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Definition: Superdelegate

Superdelegates are party officials and elected officeholders from across the country that have an individual vote at their respective party's nominating convention. They include Senators, Congresspeople, governors, former presidents and vice presidents. Other superdelegates are ordinary people who work in state and local party operations.

At the Democratic National convention almost 800 superdelegates will vote with the 3,000 pledged delegates chosen through primaries and caucuses. Because superdelegates control 40 percent of the votes needed to secure the nomination, their existence makes sure the party establishment approves of the nominee. The candidate who wins the most total delegates, committed and super, wins the nomination.

Right now both Democratic campaigns are putting enormous pressure on the superdelegates. According to party rules, the superdelegates are free to vote with their conscience, but many believe it will be undemocratic if they defy the voters' choice and bolster the candidate who did not win the majority of pledged delegates, giving him or her the nomination. Being political creatures, the superdelegates are likely to consider political factors when making their decisions.


Join The Conversation
kscincotta kscincotta 9 years
My major beef with the Superdelegates is that they can be bought without penalty. The SuperD's can be employed by the campaigns, which blows my mind. And moreover, most if not all of the major candidates are superdelegrates. So the fact that them voting for themselves is worth more than an average citizen's vote is just unconscionable.
janneth janneth 9 years
Superdelegates, are you kidding me? This is such a joke. Superdelegates, magical caucuses, flying monkeys, invisibility cloaks, primaries schmiraries, you couldn't make this stuff up. How embarrassing.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
the question is do they have capes? and if they rip thier shirts open will a big old "SD" be printed on a lycra shirt underneath?
bethany21 bethany21 9 years
Our election system is so crazy. Between superdelegates and the electoral college, it's really not so surprising that voter turnout is low.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
So my primary vote will now be in the hands of Wonder Woman? Democracy really is cool!
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