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How One State Ended the 'Rigged' Superdelegate System Once and For All


How One State Ended the 'Rigged' Superdelegate System Once and For All

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Frustrated by what they describe as a "rigged" electoral system in the face of Bernie Sanders' overwhelming majority win, Democrats in Maine on Saturday voted to adopt a rule change that will essentially eliminate the power of superdelegates to pick a candidate of their choosing.


We need to totally wipe the slate clean and come up with a new way of selecting nominees for political parties, while also making it fair to any party that can gather a significant percentage (say somewhere around 5%) of voters to be a regular part of the process. I don’t think we need to do away totally with state primaries. However, I do think, despite what Bernie Sanders said the other night, that the caucuses have to go. If anything, they prove that the primaries have been rigged against change, since it’s possible to screw with the election results far easier, which is why Bernie won more caucuses - no computer voting machines involved. Also, “super delegates” need to go. In the Democratic Party currently, one-third of them are effing lobbyists! They have no business deciding nominees.

I’ve probably spent far too much time considering how to fix the system, but I think we need to streamline and equalize the process for every party. Divide the country into 5 regions of 10 states each, throwing in territories where they would help balance the population numbers. Set up a primary schedule that remains fixed for every Presidential cycle, say 10 primaries over a 12 week period, from mid-February to late May, allowing for two “bye” weeks (say Easter week and the NCAA Championship - sorry for the religious bias, I’m an atheist, but Easter is a fact of life in this country). Each primary election consists of a random drawing of one state from each of the five regions (DC gets put into the Mid-Atlantic region, probably at the same time as Maryland). Five states seems to work for “Super” Tuesdays, so the campaigns can deal with that many elections at a time. This way, we won’t have unrepresentative states or regions holding undue influence over the outcome of the overall primaries and the nominees probably won’t be decided until nearly, or, the end of the process.


It grieves me seriously to point this out, but the purpose of the second amendment to the constitution is for exactly such a situation as when the will of the voters is not heeded. When the voice of the population is ignored, then the political process has no value or purpose and the people should take up their guns and rise up against those who would otherwise bend them to do their bidding. The political process was supposed to prevent violent conflict through compromise. Instead as long as there is football, amerikan idol and cooking shows, even though you know you’re just a slave, a resource -of the human kind- to be used, converted and then discarded when of no more value, you’re complacent and have allowed the current situation to get this bad. The fix may well require your blood, or worse: the blood of your children if our current path is allowed to continue apace with Hillary Clinton, or get worse via Donald Trump.

Is anybody willing to fight in this revolution, or do we just go peacefully back into serfdom? Call anyone you know in the upcoming states and beg 'em to vote Bernie.


In 2008 Obama did not have enough pledged delegates to win but many Superdelegates switched from Clinton to him. Basically the superdelegates in the end are going to support the candidate with the most pledged delegates. It is hard to imagine any candidate winning the most pledged delegates by anything but the slimmest margin and far fewer total popular votes who the Superdelegates would not support. Someone like Trump would be the exception. If the Republicans had Superdelegates they could have stopped Trump and probably saved the party from what could be a disaster.


i oppose the state being involved in any way in party candidate selection. No primaries. Parties can select party candidates by any means chosen by the party, but no use of state resources to do so. Parties do not appear anywhere in the Constitution, and should not be supported by the state.

Anyone can qualify for the ballot by meeting basic ballot qualifications: citizenship, residency, age, and a certain threshold of signatures gathered in a certain signature-gathering period. No automatic party appearance on the ballot; parties must qualify their candidates in the same manner as any independent candidate.

All qualified candidates appear on a single ballot, for a single election, no primaries and no runoffs. This requires dropping the “you can only vote for one candidate,” winner-take-all Plurality Voting system that now predominates in the USA. Using Score Voting, every voter expresses their preference for every candidate on the ballot, scoring each one on a scale (such as zero to ten). The candidate with the highest total score, is the candidate with the highest voter preference, is the winner. (The simplest range for score voting, Approval Voting, the scale is zero or one - no or yes - for each candidate. Larger ranges are somewhat more accurate at expressing voter preference, but Approval Voting has better outcomes than Plurality Voting.)

(Instant Runoff Voting / Single Transferable Vote would also complete the election in a single ballot. Under IRV, each voter puts the candidates on the ballot in order of preference. The lowest candidate on the first count is dropped from the tally, those votes going to those voters’ next preferred candidates, in succession until one candidate breaks 50%. Score Voting has fewer potential odd outcomes than IRV; both are far superior to Plurality Voting, at actually expressing “the will of the voters.”)

Among many benefits of such fundamental electoral reform, is the elimination of the duoploy. Under Score Voting, or IRV, there is no “lesser evil” voting; no risk in voting for your actual preferred candidate; and no arguing and recrimination among different voting factions about “wasting your vote” or “a vote for X is actually a vote for Y.” All that is created by the stupid, stupid, stupid Plurality Voting system that predominates in the USA. And it predominates because the duopoly parties love it.

Center for Election Science is who turned me on to Score Voting.


Last night Bernie was ambiguous when asked about superdelegates, he said the present system is not fair, but said there should be a some role for superdelegates. He did not go into particulars.


Do you have a source for this assertion?


If it’s true, it’s true only because of the superdelegate system adding to the total. Obama defeated Clinton in pledged delegates, and if there were no superdelegates, he would have needed no superdelegates to get the majority.


That is what I thought happened also.


Bullshit on your endless apologism for the corrupt Democratic Party.

Obama was a Party insider, perfectly and clearly happy to not challenge the corruption of the Party. Sanders bluntly and persistently calls out the corruption. Corrupt party elites instituted the superdelegate system explicitly to deal with the threat of a populist insurgent candidate like Sanders.


“One nation, under where”…


I understand the desire to avoid state involvement in the primary candidate selection process. The two dominant parties have made the system essentially a duopoly, where any other party has an extremely hard time gaining ballot access. Indeed, I’ve heard that the Libertarians are the only third party that will be on every state’s ballot this Fall. The problem with having no single method of choosing candidates is that it becomes harder for average voters to know when the selection process of their preferred candidate might take place. I have heard nothing from my local media about the Green Party’s nominating process in my state, for instance. It also becomes nearly impossible for an insurgency to take control of a party through the candidate selection process - as Sanders has tried to do this year. I also believe that there are Constitutional issues with some of the proposed alternative voting methods. While I totally agree that the current system is garbage, drastically changing it without amending the Constitution (which has proven to be nearly impossible for the past 25 years or so outside of simple administrative changes) remains a long-term barrier, or so I’ve been led to believe (please correct that belief if I’m wrong). We can work on a lot of things around the margins, like making the Electoral College winner by congressional district-based (as NE and ME do), instead of by-state based; changing the general election day to a three-day holiday weekend (replacing Columbus Day, for instance); and changing the laws so that any winner will have to get at least 50%+1 to win an office, meaning runoffs for a lot of offices.


Most, if not all, people can distinguish from cheating and playing it straight. What vexes the body politic are the waves of lying scoundrels with unjustified titles and gravitas. The best of these dishonest, anti-American tricksters can tell a blatant lie as easily as a truth. Because of US government mainstream propaganda citizens are finding truth, upon which to determine sinister from prophet, is getting more difficult by the day.

Hillery, however, is easy to recognize as a prevaricating fraudster.


In other words, if the Republicans had superdelegates, they could fix the nomination, just like the Democrats, too.


The US needs to get rid of the electoral college. Period. That would eliminate delegates of all kinds. It would allow you to achieve a “one person, one vote” system, a fundamental principle of democracy. The electoral college ignores that principle and denies you your right to vote because you are not voting directly for your candidate. I know of no other democracies and democratic republics in the world that use the electoral college.

We can do more, as genedebs has some good ideas. But the biggest impediment to exercising democracy" in the US is the electoral college.


While it’s true parties were not mentioned in the Constitution, their appearance is only natural and they did come into existence shortly after the formation of the Constitution. But I couldn’t agree more with you that in our present voting process parties are about as undemocratic as any interference can be. It really is insane what the public is presented . “Here, vote for this one or that one.” It shows how real democracy is despised. When it comes to governance the public is seen only as an obstacle. You can look back to the early part of the 20th century, to the beginnings of institutional propaganda. The establishment of the left not only accepted propagandizing the public but felt it was a responsibility to do so, under the reasoning that the common man/woman was incapable of rational decision making. And that hasn’t changed up to the present. With representation like that who needs enemies.

Since we in this country live under the influence of a corporatocracy being kept from exercising the processes needed to be an actual democracy is only natural. John Dewey, an American philosopher in the 19th and 20th century once put it: “Politics (government) is the shadow cast on society by big business”. To concentrate only on the shadow is to miss the big picture. Yet none of this is chiseled in stone. And that’s what Sanders is in effect saying. Trump may be a dangerous wild card with a strong appeal to marginalized and exploited people who see no where to turn for solutions, but what Sanders is doing is truly dangerous for the status quo. Demanding change and offering solutions. Real democratic voting can make a wonderfully dangerous difference.

PS: Good Link


Good for you. This cannot be stressed enough.


Go Maine.


I don’t know why we can’t get rid of Larsen, but I guess the machine likes him. I’ve watched his MO for years. If there is an issue that is so lopsided that his vote will make no difference, he will vote for the people, then send out smarmy letters to the effect of, “Well, I tried.”

  • If the vote is close, he votes for business.
  • I’ve sent him many letters and e-mails critical of his policies and support. For instance, I urged him to support the Iran “deal” and back off on the rhetoric that Iran had a nuclear weapons program, as they do not, and that has been verified by virtually every “intelligence” agency in the world, including MOSSAD.
  • I got back a letter thanking me for my support and that he agreed that Iran must be squeezed tighter and have more sanctions to derail their nuclear weapons program and stop their warring on other states!
  • That’s just one example. I don’t bother anymore, as either his staff is illiterate, or he is. Goebbels would be proud of this damned jerk.
  • The same goes for our other alleged representatives, Murray and Cantwell. What pieces of work they are!
  • I’ll vote Bernie this time, but I won’t vote either Democrat or Republican. I’m tired of sock puppets controlled by the 0.001% and that’s all we get.
  • It is going to take every one of us working during the next four years to see that Bernie can accomplish the change we want. If we don’t back him vigorously, they’ll eat him alive.


Certainly the electoral collage is an undemocratic anachronism that taints the election of the president but I see no connection with it and the issue of delegates which are part of a political party’s nomination process. Perhaps you could explain the linkage?