ll be saved from having to support McCain to defeat Obama.
At the same time, the Obama voters will feel cheated by their superdelegates and stay home. So whether we end up with Hillary or McCain, at least it will be a low turnout on both sides. Whoever wins, they won’t be able to claim a ‘mandate’ and after an ineffective 4 years where the POTUS has been prevented from doing too much damage, we can get a decent Conservative candidate in 2012.
I have a question. Are the votes of the super-duper-ultra-megaplatinum first class delegates secret or do they have to declare who, on an individual basis, they vote for?..it would be interesting to see, if it’s secret, given the above scenario, who has the cajones to admit they went against popular vote etc..
We have suffered at the hands of a liberal court for so long, and have worked really hard to get it to the point where it’s only a nomination or two away from being able to restore some common sense to its rulings. It would be a real shame to see it suddenly swing two or, God forbid, three votes in the other direction.
I am not advocating that anyone not vote their conscience, but part of that decision has to be the effect the next president could have on our lives for 20 or 30 years, not just the four years it would take to use out vote to send a message to the GOP.
It’s not about “Sending a message to the GOP” for me.
Do you have any doubt in your mind that McCain would sign an Amnesty bill ? Or that the Republicans in Congress would toe the ‘party unity’ line to get it to his desk ?
Today we spend $400B/year on Welfare programs for the ‘poor’, and that is only 35 million people that qualify. Amnesty would make those programs available to an additional 30 million currently illegal aliens, plus another 20 million if “immediate family” is allowed to join them. Virtually ALL of those people would qualify as ‘poor’ because “doing the jobs Americans won’t do” doesn’t pay very well. And because the employers are still going to be looking for the cheapest labor, which means hiring new illegals rather than the amnestied crowd. Making the amnestied crowd unemployed.
Amnesty once, in 1987, could have been a fluke that the world’s poor couldn’t count on. Amnesty again will cement the idea that all ANYBODY has to do is find SOME way in, and then wait it out until they get amnesty, too.
So Amnesty is not a short-term problem, but one that would extend out DECADES.
If I were forced to play a game of Russian Roulette and had a choice between a revolver with one bullet and five bullets I know which one I would choose. Even with a ratio of two to four I would still have little trouble making the decision. That’s where we are right now. The McCain weapon has one or two bullets, the McCain and Clinton guns have five, maybe six.
Again, I hold no quarrel with those who would sit this one out, or even those who would vote for the other side, but as for me I consider the damage from a liberal judiciary system far more than illegal immigrants or amnesty.
In any event, we are truly fortunate that the election is not this week. We have months and months to see what happens and how it goes down. It’s over eight months until election day and that is FOREVER in politics. The MSM would love to panic us right now and convince us all is lost, but the truth is we have plenty of time to see how it goes and work out a Plan B if it we don’t like what’s presented to us.
I admit I don’t follow SCOTUS as closely as I do budgetary and tax issues. I see a potential $400B/yr additional welfare spending — without requiring even a vote in Congress that is specifically ABOUT additional welfare spending — and I compare that to the TOTAL individual income taxes collected in 2006 of $950B. The answer I come up with is that everyone’s income taxes will have to go up by over 40% or we end up with huge deficits. Either way, our standard of living falls like a rock.
If it comes down to Obama vs. McCain, I’ll vote McCain simply because Obama is a pure class warfare candidate. But Hillary is another story — she is corrupt and with a history that Republicans will fight tooth and nail, and that could mean another Carter-esque period for the country, but one we’d survive.
Conservative or liberal, Democratic, Republican or Independent, male or female, Christian, Jew or Muslim, rich or poor, the SCOTUS is going to affect your life, period. It’s one thing to vote against someone who is anti-gun ownership, but then help elect someone who will change the balance of the SCOTUS to the anti-gun side.
The of the court has never, at least in my lifetime, been so precariously balanced. Regardless of one’s pet peeve or pet project this next election is going to have an effect on the court unlike any other in 100 years.
Name a subject and the outcome of this election could affect it for 20 or 30 years, regardless of who is in office or which party has a majority.
If John McCain is all the GOP feels inclined to offer up for our support then I’m just going to have to support him for the sake of the court if nothing else. Granted, his choices for the court could turn out be a great disappointment. But there’s no ‘might’ or ‘maybe’ with Obama or Hillary. Their appointments, especially if they tighten their grip on control of the Senate, will be a disaster we’ll have to live with for a generation.
For the first time in my life it looks as though I will be forced to become a single-issue voter, and that issue as t stands right now is the SCOTUS.
Maybe we should consider the likelihood of Republicans in Congress being able to block Hillary/Obama SCOTUS choices and compare that to the likelihood of Republicans in Congress blocking McCain Amnesty.
I think the first is at least possible, and the second has no chance at all. Bush didn’t get his Judiciary choices even when it was a Republican controlled Congress, why should we be resigned to Hillary getting hers ?
Does anybody have any ideas how we could guarantee a block of Amnesty under a McCain POTUS ? Because that is what it will take for me to vote for him. I literally see McCain/Kennedy Amnesty being reintroduced on McCain’s FIRST DAY and being rubberstamped into law.
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