Numbers Game

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Back in 2008 I voted for Hillary Clinton.  Obama was an unknown to me and, while I found him charismatic, I backed Hillary because she was the Democratic candidate with policies closest to my own.  So I was unhappy, to say the least, when she failed to get the nomination.  It was also the first time that the word “super delegate” made an impression on me.  And it was not a good impression.  I found it offensive that some delegates (quite a lot, actually) could vote any which way they wanted.  When I ran the numbers, I got even angrier.

So, courtesy of Wikipedia and given that I’m dropping the “half-delegates” and neglecting Edwards and his 14-1/2 delegates, here are the numbers from 2008:

Obama got 17,584,692 votes and claimed 1,828 pledged delegates (i.e. delegates elected by the people and required to vote for a specific candidate.)  Clinton got 17,857,501 votes for 1,726 pledged delegates.  That means that 35,442,193 votes equals 3555 pledged delegates, or 9,970 votes per delegate.  Then there’s the super delegates.  Obama got 478 and Clinton got 246 for a total of 724.  If we add them into the mix, then those 35 million votes get watered down to 8,282 votes per delegate.  So, those “super delegates”?  Their votes are worth 8,282 of ours.  Really?  I know some geniuses but I don’t think any of them is 8,282 times smarter than me.  I don’t think they’re 8,282 times smarter than Trump and my opinion of his mental capacity is pretty low.

Which brings me back to Clinton and Sanders.  The current tally is Clinton at 2,204 pledged delegates to Sanders 1,847.  Clinton has 560 super delegates to Sanders 23.  What if those super delegate numbers were reversed?  Clinton, who currently has 55 percent of the popular vote would find herself losing the nomination to Sanders 2,407 to 2,227.  Then again, if the 2008 super delegate numbers were swapped, Clinton would have had the nomination – and probably the presidency – instead of Obama.  Given that Clinton actually won the popular vote back in 2008, you’d think the super delegates would have thrown in with her.  But the Democratic primary process isn’t about democracy, it’s about the DNC holding veto power over the will of the rank and file and back in 2008 they wanted Obama.  Just like they want Clinton now.

I really wish Sanders had gotten the nod, but the prospect of a Trump presidency scares me witless and I’ll back Clinton even though I think she’s second best.  Still,  once she is safely in the White House, there is one thing that needs to happen – the dismantling of the super delegate system.  It is nothing more than poorly disguised ballot stuffing.   It is the DNC shoving the candidate of their choice down our throats – and then using fear to make us vote for them.

We must end this.  As it stands, the Democratic party does not live up to its own name.


Lee Walter as of date of post.