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Monday, February 11, 2008

What role for Democratic 'super-delegates'?


Governors, senators, state chairs, and even Bill Clinton get automatic vote

By Tom Curry
National affairs writer
MSNBC
updated 6:58 a.m. ET April 26, 2007



WASHINGTON - It’s called the Democratic Party, but one aspect of the party’s nominating process is at odds with grass-roots democracy.

Voters don’t choose the 842 unpledged “super-delegates” who comprise nearly 40 percent of the number of delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination.

The category includes Democratic governors and members of Congress, former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, former vice president Al Gore, retired congressional leaders such as Dick Gephardt, and all Democratic National Committee members, some of whom are appointed by party chairman Howard Dean.

The Republicans do not have a similar super-delegate system.

These super-delegates don’t have superhuman powers, but unlike rank-and-file Democrats, they do automatically get to cast a vote at the convention to decide who the party’s nominee will be.

Although dubbed “unpledged” in Democratic Party lingo, the super-delegates are free to come out before their state’s primary and pledge to support one of the presidential contenders.

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