Superdelegates showered with campaign cash – Updated

This whole notion of the Democratic “superdelegate” could become a serious factor in the campaign should the delegate count continue to be so close. Both Obama and Clinton have been courting the superdelegates, story from Political Intelligence:

Many of the superdelegates who could well decide the Democratic presidential nominee have already been plied with campaign contributions by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a new study shows.

“While it would be unseemly for the candidates to hand out thousands of dollars to primary voters, or to the delegates pledged to represent the will of those voters, elected officials serving as superdelegates have received about $890,000 from Obama and Clinton in the form of campaign contributions over the last three years,” the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics reported today.

About half the 800 superdelegates — elected officials, party leaders, and others — have committed to either Clinton or Obama, though they can change their minds until the convention.

Obama’s political action committee has doled out more than $694,000 to superdelegates since 2005, the study found, and of the 81 who had announced their support for Obama, 34 had received donations totaling $228,000.

Clinton’s political action committee has distributed about $195,000 to superdelegates, and only 13 of the 109 who had announced for her have received money, totaling about $95,000.

A video report on the superdelegates:

That’s serious money floating around, and what’s more, citizens have nothing to do with that part of the election. The whole concept of a superdelagate seems like an oxymoron to me, none of them are elected by actual voters, they just basically get to swing the election for the candidate they see fit.

Apparently, from what I gather, the concept of a superdelegate was born out of the concern that Democratic Party activists would steer the party away from the mainstream. If that were to be the case, the superdelegares could steer it back to middle ground in some respect.

However, I am sort of seeing the superdelegates stack up as an affront to the democratic process. I’m sure someone else, like Michael, will shed some light on this and expand upon my sentiments. Is it me or does the concept of a “superdelegate” seem un-Democratic?

Update:

This story from The Politico is interesting, it points out that despite the fact that the two leading Democratic candidates are an African-American and a woman, the power in the party is still held primarily by white males:

In an ironic twist to the historic Democratic nominating contest between an African-American and a woman, the balance of power may be held by a more familiar face: the white male.

According to a Politico analysis, close to half of the 700-plus Democratic superdelegates who could end up determining the party nominee are white men.

One Obama superdelegate, a House member, had sharp criticism for the superdelegate racial and gender makeup, a reaction that reflects the sensitivities surrounding the issue.

“It’s still the old guard, the white men. They always want to control the outcome,” the superdelegate said. “But this time, they won’t be able to do it.”

The exact percentage of white males varies slightly depending on whether the penalized Michigan and Florida delegation superdelegates are counted, but the overall percentage is at least 46 percent. Overall, men of all races represent 64 percent of the party’s superdelegates.

Kind of flies in the face of the diversity the Democratic Party is supposed to stand for doesn’t it seem? I mean, people have been accusing the Republicans as being the “white male” club but perhaps that sword cuts both ways in terms of party power.

  • Tahler

    Wow that’s a lot of money the Obama campaign has showered on the super delegates. UGH!!

  • ML

    Quote:
    Kind of flies in the face of the diversity the Democratic Party is supposed to stand for doesn’t it seem? I mean, people have been accusing the Republicans as being the “white male” club but perhaps that sword cuts both ways in terms of party power.

    Let’s look at the race and gender ratios within the Republican party for comparison before we call people hypocrites. Any women or blacks in powerful positions there? No one’s denying we still need better representation of minorities in all levels of politics, government, and many other arenas of our society. But who has taken more steps to do that, Republicans or Democrats? Pretty obvious to me.

  • ML, did I use the word hypocrite? No, you did. All I was doing was raising a point that perhaps people should just look at reality before they try and label one party as the “white” party and the other as “diverse”. I’m just reporting what the facts are in regard to superdelegates in the Democratic Party.

    Furthermore, if you’re going to argue which party has done more to better represent minorities in government, consider the fact that the current Bush administration has appointed more minorities to senior cabinet positions than the Clinton administration. I’m not taking a side, I’m just pointing out facts.

    Taken in the context of the Superdelegates, it just illustrates how things on the surface, such as the Democratic Party being led by diversity, may not always be the case since the white male super delegates hold most of the power.

    I’m not arguing about it, those are just facts. Does it mean the Democratic Party and it’s members are hypocritical? No, I never said that, you did ML. Don’t let the facts be construed as my opinion. Take them as you will, but don’t accuse me calling someone a hypocrite when I never did.

  • ML

    It was implied. Reporting the “facts” would be reporting that the vast majority of Democratic superdelegates are white men, and leaving it at that. And reporting the facts fairly would mean reporting that the vast majority of Republican elites, likely even moreso than the Democrats, are also white men. But if you had included that, it would have undermined your point that the large number of white men in the Democratic elite “flies in the face of the diversity the Democratic Party is supposed to stand for.”

    This is my point: it definitely sucks that we are still struggling for equal representation of minorities in positions of power, even seemingly among the people who champion the idea. It’s a problem our country has. But let’s not kid ourselves — the Democrats are the ONLY party that gives a shit about that. What policies or legislation have modern conservatives ever passed to EXPLICITLY aid in minority representation? Has that EVER been a priority for them in any capacity?

    I’m not saying that all Republicans are racist, sexist, what have you. The ones I know — 20-somethings of the next generation — decidedly are not. I don’t know about the GOP elite, but if they do consider discrimation a problem in this country, they hide it pretty well or don’t put their money where their mouth is. The Democrats, historically, do — despite the fact that they are run by a lot of white men.

    So, yeah, you could ignore the fact that Democrats have a long history of trying to push through pro-minority legislation, and you could ignore the fact that the GOP is whiter than the DNC from top to bottom, and just focus on this one little skewed piece of information to draw a negative generalization. (How Clintonian.) But that’s not reporting facts, that’s reporting your opinion based on this one out-of-context statistic — and that means I have every right to argue with it.

    Despite the right-leanings of this blog (which I wouldn’t mind in themselves if you wouldn’t pawn them off as neutral viewpoints), I really appreciate the work you all put into it. I wouldn’t be able to watch the debates without it, so thanks. I mean it.

  • ML

    Forgot to add in re: the Bush Administration. Yes, there have been minorities appointed in very powerful positions in this Administration, and they clearly aren’t token, which is commendable and heartening. There’s no arguing with that, and I wouldn’t want to — I think it’s a wholly good thing. But the Democrats have an African-American and a woman as their two presidential candidates, so in that narrow respect I’d call us even. 😉

  • Thank you for the compliments on the site, I appreciate your readership. I will continue to archive the debates as they’re a great resource of information.

    However, I still take offense to the fact that you’re accusing this story of bias when all I have done is report what the facts are.

    This statement is true:

    Kind of flies in the face of the diversity the Democratic Party is supposed to stand for doesn’t it seem? I mean, people have been accusing the Republicans as being the “white male” club but perhaps that sword cuts both ways in terms of party power.

    That is why I said the “sword cuts both ways”. In the sense that, many accuse the GOP of being controlled by white males but below the surface, the Democratic Party seems to have a similar power structure. In fact, many from within the Democratic Party have said the same thing, like the man mentioned in the Politico article:

    One Obama superdelegate, a House member, had sharp criticism for the superdelegate racial and gender makeup, a reaction that reflects the sensitivities surrounding the issue.

    “It’s still the old guard, the white men. They always want to control the outcome,” the superdelegate said. “But this time, they won’t be able to do it.”

    Is that Obama supporter being bias as well? Will you call him right-leaning because he expressed those sentiments first? That is where I drew my conclusion from, the fact that you have people like this within the party who see the same thing, that’s all.

    Don’t take offense to it or accuse me of bias simply because I reported it.