The Reason This Superdelegate Chose Bernie Sanders Is More Eye-Opening Than It Should Be
On Monday, Rep. Alan Grayson announced on his blog that he will be casting his superdelegate vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention in July. With Sanders trailing Sec. Hillary Clinton badly in superdelegate pledges, that he got another one on board is news in itself. But what's particularly interesting about Grayson's endorsement is how he made his decision: He polled the people. This flies in the face of the whole superdelegate structure, which exists to provide established party members with extra control over the nomination process; superdelegates, unlike delegates won during Democratic primaries and caucuses, are not required to cast their votes based on the popular vote.
It turns out Grayson is not a fan of the extra sway established party members have over the nomination process (each superdelegate vote expresses the will of one person, whereas a regular delegate vote accounts for thousands of people). In an interview with Ed Schultz, Grayson stated, "the system is rigged." Noting that a candidate could technically win 59 percent of the popular vote but lose the nomination if all superdelegates backed the other candidate, Grayson called the current set-up a "betrayal to democracy." Sure, it's highly unlikely that one candidate would get every single superdelegate vote, but Clinton has amassed pledges from far more supers than Sanders to date. As of Feb. 19, Sanders led Clinton in delegates from state contests 36 to 32, but when supers were added in, Clinton was ahead 483 to 55, the Associated Press reported. (Note: Superdelegates can change their minds at any point up to the convention.)
Grayson called on the public to tell him how to vote in July, setting up a website with a public opinion poll. He was amazed by the virtual turnout, writing, "Almost 400,000 Democrats voted at GraysonPrimary.com. More than the number who voted in the South Carolina primary. More than the number who voted in the New Hampshire primary and the Nevada caucus combined." Sanders garnered 86 percent of the vote, compared to Clinton's 14, Grayson reported on his blog.
Grayson's support may have gone to Sanders anyway. The representative made note of two important things he and Sanders have in common: passing a ton of Amendments in the House to get "so many good things done" and funding their campaigns with small contributions. "Bernie and I are not owned and beholden to the billionaires and the multinational corporations and the lobbyists and the special interests," Grayson wrote.
Still, his gesture of turning to the public for direction on how to vote as a superdelegate is significant at a time when many voters are up in arms about the current electoral process. MoveOn.org will send out several petitions to superdelegates calling on them to follow the people's choice, according to Politico. For his part, Grayson took the initiative on his own, throwing away his VIP-voter status to represent the will of those who voted in his poll.
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