Super Delegate Situation a Tangled Thicket

796 insiders must walk line between public's wish, party allegiances
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2008 6:23 AM CST
Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., cheer during her speech before the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Richmond, Va., Saturday, Feb. 9, 2008. With public...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have long been courting superdelegates—the 796 Democratic insiders whose votes are becoming ever more critical to their party's nomination—but the situation is rife with potential pitfalls, explains the Washington Post. The idea that the votes of everyday Democrats may not end up deciding their candidate is just the beginning of the problem. The superdelegates—worth the equivalent of two Californias—give extra nominating clout to the party's elected officials.

Many of the superdelegates have clear and strong ties to one candidate, especially the legions of Democrats to whom Bill Clinton (a superdelegate himself) once gave jobs. Then there are financial ties, forged by the campaigns giving their bumper-sticker and voter-list business to companies owned by party insiders. Superdelegates must ultimately balance their own feelings with those of their constituents, not an easy proposition.