In talking about the Super Tuesday returns, a friend of mine remarked that she was a little irritated by the whole superdelegate concept. She thought it would be kind of offensive to her as a voter if Clinton won the nomination based on the party establishment rather than the voters themselves.
Just after we had that conversation, CNN put up delegate estimates for both sides based on their current projections. For the Dems, Hilary was running about 279 to Barack’s 210. But when you looked at the breakdown, Barack had about 100 regulars and 100 supers; Hilary had 86 regulars and nearly 200 supers. Based on that estimate, she seems to have captivated the political establishment much more than the electorate. Perhaps the idea of change isn’t so attractive to people who are benefitting quite nicely from business as usual?
Interestingly, on the Republican side, the unpledged delegates (their superdelegate equivalent) don’t seem to be nearly as much of a factor … McCain’s current projected lead is based on popular vote delegates, although the winner-take-all system is in play there. I also still can’t quite figure out why the Democrats have nearly twice the number of delegates as the Republicans, or how they are calculated/assigned.
Just now, I found another blog with a nice discussion of this topic. It doesn’t clear up my confusion, but it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who’s confused.