Why Does Dean Have More Delegates If Kerry Won Iowa and NH?Roundup: Media's Take
Brendan I. Koerner, writing in Slate (Jan. 28, 2004):
Despite winning both the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary, John Kerry trails Howard Dean on the delegate scorecard . How can Kerry have fewer delegates than the man he's twice trounced at the polls?
The discrepancy is due to the early whims of some unpledged delegates, colloquially known as superdelegates. Of the 4,964 delegates who will attend the Democratic convention in Boston this July, the majority are obliged to support specific candidates in accordance with how their respective states voted during primary season. But there are 801 delegates who won't be bound by such customs. These superdelegates—typically congressmen, party leaders, and other political bigwigs—can support whomever they please at the convention. The delegate scorecard so far, then, takes into account that just more than a quarter of the superdelegates have already expressed a public preference for one candidate or another, and Dean has been the more popular choice than Kerry among this elite.
The Democratic National Committee created superdelegates as part of a 1982 overhaul of convention rules. In response to the furor at the 1968 convention, where street protestors railed against the rarefied nature of politics as usual, the party had opted to turn the nominating process entirely over to delegates picked in the primaries and caucuses, rather than giving party elders a backroom say. But after dark horses George McGovern and Jimmy Carter won their respective nominations, party leaders worried that the populist approach encouraged"insurgent" candidates who would tend to lose more often than not—Carter's 1976 triumph notwithstanding. The superdelegates, then, were intended to stabilize the process. As political insiders, they could generally be expected to cast their lot with mainstream candidates favored by the Democratic hierarchy.
comments powered by Disqus
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Newly released interactive map shows images of destroyed monuments of Mosul
- How the Rise of the Post Office Explains American Innovation
- These Americans are reliving history and don’t mind repeating it
- Britain largest home is saved for the nation
- Shelter and the slums: capturing bleak Britain 50 years ago
- WSJ features an article by a conservative calling for the abolition of Black History Month
- Mary Beard, herself a bestselling author, wonders why more women historians aren't
- Princeton U. historian Imani Perry claims mistreatment in parking ticket arrest
- Retired historian George Dennison remains on the payroll at the U. of Montana while faculty are cut
- The Atlantic profiles exciting ways to teach history