The Common Good

Super Tuesday Liveblog: Whose Voice Counts?

Looking for parallels to the Dobson versus conservative evangelical rank-and-file phenomenon, I'm struck by the Democratic vote in Massachusetts. Despite endorsements from Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, Governor Deval Patrick, and The Boston Globe, the state broke for Sen. Hillary Clinton. I find it encouraging that official endorsements don't mean that much to the average voter, and though my sense is that in general Clinton enjoys more support from the Democratic establishment than Obama, here's one state in which the rank-and-file voted contrary to their leading party voices.

Another phenomenon of the establishment versus Joe and Jane Schmoe in the Democratic Party is the concept of superdelegates. Those are delegates who need not heed election results, but can do whatever they want--often based on loyalties and influence exchanged in high circles of political power. By current measurements at this moment on CNN, Clinton leads with 193 superdelegates to Obama's 106. This while Obama leads Clinton with pledged delegates, 129 to 113. Frankly, the phenomenon frustrates my small "d" democratic sensibilities. It seems unfair that the candidate with the most popular votes could still be defeated by the party elite. Such a system seems to automatically favor the establishment candidate and disadvantage a more grassroots movement.

Maybe by tomorrow morning, the delegate and superdelegate counts will agree with each other. But it would seem that both on the Religious Right and the Democratic establishment, the voices of regular folks need to be heard--and count--more than they have. (And don't get me started on the Electoral College....)

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