Hard positions have been staked out regarding what the Democratic superdelegates should do if they are mathematically able to determine who wins the nomination for President. Obama supporters argue that if the popular will — presumably such a will that supports Obama, and putting aside for now the question of how clearly it can be ascertained — is overturned by superdelegates, they will leave the party forever. More credibly and more importantly, they argue that the large number of new voters who appear to be energized by the Obama candidacy — young Democrats, independents, etc. — will not come out for Hillary. Clinton supporters argue — here, if not as regards Florida and Michigan — that rules is rules, and that the superdelegates’ untrammeled right to choose the President they prefer cannot be taken away at this late date.
Full disclosure: I’ve been an Obama supporter since shortly after Edwards was held to 5% in Nevada. I try to be fair about it when it comes to superdelegate voting ethics, though, and I think that there is some room for agreement between these sides. While many argue that it simply won’t come to this, that superdelegates will not overturn the popular will, it certainly seems possible to me that it might. I expect Clinton to pull back ahead in the delegate count, with the help of Ohio even without the help of Texas, by the time Pennsylvania’s votes are counted on April 22. While I believe that Obama should do well enough in the primaries in May and June to finish with a delegate lead, it’s possible that it won’t happen, or certainly possible that that lead will be slight.
By considering what the different possibilities are, I think that we can at least narrow the debate. We won’t find completely common ground, but we should find more than one would expect after watching this week’s news. More below.