I have talked to many Democratic Superdelegates in the last few days and the one thing they all have in common -- they don't want to use their supervote.
To be sure, most everyone believes this year that the remaining primaries should be played out. I certainly do. My friend Donna Brazile recently said that if superdelgates pick the nominee before the primaries are over, she will quit the party. Most people have misquoted this as her saying that if the superdelgates pick a nominee at all, she will quit the party. She didn't say that.
She couldn't say that. Because given how Clinton and Obama are splitting the delegates, the superdelegates must vote to get either candidate to 2,025 -- the magic number for the nomination. Some of the superdelegates have already pledged. But most haven't. And they won't until after the primaries are over. But then there is little choice.
How did we get here? In the early '80s the Democratic electeds didn't want to have to run for their convention slot as a committed delegate like normal people did. So hence the "super" category. These folks -- members of Congress, Governors, State Legislative leaders, party officials -- etc. would get special status. Add to that a bunch of DNC Chairman appointments to assure diversity and repay favors and you have the crowd of superdelegates that exists today.
The last time that superdelgates picked our party's nominee was Walter Mondale over Gary Hart in 1984. That didn't turn out so well. But we didn't change the rules for superdelegates. I guess most people didn't think that Gary Hart would have beaten Ronald Reagan either so the party rules were never blamed.
Which brings me back to my original point. They don't want to vote. Yes they may care about which way their state goes and follow along -- but they are not all electeds. And even those that are electeds have constituencies on both sides. Women's groups, African-Americans, donors, etc. They don't want to upset anyone. Most people don't.
On the other hand, they all want to retain their vaulted superdelegate status. Why? because that status has meant something important in recent elections. It defines who gets the best perks at the party's convention -- extra floor passes, a podium visit, invites to better parties, leadership in the caucus meetings, guest passes to special seating, votes on the self-perpetuating rules, etc.
Oh dear, what is a party VIP to do?
Despite all the threats and pressures from all sides, superdelgates are just going to have to do the ONLY thing being a delegate actually means you MUST do under the rules and that is to VOTE. If we didn't want them to actually have the vote, we shouldn't have given it to them. And if they didn't actually want to have the responsibility of voting, they should relinquish their delegate status and the number of delegates needed for the nomination should be reduced by each resigning superdelgate. And ultimately, just like the rest of the delegates in this primary, every vote counts.
Sorry folks, there doesn't seem to be any way to duck. And that is a superdelegate's dilemma.