Sunday, February 10, 2008

Super Delegates and their Constituents

As the tight race for the Democratic nomination continues, the specter of a brokered convention looms large. The idea of super delegates deciding the nominee for president leaves many voters who participated in the primary dissatisfied, and their desire to have their voices heard translates into certain expectations of super delegates.

Colorado, the site of the convention, offers a perfect example.

Voters in Colorado made clear their choice for the Democratic nominee: Barack Obama garnered 67% of the vote. But, back before the primary, Congresswoman Diane Degette endorsed Hillary Clinton.

What she does with her super delegate vote, then, will serve as her answer to the question posed by David Sirota, a Denver-based columnist and author:

"Are you more loyal to another politician? Or are you more loyal to the democratic spirit?"

Her answer will have consequences: Channel 2 News in Denver quoted Margit Henderson, an Obama supporter, saying "I've supported Degette for a long time, and I'd like to continue to support her. But this is a make or break situation."

Super delegates who endorsed Obama, like Congressman Ed Perlmutter, have an easy decision in front of them. But those who chose not to endorse either candidate are open to the same scrutiny as Degette. That group includes Governor Bill Ritter, Senator Ken Salazar, and Rep. (and current Senate candidate) Mark Udall.

After such a tremendous turnout in the primaries, it'd be a shame to see an undemocratic process decide the nominee. The voters deserve to have their voices heard -- that's the point of democracy-- and the actions of super delegates across the country will reveal whether or not they agree.

Let's hope those out in Colorado, and elsewhere, do indeed.

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