carter cautious on superdelegate issue

Posted on April 14, 2008


Looks like former President Jimmy Carter is trying to balance on a knife’s edge about the controversial Democratic Party’s superdelegate issue.

He told ABC News “This Week” program that, “I think it would be a very serious mistake for the Democratic Party, if, for instance – I’m not anticipating what’s going to happen with the next contest, I think about a dozen of them – if a candidate had the majority of popular votes, the majority of delegates and a majority of states – all three – were the superdelegates to vote contrary to that, I think it would be very difficult to explain,” Carter added.

At the same time, Carter also defended the superdelegates’ right to vote according to their own will, independent of what voters had decided. “But I think that any superdelegate who wishes to deviate from that opinion should be perfectly free to do so.”

Observing that his hometown of Plains, Georgia, had voted in favor of Obama, Carter said, “But if I decided later on to support Mrs. Clinton, I would feel free to do so.”

Carter also pointed out that Massachusetts voters had given Senator Hillary Clinton the win in the primary election but the state’s two bigwigs, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, are ardent supporters of Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

Given Carter’s status in the Democratic Party, it was probably a good thing that Carter tried to be as fair as possible, avoiding controversy and refraining from endorsing any of the two candidates standing.

But if anyone had the moral authority and would be listened to by anyone in the party, that person would be Carter.

He might not have wanted to rock the boat but he should have spoken on the topic that a lot of card-carrying Democrats might feel strongly about, given the outcome of this year’s primary elections and caucuses — the abolition of the so-called superdelegates in the Democratic Party.

It is an antiquated, undemocratic, and frankly, elitist notion to think that these “wise men and women” would be the ones to swing the nominating process one way or another, not ordinary voters. If the party truly believes in democracy, who won’t they trust the choice of the people? The Republicans do not have superdelegates.

Many might argue that superdelegates could break a tie, but how is it right that party insiders get a bigger say? Some superdelegates might be elected officials themselves, such as governors or senators, but many others got to that position by virtual of their work on the party’s national committee, or their financial contributions. Either way, there are way too many of them (796).

If either of the candidates cannot reach the designated number of pledged delegates, then the one with the higher popular vote/ delegate count ought to win. Superdelegates should not muddy the water. Wish Carter had said that.

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: :: post to facebook