Steven Taylor explains where there won’t be one in 2004, including a discussion of the Super Delegates.

There are some conspiracy theorists/wishful thinkers hoping that the Super Delegates and delegates committed to the minor candidates will nominate Hillary Clinton. That ain’t gonna happen, not least of which because it would backfare in a major way since a sizable portion of the Dean voters would be outraged at having their votes stolen.

Granting that the primary system is a relatively recent innovation, it continues to astound me that so many people are eager to snatch the nominating process from the electorate. Indeed, the very presence of the Super Delegates in the Democratic Party’s process is a head scratcher, given their professed commitment to “the little guy.” Ironically, the mean, elitist Republicans have no similar institution; their nominee is chosen exclusively by primary voters.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. I think the only possible reason for the superdelegates is to prevent a brokered convention from splitting the party. Were the primary system unable to come up with a clear winner. It would be completely un resolvable if there weren’t someway inwhich certain delegates could change their votes. Now what is interesting is that the super delegates are party insiders not “little people”, which as you point out does present a nice contradiction for the Party of Oppressed Peoples everywhere.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Presumably, the rules could be written to only require fealty on the first ballot. On subsequent ballots, delegates would be free to vote for others. Alternatively, the candidates themselves could broker deals and deliver their delegates as part of a coaltion.

  3. Good point. I also imagine some sort of instant run-off system could be developed as well, so that if a delegate’s first choice is eliminated by the first vote he or she could still maintain fidelity to the electorate.