Many perspectives, 1 simple etiquette

From Superdelegates to Brokered Conventions, Both Parties Really Don't Care What Voters Think

Author: Jeff Marston
Created: 18 March, 2016
Updated: 21 November, 2022
2 min read
I’m a life-long Republican who hasn’t yet made up his mind for whom I’m voting for in California’s June presidential primary. I’m also co-chair of the

Independent Voter Project, authors of California’s nonpartisan, top-two primary. IVP is a voter rights organization. People over parties.

So, putting on my Republican voter hat for a moment, I have to admit getting a bit of a kick out of watching both Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and one of her predecessors, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean do a bit of verbal self-destruction on the definition of superdelegates.

To review, a few weeks back, Wasserman Schultz, while being questioned about superdelegates by CNN’s Jake Tapper, stated, “Unpledged (super)delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists…And so we separate out those unpledged delegates to make sure that there isn’t competition between them.”

Dean, despite U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders carrying Vermont with over 86% of the primary vote, has committed his superdelegate vote to Hillary Clinton. He was confronted about this on Twitter:


“How amusing,” the what’s partisan part of me that’s left was saying. Then, just as I was beginning to enjoy this a little, along comes Curly Haugland. Haugland, a Republican National Committeeman from North Dakota and a member of the RNC’s Standing Rules Committee, argues in a letter sent to fellow RNC officials that current party rules allow delegates to this year’s convention to vote for the candidate of their personal preference at all points in the process, including the first round of voting, rather than representing the will of the voters of their states.

“The nominee of the party must receive a majority of the votes of the permanently feted delegates at the convention. That means it doesn’t make any difference what has happened in terms of primary voters, because they don’t count at the convention. It’s only the delegates at the convention whose votes matter,” said Haugland.

Really?! So, let’s see…all of this, in many cases campaign garbage we’ve had to endure from the children in the sandbox, the hundreds of millions of wasted campaign dollars, the hard and dedicated work on behalf of all candidates by their volunteers are considered for naught by the folks that run the Republican Party.

We’ve now heard the same “voters be damned” rhetoric from both parties. Is it any wonder why the movement toward independent voting is so strong?

People over parties.

Image: Curly Haughland (left), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (center), Howard Dean (right).