Party bosses monitored

With the increasing possibility that unelected delegates to the Democratic National Convention could throw the presidential nomination to the candidate who lost in the primary/caucus process, activists are trying to more closely track the actions of the unelected delegates, known informally as superdelegates ("How super?” RN&R, Jan. 31).

The Superdelegate Transparency Project has been formed to monitor the activities of the superdelegates, and DemConWatch is also closely following their activities. The unelected delegates are mainly Democratic Party officials and elected government officials (governors, state legislators, etc.).

Meanwhile, as word has spread this year among the public of the existence of the superdelegates and their function, the party has experienced heavy negative publicity and there is growing agitation to get rid of the unelected delegates, sentiment that has been fueled by news from the Center for Responsive Politics that the superdelegates have been taking money from candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton—$890,000 over the last three years.

The liberal blogosphere that the party has done so much to cultivate is a hotbed of support for putting an end to superdelegates, with articles like “Superdelegates versus voters,” and “An abomination to democracy” popping up. Former Clinton aide Paul Begala said, “They [unelected delegates] should be abolished, and I predict they will be. Anything that can’t be easily explained shouldn’t be continued.”

Some of the unelected delegates themselves are skeptical about the superdelegate process. Unelected Nevada delegate Steven Horsford told the Las Vegas Sun, “I think that the majority of the delegates—those that are representative of voters of states—should decide who the nominee is.” Superdelegate Donna Brazile, a former Clinton operative, has said she will leave the party if the unelected delegates decide the nominee. Former Democratic national chair Joe Andrew and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. have made similar comments.

The current tally of Nevada’s eight unelected delegates is Clinton 2, Obama 2, and uncommitted 4. One of the eight, Yvonne Atkinson Gates, has been claiming she is not a Nevada superdelegate, but a national one, whatever that means. Jill Derby, who got out of the hot spot of being a superdelegate when she resigned as Democratic state chair to run for the U.S. House, has been replaced both as chair and as superdelegate by first vice chair Sam Lieberman. That’s a wash, since Lieberman when he was first vice chair was also a superdelegate and both are uncommitted. Second vice chair Teresa Benitez-Thompson, an Obama supporter, moved up to first vice chair and took over Lieberman’s former slot as a superdelegate.