Oliver Willis

No Bernie Sanders, That’s Not How Superdelegates Work

Bernie Sanders is not going to be the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. He failed to secure enough delegates to do so – both in the actual process of primary elections and caucuses and in the persuasion game with superdelegates. He has run one of the more robust yet unsuccessful primary campaigns in the history of either party, but he has come up short.

Yet, in an interview with Chuck Todd on Meet The Press, Sanders has refused to acknowledge this objective reality. Instead, he is now arguing that the superdelegates should be persuaded based on polling of head to head matchups showing him performing better against Donald Trump, to award the Democratic nomination to the candidate with less delegates. This has never happened, and it isn’t going to happen. It’s holding out false hope to his supporters, and may even be preying on their ongoing misunderstanding of the delegate selection process.

It’s such a bad argument even the usually oblivious Chuck Todd had to call him on it.

“You’re saying you want them to respect the vote in their state, then at the same time, you say, ‘But oh, by the way, for those of you that are a superdelegate in a state that Clinton won, why don’t you think about the general election?’ It’s a little bit hypocritical to be on both sides of those issues,” Todd said.

“No, no, no, that’s not what I’m saying,” Sanders responded, arguing that the superdelegates have a “grave responsibility” to make sure presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump doesn’t become president.

When the California primary is over, Clinton will be the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party for president. The remaining superdelegates, as they always have, will largely – if not completely – pledge their support to the candidate with the most delegates – Clinton.

Superdelegates flip when a challenger shows that they are viable enough to get more votes than another candidate, as they did in 2008 when they shifted from Clinton to Obama. In the last month or so, the only superdelegates to shift did so from Sanders to Clinton, not the other way around.

The Sanders supporters have also been making the argument that because the actual roll call vote isn’t until the convention, that superdelegates don’t count. Nonsense. Neither party officially makes its nomination until the convention, but the idea that superdelegates are going to shuffle to Sanders over the course of the next two months, away from the candidate with the most votes and delegates is a childish fantasy. Sanders knows this, and he shouldn’t keep fanning the flames of this delusion.

Featured image via Flickr