The Democratic Party’s delegate process for choosing a nominee for President has come into question after Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 21-point rout of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire’s primary Tuesday garnered him fewer delegates than Clinton. Even though Sanders won every town but two in the state, and most by wide margins, Clinton was awarded 17 delegates to Sanders’ 15.
The DNC’s system allows party leaders to be named as so-called Super Delegates who owe no allegiance to the voter’s choice in the primaries and caucuses.
Super Delegates are made up of Democratic governors and members of Congress, former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, former vice president Al Gore, retired congressional leaders such as Dick Gephardt, and all Democratic National Committee members, some of whom are appointed by the party chair – who currently supports Hillary Clinton.
The Super Delegate system was created to supply some Establishment stability to the nominating process, after anti-war Senator George McGovern was nominated in 1972, then went on to lose every state but one and the District of Columbia to President Richard M. Nixon.
This strategy seemed to hold water until 1984 when former Vice President Walter Mondale won the nomination over Sen. Gary Hart due in great part because of Super Delegate loyalties, only to go down in flames to President Ronald Reagan.
I would offer this strategy to pro-Sanders backers: Put up primary challenges to every Democratic Super Delegate seeking re-election this year who refuses to abide by the wishes of the electorate.
In New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District, for example, voters gave Sanders a 70 percent vote of confidence, ten to fifteen percent higher than the rest of the state. Since Democratic incumbent Congresswomen Annie Kuster is a Super Delegate aligned with Clinton, and considering Sanders won every town in her district, she may be swayed to honor her constituent’s choice for President if she wishes to be re-elected.