ColorsNW – Superdelegates a lesson in importance of civic engagement

In reading a New York Times story about the pivotal role in the election for superdelegates, I saw this statement:

Superdelegates, created in 1982, were intended to restore some of the power over the nomination process to party insiders, tempering the zeal of party activists. About 15 to 20 percent of the delegates at Democratic conventions are superdelegates.

It struck me that in the same way the role of the Electoral College came as a surprise to many voters in 2000, in 2008 everyone is suddenly aware of the potentially undemocratic nature of the superdelegate system. The superdelegates – more in the Democratic party than the Republicans – can subvert the will of the voters and allow a few elite party insiders to dictate our party’s nominee. So when are we going to learn that we need to pay attention to our electoral process before it’s too late, not after the horse has already left the stable? When are we going to stop listening to the conventional wisdom of pundits and “experts” who tell us things like “Washington’s vote doesn’t matter,” “Clinton is the inevitable candidate and will wrap up the nomination before Super Tuesday” and “White voters will never elect a Black man for president.” Over and over we find the so-called experts wrong. So why don’t we stop listening to them, educate ourselves about how the insiders are trying to shape the process to make sure the zeal of activists is tempered. Isn’t democracy supposed to be about the will and enthusiasm of the people? When did zeal become something that Democrats were supposed to circumvent?

If the Superdelegates end up deciding this election – and even if they don’t – I hope we will finally wake up and realize we all are responsible for making sure our system works for us. If it doesn’t, we should use our voice to make sure it changes.

According to the Seattle Times and a story in today’s paper, our state’s superdelegates are:

Washington’s 17 superdelegates and whom they support

Uncommitted State party Chairman Dwight Pelz, Seattle; Vice Chairwoman Eileen Macoll, Pullman;Democratic National Committee members Ed Cote, Vancouver; Sharon Mast, Bellevue; and David McDonald, Seattle; U.S. Reps. Brian Baird, Vancouver; Rick Larsen, Lake Stevens; and Jim McDermott, Seattle

Clinton King County Executive Ron Sims;

U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell;

U.S. Reps. Jay Inslee, Bainbridge Island, and Norm Dicks, Bremerton; former House Speaker Tom Foley, Washington, D.C.

Obama Democratic National Committee member Pat Notter, Wenatchee; U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, Tacoma; Gov. Christine Gregoire

Source: The Seattle Times

– Naomi Ishisaka, ColorsNW

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