Pia Gallegos

The superdelegate system unfairly reduces the power of voters by giving disproportionate leverage over the presidential nominating process to elite party officials. The superdelegate system, by its very nature, undermines the vital precept of one person, one vote.

Superdelegates consist of members of the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Governors, Democratic Members of Congress and current and former Democratic Presidents, Vice Presidents, and U.S. Congressional leaders. Since the early 1980s, the DNC has enabled these Democratic officials and DNC members to vote at the national convention as “unpledged” delegates with the power to cast a nomination ballot for whichever candidate they wish, regardless of the results of any primaries or caucuses. Superdelegates made up roughly 15 percent of the delegates during the 2016 convention.

The superdelegate system puts at a disadvantage the candidates who lack support from entrenched leadership. It lends itself to manipulation of the pre-primary process, helping to create an appearance of election inevitability. For example, by mid-November 2015 — fully 11 weeks before any state primary or caucus — Hillary Clinton had already gained a commitment of support from more than 50 percent of all superdelegates, 359 out of 712.

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