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What are "superdelegate endorsements"--and what's all the fuss about superdelegates?

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Asked by Jennifer Friday Apr 18th 2008 in Homework Help
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"Superdelegates" sounds like some sort of bizarre political superhero--and in a way, that's what superdelegates are. Regular delegates--the garden-variety, non-super kind--are attached to states; states with larger populations get more delegates. They vote as their population does; if a state has ten delegates and a candidate wins 70% of the votes in that state, seven out of ten delegates must cast their vote for that candidate. To win the Democratic Party nomination, a candidate must win at least 2,025 delegate votes from state primaries and caucuses.

Superdelegates, unlike regular delegates, are not required to vote along with the population they represent. They can, or they can "vote their conscience" and cast a vote for a different candidate. They might vote in line with their state's population; vote in line with the country's overall preference; or choose the Democrat with the most pledged delegates already.

Superdelegates are usually high-ranking Democratic Senators, Governors, House members, and former presidents and vice-presidents. This particular type of delegate was created in 1982 in order to keep party outsiders from deciding who the nominee will be; in theory, because non-party-affiliated members can vote in Democratic primaries, Independent Party members, Green Party members, and others could have an effect on who gets the nomination, if it weren't for superdelegates.

In the 2008 election, the race between Clinton and Obama is very close--and superdelegates will have a strong effect on who gets chosen. Many people object to superdelegates because a single person could negate the votes of thousands of constituents by choosing to go against them.

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