DNC Rules Committee Marginally Reforms ‘Superdelegate’ System
All year long, people have been complaining about the 712 unelected “Superdelegates” in the Democratic primaries. That’s 15% of the total! While the GOP doesn’t call them “super,” there are three unelected GOP party officials from each state who automatically become delegates to the national convention. That’s 7% of the total. Does that mean the Republicans are twice as “democratic” as the Democratic Party? Not really. That’s only the beginning, folks.
Other than the Superdelegates, all Democratic at-large or district delegates are pledged to the candidate who wins in the caucus or primary—proportionally. There are no party conventions. There are no hybrid systems. No winner-take-all. Pretty straight-forward.
More importantly, in addition to the 7% above, there are various “bonus” delegates and “uncommitted” GOP delegates that a candidate can’t count on.
The Democrats are already working to reduce the effect of Superdelegates.
A deal struck at the Democratic National Convention rules committee meeting could change the role of superdelegates in the future, according to a report from the Associated Press. . .
It won near-unanimous support from the 21-member commission late Saturday night. For superdelegates, the commission’s recommendation is that members of Congress, governors and other elected officials should remain as unpledged delegates, but that other delegates would be bound proportionally to the primary results of their state.
Bernie fans wanted to get rid of Superdelegates altogether. However, at least there was movement and compromise. There should be discussion of alleged voter suppression, and the fact that the party establishment seemed to have taken sides. But to be fair, there were at least as many issues on the GOP side—and nothing was done. At all.
Donald Trump complained that the system is unfair. His opponents said he actually benefited from the “unfairness.” But that’s not true. Yes, Trump had a higher proportion of delegates compared to his popular vote total—but so did Cruz, and by about the same rate. It’s due to the fact that most other candidates received popular votes, but no delegates at all.
The Observer agreed with Trump.
Donald Trump has been the clear front-runner throughout the nominating process. But with each passing day, it becomes clearer and clearer that his opponents and the GOP establishment will use every procedural maneuver on the books to deprive him of the nomination, if at all possible.
. . .the rules, such as they are, work to his disadvantage, and while this is not the same thing as being cheated or robbed, it is fundamentally undemocratic. The rules are, in fact, extremely complex and fundamentally undemocratic. Voters across the country are learning that the votes they cast in their state primaries or caucuses are really just an opening bid, which the delegates, chosen at a later time, in district or state conventions, do not necessarily have to honor.
In Colorado, Mr. Trump came out of the process with none of the 34 delegates selected at the convention, a fact that does not reflect the front-runner’s support in the state. In Georgia, it is estimated Mr. Trump will receive only 12 to 14 of the 42 district delegates, despite placing first in the state’s primary. . .
It is important to note that nothing is happening in either party that is against the rules, but the rules themselves stink to high heaven. They allow a clever operator—such as Mr. Trump’s chief rival, Ted Cruz—to come in after voters have made their choices and lay claim to more delegates than he or she earned among the actual vote tally.
The Daily Caller called the systems “totally bonkers.”
Here’s six of the weirdest quirks about the Republican nomination process,
1. The Republican primary process allocates delegates by states, but not in proportion to population. . . every state also has a minimum of 16 delegates, meaning the largest state only has about 10 times the delegates of the smallest state, even though California is over 40 times the size of several small states like Wyoming, Vermont and Delaware. . . The skew can be even greater because states can receive [up to six] bonus delegates for electing Republicans to various offices.
2. In addition to rewarding states that have Republican officeholders, the Republican National Committee also rewards states that voted Republican in the most recent presidential election. . . Wyoming. . .has 29 delegates to the Republican convention. California, the country’s largest state. . .has 172 delegates. In other words, California has only about six times as many delegates as Wyoming, even though California is 70 times the size of Wyoming.
3. Tiny U.S. territories are ridiculously overrepresented. While U.S. territories can’t vote in national elections. . .Sen. Marco Rubio’s biggest delegate win, in fact, came from picking up all 23 of Puerto Rico’s delegates.
4. Slightly over half of all GOP delegates are allocated based on congressional district. . . reducing the power of Republican voters in heavily Republican districts while increasing the power of those in Democratic districts.
5. North Dakota holds a series of party caucuses but instead of choosing presidential candidates, participants solely select delegates to attend the state party convention, . . totally unbound from the first ballot and can vote for whomever they want. [In] Colorado and Wyoming. . .and Illinois. . . a person can state their choice as “uncommitted,” and if elected they will go to the national convention unbound to anybody.
6. [Also in] Wyoming. . .17 of its 29 delegates are. . .picked at a statewide convention [not by the voters].
Let’s look a few more states.
In a handful of states, the processes for selecting delegates are completely divorced from what happens at the ballot box, which is a big part of why the delegate math going into the convention in Cleveland is so difficult to predict. . .
PENNSYLVANIA: The majority of the state’s delegates have nothing to do with the overall statewide vote. . .54 are elected directly [as individuals] on the ballot.
NORTH DAKOTA: Republicans didn’t cast a vote for their preferred presidential candidate at all–and their delegates were chosen by a group of state party officials. . .
COLORADO: GOP voters were able to help elect local-level party leaders but not cast any votes at the presidential level. . .Cruz gained the support of all 34 of Colorado’s delegates, prompting a cry of foul play from the Trump campaign.
Meanwhile, in Arizona. . .
Donald Trump’s Arizona campaign chair on Saturday night accused Republican Party officials here of fixing the vote to favor Ted Cruz and his allies after winning only an estimated dozen of the state’s 58 national delegates.
The billionaire businessman won the March 22 Arizona primary by more than 20 points,
Trump had talked about filing a lawsuit about the Louisiana outcome. While defeating Cruz by 3.6%, Cruz ended up with ten extra delegates. There are many other odd situations in individual states. It was like that all over the map this year. But nobody is talking about that now, so the GOP system will be just as dysfunctional in 2020.
Donald Trump protested, and threatened to sue, because he thought the system was so unfair in so many states. Then, he won. . .and now he doesn’t care about fairness in the next election.
Democrats have at least made a start at reform.