Wednesday, March 05, 2008


* The Democratic Party chooses its delegates in different ways: through primaries where millions vote -- through caucuses where thousands votes - and it gives a role to elected leaders and other officials in the process as well, each of whom has been chosen by their constituents to represent them. This system has been in place since 1982 -- more than 25 years.

* These elected officials and party leaders are sometimes called "superdelegates". They are more accurately described as "automatic" delegates, because they become delegates by being elected to other office. They have the same vote as every other delegate.

* Because this campaign is currently almost exactly tied, both campaigns are working hard to win the support of the "automatic" delegates.

* You ask what are super delegates suppose to do? Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, says: "Their role is to exercise their best judgement in the interests of the nation and of the Democratic Party."

* Clinton campaign, and the Obama campaign, agree. For example, David Axelrod, Senator Obama's strategist, says: "These are elected officials from across the country and they're supposed to exercise their judgement as to what would be best for the party ... I think they and all the superdelegates should vote according to what they think is best for the party and the country."

* In fact, in several states, like Massachusetts, that Hillary has won, the automatic delegates are supporting the other candidate. They are making their own decision, which is to be respected -- and so should decisions by those who are supporting Hillary!

Senator Evan Bayh