Tag Archives: Superdelegates.

Preparing for 2020

While there is still plenty of time left in the 2016 election, discussion has already started about the rules for the 2020 election.  Changes to the delegate selection process tends to be driven by “fixing” what the party sees as the problem in the last election cycle.  For example, a lot of the changes on the Republican side (e.g., the binding rules, penalties for states violating the rules) were driven by what the party leadership thought went wrong in 2012 — Ron Paul doing better at state conventions than he did on caucus nights, states violating the timing and proportionality rules.

The two parties are at different stages of the process for modifying the procedures for 2020.  For the Republicans, the process for convening the next convention is part of the party rules .  Normally, the rules can only be amended at the convention.  In 2012, the convention granted limited “one time only” authority to the Republican National Committee to change the process.  Given the difficulty of making changes on the fly during a convention, it is likely that the Republicans might give the RNC this power again.  For the Democrats, the actual drafting of the rules for the next convention is done by the Democratic National Committee after the convention.  Typically, the most that has happened during the nomination process is an agreement to have a study commission to look at revisions to the rules.

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Super Delegates 2016 — The Arguments

The two parties take very different approaches to the election of pledged delegates.  In the Republican Party, the influence of winner-take-all states and winner-take-most states allows a front runner to win the nomination while only getting a plurality of the vote.  In the Democratic Party, the fact that 14% of the delegates (officially unpledged party leader and elected officials, unofficially superdelegates) go to the convention as unpledged delegates and the pledged delegates are allocated proportionately, make it hard for even a clear front-runner with a majority of the votes to win enough pledged delegates unless the other candidates suspend their campaigns.   As a result, for the second competitive cycle in a row, both candidates need the support of at least some of the super delegates to win the nomination.

There are a lot of different arguments for what superdelegates should consider in making their decision.  The problem for Bernie Sanders and his supporters is that almost every argument favors Hillary Clinton.

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