Election 2008

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Superdelegates Could Sway Party Nomination

February 03, 2008 11:31 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
In the race for the Democratic nomination, superdelegates may prove the deciding factor at the party’s national convention.

30-Second Summary

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Superdelegates are different from normal delegates in that they can decide for themselves which candidate to endorse for the nomination. Should they choose, they can ignore the popular vote.

Also called “unpledged delegates,” they are usually high-ranking party members, such as governors, campaign managers and members of Congress.

Because it is the number of delegates in a candidate’s camp—not the number of primaries or caucuses won—that determines who wins the nomination, superdelegates can carry a lot of weight at the party conference.

Newsmagazine The Nation draws parallels between this year’s contest and the race for the 1984 Democratic nomination. Although Gary Hart won six more state primaries and caucuses than opponent Walter Mondale, he lost to Mondale at the conference.

Mondale, vice president during the Carter administration, had the backing of 700 superdelegates.

According to The Nation, candidates who are “more established” have an easier time garnering support from superdelegates.

Out of the 300 superdelegates who have pledged to back a candidate, about two-thirds are voting for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in August, writes The Washington Post.

Headline Link: ‘In Background, a Battle for Superdelegates’

Background: Superdelegates

Opinion & Analysis: ‘Not So Superdelegates’

Reference: ‘2008 Primary Delegate Count’

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