The media is reporting, accurately, that Bernie Sanders blew Hillary Clinton away in the New Hampshire primaries by a 22 percentage point margin. However, the Hill Newspaper says that where it counts, in the number of delegates, Sanders and Clinton are tied in New Hampshire.
When the votes are finally tabulated, Sanders will likely be awarded 15 of New Hampshire’s Democratic delegates and Clinton, will pick up nine. However, New Hampshire also has six superdelegates, Democratic office holders and insiders, who are free to support anyone they like, regardless of how the popular vote went. All six superdelegates from New Hampshire are in Hillary Clinton’s pocket, bringing her total to 15 as well.
Most people think that the delegates elected in the various primaries and caucuses will choose the candidate for president for a particular party. To be sure, elected delegates make up the bulk of who is going to the Democratic National Convention. But the Democrats also have several hundred superdelegates who also have a say in who gets to be that party’s standard bearer. The theory is that the existence of superdelegates are a check against rank and file Democrats running amok and choosing someone unelectable, for example George McGovern in 1972.
Or, for another example, Bernie Sanders in 2016.
To be sure, no instance had occurred yet when the superdelegates subverted the will of the #Democratic Party rank and file. The closest the Democrats came to appointing rather than electing a candidate occurred in 2008 when then Sen. Barack Obama began to take the nomination away from Clinton. But the Democratic Party establishment decided, correctly, that Obama was the far better candidate than Clinton and threw its support behind him. The rest, as they say, is history.
All this means that Hillary Clinton has a cushion against the elderly socialist from Vermont, puffed up by entitlement-addled youth. The Democratic establishment may decide that Hillary is more electable than Bernie and will deploy the superdelegates accordingly. Such a move has great risks. What if Hillary Clinton is indicted? What if all of the fervent Sanders supporters decide to stay home in disgust with a rigged process? #Election 2016