Monday, February 11, 2008

Adventures in Futility, Which I'm Hoping Will Turn Into Adventures in Effectiveness

Did you know that there's really no way to explain to an eight-year-old why superdelegates matter? Or why they probably shouldn't matter in the way that they do? Probably you understand this, and have not tried to launch into an explanation before 7am. You are smarter than me, obviously. Or perhaps you drink caffeinated coffee before you officially start your day.

This morning Jack told me that he saw on the news that my candidate is losing, and I said, "Say what? He's totally winning! Where do you get your information, kid?" Turns out he saw a delegate count chart, one that includes superdelegates, so it does indeed appear that my candidate is losing. But he's not! No, really! He has earned more delegates, so therefore HE'S THE WINNER. OBAMA FTW!!!!!! But Jack had seen that dumb chart, and there was no explaining it away. Dang eight-year-olds and their concrete reasoning.

In my opinion, using superdelegates to win is cheating, and I'll be hoppin' mad if Hillary gets the nomination if Barack has earned more delegates. (I'll admit I wouldn't be quite so hoppin' mad if it is the other way around, but I will think it is wrong and that we should do something about it.) Our political system is flawed in many ways, the most obvious being that the people can speak via popular vote, yet still have the other guy (or in this case, girl) "win." It's not really winning if you have to cheat to get there, now is it?

I suppose you could argue that the rules are what they are, that superdelegates and the freaking electoral college are part of those rules, so winning by those means is not cheating. However, if you argue that way, I will think you are wrong, just as I will think you are wrong if you think it's okay to do your high dollar friends a lot of favors when you're in office as opposed to giving things to those who truly deserve them and truly representing the will of the people. There are a lot of things that are done in politics and government that are simply unjust and downright immoral.

I'm an idealist. I can't help it.

If you're with me on this, you can do your part by e-mailing superdelegates to let them know that you favor the candidate who has the popular vote being the candidate to be nominated. Of course I don't expect you to write to every single one, but if we all write to some, then we can make our voices heard. Here is a list of superdelegates who already endorse a candidate, and here is a list of those who have not yet made an endorsement. You can find an e-mail directory for Congress here. That makes it pretty simple, right? Should I be giving a sample letter?


Dear Congressperson (fill in their name, duh),

I believe that the will of the people should count above all else when it comes to deciding who represents me in government. I hope that as you consider your choice for the Democratic nomination, you will pay attention to the voice of the people. We have voiced our support by voting, and we hope you will hear our voices and cast your vote as a superdelegate accordingly.

I appreciate your time and consideration in this matter.

(fill in your name here, duh)
(also city and state of residence could be handy)

Spread the word if you're so inclined.

(This applies only to the Dems, by the way. Republicans have what they call "unpledged delegates," but there are only 123 of those. If you'd like to e-mail them, be my guest, I'm just too lazy to provide the links for everything, plus the Democrat superdelegates are definitely more of an issue in this race than the Republican unpledged delegates are.)

Edited to add: Chris (down there in the comments) mentioned that the Obama campaign is asking people not to flood the superdelegates with e-mails, as it could do more harm than good. So I'm not proposing that if you agree with me that you take a different position, but perhaps we should at least hold our e-mails until after the convention so as to make it a more neutral issue as opposed to an issue that it may appear is solely for the purpose of getting one person elected. That wasn't what I was suggesting, by the way, that we should do it just to get our particular candidate elected, and I suppose I could have been more clear. I was suggesting that the people who are supposed to represent us should actually be representing us as opposed to doing favors for either candidate, whether it be Hillary or Obama. Regardless of whether I am holding back from sending e-mails now or not, I still find it to be incredibly frustrating that it could be more harmful than helpful to ask superdelegates, in particular those who are members of Congress, to listen to the voices of the very people they are elected to represent.


Anonymous said...

Hey. I don't have the link with me, but it was posted on Daily Kos if you ever read there. I could find it if you really wanna see. I think it was Obama's online campaign manager who sent out a missive a week or so ago for people to PLEASE not swamp superdelegates with e-mail about who they are supporting...that it could do more harm than good and that they do indeed have a plan for reeling the superdelegates in. Thought you might want to know I had totally planned to e-mail all my reps and senators until I saw that.

Actually, here is the e-mail posted on the Daily Kos message boards where people were organzing the calling of reps. This is from Chris Hughes, director of on-line campaigning for Obama:

Atlanta for Obama,

Congratulations on a HUGE win last night. You all should be very, very proud of yourselves.

If I may make one comment on superdelegates. We're all very committed to seeing Barack Obama become the nominee of the Democratic party. Every one of us wants to contribute to make that dream a reality.

When it comes to winning the support of superdelegates, the best strategy is not to flood them with calls, letters, and emails. Oftentimes that can do more harm than help. The campaign has a very well-developed and focused plan to win over each one of these superdelegates' support. Please refrain from sending additional messages directly.

What you can do that would be inordinately helpful to the campaign is get on the phone and start reaching out to undecided voters in the upcoming states of Louisiana and Washington. You can phonebank directly from your own home:

Thank you so much for your support and understanding!


Anonymous said...

The superdelegate thing is super frustrating. After Super Tuesday a lot of people started to organize to e-mail their representatives, senators and govenors to insist they follow the will of the people in their district. I guess the whole idea behind superdelegates though is they are suppose to be 'independent' of the popular vote (whatever). If people start insisting though that the representatives (superdelegates) of their districts vote as the people in their district do...then Hillary can say "well I won Massachusettes, so thank you for giving me the support of Kennedy and Kerry". Anyway, it's just so dumb that they include thet superdelegates in the delegate totals since they can change their minds at any time. And lots of stories are starting to surface now that that is exactly what will be happening if Obama can win either Texas or Ohio. So hope he wins all three today...then either Texas or Ohio and the superdelegate thing should never be a factor because from here on out he's going to be closing that superdelegate gap. If you really want to spread the word about something...point out everywhere you can that Obama was in the Senate all day today voting on the FISA bill and all it's amendements when he could have easily skipped it and been out campaigning. Who do you think was MIA for all these votes? Hillary. Campaigning in Texas.