During an interview with Bloomberg's Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, Kansas City Mayor Sly James talked about, among other things, the Democratic presidential race and his role as a superdelegate. A committed Hillary Clinton supporter, James said it is his obligation to stay loyal to her and make sure other superdelegates who have committed to her do the same.
"I will be doing everything I can to convince other delegates and to make sure superdelegates are holding the line in order to make sure that those who support Hillary Clinton are loyal to that support," James said.
James went on to say that his support for Hillary Clinton is not conditioned on the pledged delegate count. So, even if Sanders found a way to overtake her lead in both pledged delegates and total votes, James said he will remain loyal to his candidate.
"I will remain a superdelegate for Hillary Clinton until she releases me from that obligation," he said.
As reported multiple times on IVN, superdelegates are not bound to the will of voters, and under party rules have no obligation to switch their vote if the pledged delegate count or primary/caucus vote shifts in the favor of another candidate.
James is from a state that was evenly split between Clinton and Sanders, Missouri, and is the mayor of a city that was also pretty well split, so he is under no pressure to shift allegiances. Yet he is not the only superdelegate to say that the will of voters doesn't matter -- even in states that were overwhelmingly won by Sanders.
"Super delegates don't "represent people"; I'm not elected by anyone," former Vermont Governor Howard Dean said in a tweet back in March, responding to a voter who called him out for sticking to Clinton despite Sanders winning the state with over 80 percent of the vote.
Dean is right. Superdelegates are not elected to that position, though several of them are elected officials at all levels of government, including U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, who is also from Vermont and said he will remain committed to Clinton no matter what, and Mayor Sly James.
However, many of the superdelegates who have stated that the will of voters is inconsequential to who they will support at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia make it sound like they were appointed with the explicit purpose of supporting Clinton. James said he will support her until she releases him of that obligation, making it sound like Clinton herself appointed him.
In some ways, this is partially true, since Clinton has spent the last 8 years building a superdelegate base that will remain loyal to her to avoid a repeat of 2008.
James said he does not think the process is undemocratic and believes the system is working. He remarked that these rules were established by the party, created by delegates and superdelegates and officials in the party, and as long as it is part of the rules, he is going to stay loyal to his candidate.