Superdelegates. A word that my computer won’t recognize as real and a position that the average American couldn’t define with Bill Clinton giving them a cheat sheet. Superdelegates are basically high-ranking politicians/former high-ranking politicians who vote at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) every election year, determining who the Party’s nominee will be. They are not required to proportionally vote for a candidate like regular delegates are, and they can change their vote at any time before the convention, unlike regular delegates. However, they usually vote according to the popular vote, mostly because they don’t want to piss off their constituents and lose valuable votes and donations. Their real job is to prevent extremely bad candidates (see: Donald Trump) from getting the nomination and destroying the country/losing the election for their Party. To see a great rundown of this, click here.
Ever since news sites started reporting that Hilary Clinton had more superdelegates than Bernie Sanders, Bernie supporters have been going crazy over superdelegates. Early in January, there was the fear that superdelegates would garner Clinton the nomination. People had the erroneous assumption that there were thousands of superdelegates out there, all lined up and waiting to vote for Hillary. Never mind the fact that they are a fraction of the total delegate count (think 15%). Never mind that in 2008 superdelegates switched to Barack Obama when they saw that Hillary was losing. And never mind that superdelegates have, thus far, never voted against the popular vote. It was time to freak out.
Then Hillary started winning big in February and March, racking up an impressive 2.5 million popular vote and 280+ delegate lead on Bernie. Simultaneously, Bernie won several little states such as New Hampshire, Hawaii, and Washington. However, he still wasn’t winning every superdelegate, which forced his followers to call foul. They claimed the DNC was suppressing voters. They claimed that superdelegates were neglecting the “will of the people.” They claimed that “the establishment” was trying to keep Bernie out of office. Never mind that Bernie was still losing by wide margins. Never mind that superdelegates do not have to vote for the majority winner in a state. Just foul, foul, foul.
Now it’s April and Bernie is on a hot streak, winning seven states in a row. However, he’s still way down in votes, delegates, and superdelegates, and superdelegates in the states he’s won still aren’t voting for him. The solution? Make a hit list.
I’m not even kidding. Last week, Bernie supporter Spence Thayer created a “Superdelegate Hit List” (amended to “Superdelegate List”) that gives out personal contact information on superdelegates. He’s encouraged people to harass superdelegates and demand that they heed “the will of the people” by voting for Bernie. Many of them have received multiple threatening emails and phone calls, have been called at home or on their personal phones, and have been insulted for not voting for Bernie.
The only problem? Even if the superdelegates from the states Bernie’s won voted for him, he still wouldn’t win. If they voted proportionally, he would lose by a wide margin. If they voted winner-take-all, he would lose by a slightly smaller margin. Either way, he’d lose.
So 1) harassing superdelegates won’t do Bernie any good and 2) it’s exactly the kind of bullying, oligarchical behavior that Bernie is campaigning against (in theory, anyway). A small group of people trying to bully others into changing their vote and violate their conscious is establishment politics at its finest. It’s saying that if you have the most anger, you’re allowed to do whatever you want and who cares if 9 million people don’t agree. It’s saying that the votes of 9 million people don’t matter because you don’t like it. It’s saying that rules and the Constitution don’t matter. It’s saying that you are more important.
And, let me repeat this: superdelegates don’t fucking matter. They have yet to overturn a popular election and, if they ever do, Americans can simply write in the candidate they want. They also only govern the Democratic Party, not the Republican Party, not Independents, not Libertarians, not Green Party, just Democrats. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s not fascism. It’s just weird.