The DNC, Superdelegates, and a Case of Curious Criticism

For those who follow the almost mechanical operations of party politics, you’ve likely heard that the Democratic National Committee revised its stance in a particularly pivotal way. It substantially curbed the power of the increasingly-maligned group of individuals known as “superdelegates”.

If you’re prone to casting a keen eye toward presidential primaries, you’ve probably found yourself almost memorizing delegate counts on numerous occasions. Frequently running the arithmetic after each hard-fought primary stanza. Undoubtedly, you’ve also thought that while plain-old pledged delegates are nice, it’s the unbound powerbrokers known as superdelegates that really make-or-break a candidate.

In lamenting this fairly radical change, Donna Brazile—former DNC chair and current superdelegate—opined,

I’ve had my wings clipped, my cape ripped, and my super powers stripped. My irresistible Kung Fu grip on the Democratic Party is being pried loose by well-meaning citizens who may yet endanger the very fountainhead of their freedom.

You see, since time immemorial, we superdelegates have stood as the guardians and protectors of the secret machinations of the Democratic Party, keeping it safe from outsiders and agitators. We were ever watchful, always ready to spring into action should unorthodoxy raise its ugly head.

But now, a simple Democratic National Committee vote has effectively left us neutered  — stripped of our awesome powers, left helpless and weak like Superman zonked by kryptonite, Batman without his utility belt, or a hammerless Thor.

Let’s be very clear, whether the DNC’s new policy is wise or unwise, the groundswell which spawned this change wasn’t without cause. In fact, a number of Democratic voters suspected that the DNC played a large part in lifting its chosen candidates to primary victory, a suspicion Brazile confirmed not only in word, but in deed as well (lest we forget she leaked debate questions to the Clinton campaign in 2016 primary).

So let’s not stand on hollow virtue here. The reality is that without demonstrable misdeeds, the powers of Democratic superdelegates would have remained unchanged. And while some may claim that superdelegates kept the party safe from the corrupting influence of “outsiders and agitators”, very clearly, a plurality believed that the fox may have already been in the henhouse.