The Role of Superdelegates

Steve Benen is concerned that superdelegates are forming state and regional blocs, hoping to wrangle concessions on important issues such as trade from the eventual nominee.  I disagree, and I welcome this development.

He quotes Michelle Cottle, who believes that it is a part of one congresswoman’s “duty as a member of Congress” to look out for their constituents’ interests, whereas “[a]s a superdelegate, she is supposed to worry about the best interests of the party as a whole.”  He continues, “What’s to stop them” from demanding all manner of favors.  “Nothing. That’s why superdelegates shouldn’t exploit their role in the process this way.”

Of course.  That’s why I’m glad that they’re making policy demands, rather than simply demanding patronage like I expected.

Cottle’s separation of congressmen’s duties makes some sense, but being a superdelegate is merely a subset, or a perk, of the role of congressman.  The overall good of the party is certainly a relevant consideration, but it hardly seems out of bounds to seek out some assurances from the nominee they pledge to support.

If politicians, rather than voters, select the nominee, expect legislative-like politics to play some role, with all that entails.  Better for it to be open and about policy than hidden and about jobs for pals.


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