Huffpost Politics
Jason Linkins Headshot

WSJ Reports: Here Come The 'Add-Ons'

Posted: Updated:

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal reported on some sad news for the nation -- and we're not referring to the death of Dungeons And Dragons creator Gary Gygax (though that is sad!). No: after all that we've learned about how hopelessly convoluted the Democratic primary process is, with its primaries and caucuses and primacaucuses and caucumaries and pledged delegates and state-appointed superdelegates and DNC-insider superdelegates and even people who live in a bunch of foreign countries who get half a vote in the delegate process, there is yet another category of delegates who threaten to turn this SNAFU into a FUBAR.

That's right, they are called, fittingly enough, "add-on delegates," and they promise to rain pain and misery down on this great land of ours.

Add-ons are unpledged delegates who are added on to each state's allocation of superdelegates as a sort of convention party favor. There are 76 add-ons this year, or about as many delegates as those allotted to Idaho, Hawaii and Delaware combined.

According to the Journal, each state gets one of these "add-on" delegates "for every four seats they have on the Democratic National Committee." California has five of these; most states get one or two. The "add-ons" used to explicitly pledge themselves according to the popular vote in the state, but they are free agents now, which means each and every one of them might be promised the job of Attorney General in return for their vote.

Now, right about now, you're probably thinking: "Holy cow! Where did these add-on delegates come from? Did someone dream this idiot idea up at 2:30 in the morning back in 1988 as a way of calming down a distraught Jesse Jackson or something?" And the answer is: YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, MY FRIEND. Democratic strategist Tad Devine, earning an official nomination for understatement of the year 2008, calls the "add-on" delegates "an incredibly convoluted solution to a particular problem." And Devine is the guy who helped to invent the add-ons in the first place.

Most of the add-ons won't be named until each state holds their state convention in a few weeks. And yes, there are state conventions, too. This primary process is bananas.