Following up on the earlier “brokered convention” post, I noticed that at least some of the key “superdelegates” (Democratic officeholders who can vote for any candidate they please) seem to share Ed Kilgore’s fears of a convention fight. Rep. Charles Rangel and Sen. Charles Schumer were both quoted warning the Hillary Clinton forces against relying on superdelegates or parliamentary maneuvers (like the seating of delegates selected in the non-sanctioned Michigan and Florida primaries) to take the nomination away from Barack Obama at the convention:
“It’s the people (who are) going to govern who selects our next candidate and not super delegates,” Rangel said Sunday night at a dinner for the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators conference in Albany, N.Y.
“The people’s will is what’s going to prevail at the convention and not people who decide what the people’s will is,” he added.
This a better argument than the fear of a chaotic convention projecting a bad image for the party.
The idea that the party’s decision should reflect “the people’s will” can be traced back to Jacksonian and “Old School” complaints about the use of congressional and legislative caucus nominations back in the 1810s and 1820s. The Democrats adopted the delegate convention system partly in response to the past outrage over the denial of the nomination and the presidency in 1824 to alleged popular favorite Andrew Jackson. 1824 front-runner William Crawford was nominated by the Democratic-Republican congressional caucus despite the fact the candidate was medically incapacitated and the competing candidates’ supporters boycotted the caucus. Party mastermind Martin Van Buren and other Crawford supporters then discovered first hand how perilous and self-defeating it was to seize the nomination for their favorite when the perception existed that a majority of the party did not support him.
You have to admit that it would be fun if the first black presidential nominee ends up owing his nomination partly to Jacksonian arguments.