Is the party's process of nominating a president undemocratic?
In addition to the process described above, the Democratic Party has a group of people they call "superdelegates" who make up 40 percent of the delegates needed to win the nomination. These individuals are receiving a lot of attention these days. Five months into 2008, the New York Times has used the word "superdelegate" 25 more times than in all of 1984. Why are these individuals suddenly so important?Shortly after the Kentucky primary, Sen. Clinton invoked Robert F. Kennedy's tragic passing in 1968. This caused some uproar from members of the Democratic Party. What follows is her statement as well as that of Bobby Kennedy, Jr.
Although the makeup of superdelegates was never intended to be representative of the general population, a close look portrays an elite group unreflective of the populace. The 2008 superdelegates are members of the Democratic National Committee, governors, members of Congress and a variety of former elected officials. According to our analysis, DNC members make up 54 percent of superdelegates, governors 4 percent, U.S. senators 6 percent, U.S. representatives 30 percent, former party leaders 3 percent, and add-ons 4 percent.[...]
In the end, it is important that voters have a deeper understanding of this odd form of electing leaders. It reveals some disturbing trends about a party that purports to stand for equality and due process. The Democratic Party can do better.
Hillary Clinton:Sen. Clinton, herself, issued an op-ed on why she continues to run.
"Earlier today I was discussing the Democratic primary history and in the course of that discussion mentioned the campaigns that both my husband and Senator Kennedy waged in California in June 1992 and 1968 and I was referencing those to make the point that we have had nomination primary contests that go into June.
That’s a historic fact. The Kennedys have been much on my mind the last days because of Senator Kennedy and I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation, and particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that, whatsoever. My view is that we have to look to the past and to our leaders who have inspired us and give us a lot to live up to, and I’m honored to hold Senator Kennedy’s seat in the United States Senate from the state of New York and have the highest regard for the entire Kennedy family."
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.:
“It is clear from the context that Hillary was invoking a familiar political circumstance in order to support her decision to stay in the race through June. I have heard her make this reference before, also citing her husband's 1992 race, both of which were hard fought through June. I understand how highly charged the atmosphere is, but I think it is a mistake for people to take offense.”
Hillary: Why I continue to run
By Hillary Clinton
This past Friday, during a meeting with a newspaper editorial board, I was asked about whether I was going to continue in the presidential race.
I made clear that I was - and that I thought the urgency to end the 2008 primary process was unprecedented. I pointed out, as I have before, that both my husband's primary campaign, and Sen. Robert Kennedy's, had continued into June.
Almost immediately, some took my comments entirely out of context and interpreted them to mean something completely different - and completely unthinkable.
I want to set the record straight: I was making the simple point that given our history, the length of this year's primary contest is nothing unusual. Both the executive editor of the newspaper where I made the remarks, and Sen. Kennedy's son, Bobby Kennedy Jr., put out statements confirming that this was the clear meaning of my remarks. Bobby stated, "I understand how highly charged the atmosphere is, but I think it is a mistake for people to take offense."
I realize that any reference to that traumatic moment for our nation can be deeply painful - particularly for members of the Kennedy family, who have been in my heart and prayers over this past week. And I expressed regret right away for any pain I caused.
But I was deeply dismayed and disturbed that my comment would be construed in a way that flies in the face of everything I stand for - and everything I am fighting for in this election.
And today, I would like to more fully answer the question I was asked: Why do I continue to run, even in the face of calls from pundits and politicians for me to leave this race?
I am running because I still believe I can win on the merits. Because, with our economy in crisis, our nation at war, the stakes have never been higher - and the need for real leadership has never been greater - and I believe I can provide that leadership.
I am not unaware of the challenges or the odds of my securing the nomination - but this race remains extraordinarily close, and hundreds of thousands of people in upcoming primaries are still waiting to vote. As I have said so many times over the course of this primary, if Sen. Obama wins the nomination, I will support him and work my heart out for him against John McCain. But that has not happened yet.
I am running because I believe staying in this race will help unite the Democratic Party. I believe that if Sen. Obama and I both make our case - and all Democrats have the chance to make their voices heard - in the end, everyone will be more likely to rally around the nominee.