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WATCH: Do DC Lobbyists Have A Bigger Vote Than You?

Author: Ben Swann
Created: 23 March, 2016
Updated: 16 October, 2022
2 min read
Reality Check: Dem Super-delegates Include Registered Lobbyists!Reality Check: Dem Super-delegates Include Registered Lobbyists!Posted by Ben Swann on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A week ago I told you about the Democratic Party’s superdelegate problem. And that problem may be worse than we first thought.

Could registered lobbyists have a bigger vote in the process than you do?

This is a Reality Check you won’t see anywhere else.

Hillary Clinton continues to hold a delegate lead in her race for the Democratic nomination against Sen. Bernie Sanders. After Super Tuesday, the pledged delegates look like this: Clinton has 1,139 and Sanders has 825.

But as I’ve shown you, when you add in the superdelegates to the mix, the numbers change dramatically. Clinton, in that case, has 1,606 delegates and Sanders only has 851.

There are a total of 717 superdelegates. They make up about a third of all the 2,383 delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination.

Superdelegates are not bound to the will of any voters. They vote according to their own personal preference. The idea is to protect the party from grassroots activists.

And if you don’t believe that, then listen to what the Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasermann Schultz told CNN’s Jake Tapper about superdelegates (also called unpledged delegates):

“…unpledged delegates exist to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists…”

So again, there are 717 superdelegates in total. Like democratic governors, members of Congress, and well-connected democratic state legislators, 463 of those superdelegates are not former or current elected officials. Many of them are party insiders who have spent years working for the party and making large donations.

But it turns out that an analysis by ABC News has found that 67 of those superdelegates—nearly 10 percent—are actually former or current lobbyists. And:

“41 lobbyist superdelegates—almost six in 10 of all lobbyist superdelegates—have already committed to supporting Clinton. A third haven’t yet revealed a preference. Two have stated that they are supporting Bernie Sanders.”

So what you need to know is that the Democratic Party is trying to play down the lobbyist influence, saying that 85 percent of all delegates are selected by the will of the voters. The real question is, why allow even one lobbyist to have a say? Because the truth is, politics is dirty. Politics is about money and power and influence. But another truth—today is a new day and generations of voters are fed up with the same old politics. They want to remake politics in America, and clearly that means remaking our current party system.

Editor's note: This segment of Ben Swann's "Reality Check" was transcribed on Truth in Media on March 23, 2016.