Sunday, July 24, 2016

Super Delegates are a Good Idea. The Republicans Wish They Had Had Some This Time.

Political parties in a democratic society do not themselves have to be democratic.

There is no contradiction in this claim.  The party is a private membership organization designed to win elections and pass legislation.  Anyone can join.  But only those who have joined have a legitimate claim to voice in its choices, especially of candidates.  And the wise leaders of that private organization sometimes need to overrule the choice of many voters if that choice would lose elections or make it impossible to pass legislation.

Democrats learned this the hard way in 1972.

Republicans have been so establishment-driven for, well, forever, that it never occurred to them than an insurgent could come in from outside the party to take over their under-protected candidate-selection procedure.

The same thing might have happened to Democrats this year, but the wise and timely invention of super-delegates kept a non-Democrat from seriously threatening to take the party's nomination.


Mac said...

It seems to me that the problem is not "super delegates'; it is the "binding primary." The Democrats created the super-delegate after George McGovern won enough primaries to easily knock really viable candidates, such as Scoop Jackson or Ed Muskie, out of the race. As the real, knowledgeable Party leaders expected, McGovern was trounced in the general election. As a result, the Democrats retreated from putting too much trust in the people. As a result of choices made in 1972, Bernie Sanders never had a chance because so many of the super-delegates were pledged to her before the primaries even began.

I suggest that, because there is no Constitutional restriction on how candidates are nominated for the presidency, it might be better for the parties to make the primaries advisory only, and make them all closed primaries. Even better, abandon primaries altogether and return to the days when the leaders of the parties chose the nominees. That system produced some pretty fine candidates. Compared to the two weevils we get to choose from this year.

Barry said...

Much of the problem of extreme fringe candidates being considered or selected can be traced to the extremely low voter turnout in the primaries. When the participation is in the 25-35% level, it gives overweight consideration to the views of the extreme members of a party who are the most likely to vote to either express their views or to make a statement. In the county in Kentucky in which I vote, Trump and Cruz got 81% of the republican vote. However, the turnout was only 30%