Stop the Undemocratic Use of Superdelegates

Target: Amy Dacey, CEO of the Democratic National Committee

Goal: Require that the Democratic Party’s nominee for the presidency be chosen using a truly democratic process.

Superdelegates are participants in the national Democratic Party Convention who are invested with the power to vote for a presidential candidate, without any requirement that they respect the will of primary voters. Superdelegates are party leaders and high-ranking elected officials, governors, senators and congressmen, and tend to align with establishment politics. Inclined to serve the party elite, they do not necessarily reflect the will of the citizenry. They are designated by a national political party’s leadership, not by popular vote. They may support any candidate and are not obligated to support those chosen by voters. They can change their endorsements and conceal their choices.

The use of superdelegates was established to prevent an insurgent candidate from winning a nomination yet going on to lose a general election. Each presidential election has a different aggregate of candidates and possible outcomes. The electability of a candidate is contingent on factors such as potential opponents and issues facing the country. Currently, the Democratic candidate most electable against a likely opponent is debatable. The original purpose of superdelegates may not be applicable in every election.

In the New Hampshire primary, Bernie Sanders won the popular vote over Hillary Clinton, 60 to 38 percent, yet the superdelegates favored Clinton; thus, delegates were divided between them evenly. Six months before voting began, Clinton’s campaign claimed to have accumulated pledges from over half of the 712 superdelegates. This could result in a fixed outcome for Clinton. A candidate could win the most popular and delegate votes and still lose the nomination due to the party insider bias of superdelegates.

The use of superdelegates undermines the democratic process and maintains the status quo. Seven hundred and twelve Democratic superdelegates control 15 percent of the nomination process and disproportionately impact election outcomes. The effect is an uneven playing field. It works against insurgent candidates, even when they have the support of the majority of voters, and favors moneyed insiders, ensuring their hold on power. The institution needs to be replaced with practices that reflect the dynamics of today’s issues. The elections should be decided by the people’s votes, not by back room deals.


Dear Ms. Dacey:

Superdelegates tend to align with the party establishment and may not reflect the will of the citizenry. Their use in presidential primaries sets up an unfair advantage for party insiders even when voters choose alternative candidates. Their impact has an overwhelming influence and skews election results.

Bernie Sanders is winning large numbers of popular votes, often more than Hillary Clinton, yet delegates are being divided between them and skewing results. Undermining the democratic process this way diminishes voter morale and leads to lower voter turn out. This means election results reflect establishment bias rather than the popular vote.

I urge you and the Democratic National Committee to update the presidential primary election process to reflect today’s issues and concerns of the majority of citizens, not only of officials who hold power. Please amend the use of superdelegates and take steps toward the implementation of election processes that honor democracy so that voters participate and the will of the citizenry prevails.


[Your Name Here]

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