Awarding Superdelegates to the Winner of a Majority of Pledged Delegates at the 2008 Democratic Party Convention
Governor Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic Party
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In 2008 our party faces an opportunity that must not be passed by. We Democrats have lived through eight years of the Bush Administration, which has been a disaster at home and abroad. There is not enough space here to detail the policies, actions and awful legacy of this incompetent administration. Suffice to say that our mission in 2008 is to nominate and elect the next President of the United States, to remove this dark cloud hanging over the American people.
On this journey of nominating the best candidate to represent our party, we have coalesced around two Democrats, with similar (though not identical) positions on many issues, who are very closely matched in terms of support, not only in finances but in numbers of Pledged Delegates. Both Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama have the desire and the ability to remake the Executive Branch of government into an administration that will not only be effective domestically, but respected, admired and emulated internationally. Surveys show that the vast majority of Democrats would eagerly support either candidate in the general election on November 4th.
It is the process of selection that will prove to be our greatest hurdle, meaning the 79 days between the end of the primary season and the start of the Democratic convention. There will be no more Pledged Delegates at stake following the Puerto Rico primary on June 7th. It is nearly certain that neither candidate will have accumulated the 2,025 delegates needed to claim the nomination by that time.
Starting June 8th, the news media will concentrate on the deals and schemes, real and imagined, in order to bring Superdelegate endorsements to either the Clinton or Obama camps. This back and forth could go on for over two months, making for good stories about smoke-filled rooms but denigrating the Democratic Party in the process.
By the time the Democratic Convention ends, the McCain Presidential campaign will have had almost seven months lead time to set up their organization, fund raise, prepare their message and hone their attacks.
By contrast, when the Democratic Convention ends on August 29th, either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama will have only 67 days to essentially duplicate the Republican efforts in terms of organization, and run their entire Presidential campaign. This is simply too compressed a schedule. Either candidate, after six months of intensive campaigning, and another two months of jockeying for Superdelegates, will be exhausted. This is not a formula for victory.
In order to have the Democratic nominee determined in advance of the Convention, we ask that the rules of the Convention be amended to require that a number of Superdelegates be awarded to the winner of a majority of Pledged Delegates (1,627 or more) to guarantee nomination. Whatever mechanism you choose to achieve this goal is acceptable, but it must be done promptly once a candidate has gathered the majority of the Pledged Delegates.
The certainty of nomination will enable valuable organizational time ahead of the Convention and permit the Democratic Party to present to all Americans a unified and clear message of change and hope for the future.