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Based on the opinions of several political pundits, it appears the Democratic presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will go to the fall convention and will be decided by party insiders called superdelegates.
This could potentially be a disaster given the differences of race and gender. There has never been a presidential race like the one we have between Obama and Clinton.
If the election is unfairly decided by party insiders, the base support of the losing candidate would likely be fractured and probably would not have time to fully mend before the November general election.
The best scenario for the Democratic party is for either Obama or Clinton to go into the convention with such a compelling lead in pledged delegates that even the most ardent supporters of the candidate who has the least amount of pledged delegates would be hard pressed to overrule the will of the people by insisting their candidate receive the support of the superdelegates.
The issue of fairness in the 2008 presidential race is on center stage more than it has been at any time in the history of the Democratic Party.
In a just and fair society, it is important to respect the will of the voting majority. American citizens are intelligent enough to elect a president.
History will judge whether the citizens of this nation made the right decision in the selection process.
After some extensive research into the history of the superdelegate rule, it is difficult to fully understand as to why the Democrats decided to institute the superdelegate rule.
It appears many party insiders believed the comprehensive changes initiated by George McGovern in 1968 took too much power away from party insiders. There was a feeling some kind of reform in the election process was needed.
In response, the super delegate rule was instituted after the 1980 election. (Source: Wilkipedia the free encyclopedia)
It has been implied by some political pundits that the 1982/84 super delegate rule was really the Gary Hart/Jesse Jackson rule. It was instituted to control candidates who were not mainstream insider political candidates.
It is interesting to note in 1984 neither Walter Mondale, Gary Hart nor Jesse Jackson had the required 2,025 pledged delegates when they went to the convention.
The superdelegates sided with the established candidate, Walter Mondale, who ran against Ronald Reagan for the presidency. He was soundly defeated in the general election.
The superdelegate rule did not cause that much stir in 1984 because Hart had lost a lot of support because of an illicit relationship with Donna Rice, which was uncovered during the election year, and Jesse Jackson failed to receive enough pledged delegates to make an argument that he deserved the nomination.
But it is interesting to note during Jackson’s second bid for the presidency in 1988, he was the front runner and he eventually won 11 primaries before losing the nomination to Michael Dukakis, who was soundly defeated by George Herbert Bush in the general election.
Based on the latest Democratic delegate information, there are some 3,252 pledged delegates (delegates based on the vote of the people) and 796 superdelegates (delegates who include governors, senators, congressmen and other specified officials).
Combined pledged and super delegates are 4,048.
A candidate needs 2,025 delegates, a little more than half the delegates, to secure the nomination.
I hope the superdelegates will consider the will of the people. The general public is intelligent enough to choose their leaders.
Voting against the will of pledged delegates in this election year will cause major problems for the party and for the image of America.
micheal darby of Supply has master's degrees in divinity and religious education. He is the pastor of New Mount Zion Baptist Church.For more information, visit his Web site at http://bigceousa.org.