FiveThirtyEight: Politics Done Right: Preventing another Clinton-Obama primary fiasco
This seems like a really great idea, hat will probably not be implemented.
The key recommendation is to eliminate the category of unpledged Party Leaders and Elected Officials--PLEOs, or the so-called “superdelegates”--and replace them with a new category called National Party Leaders and Elected Officials, or NPLEOs, whose votes at the convention would be determined not by their own preferences but by the results of the voting in the primary/caucus of their state. Apparently, there was discussion at some point of turning the current superdelegates into non-voting delegates, but that idea was rejected. “Openness, fairness, and accessibility are central to our ideals as Democrats, and the Commission’s recommendations to reform the delegate selection process will ensure that voters’ voices and preferences are paramount to our process of nominating a Presidential candidate," said Kaine, in a prepared statement.
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In broad, historical terms, the change would continue a process, dating back to the end of the so-called “King Caucus” era in the history of presidential nominations, of shifting control of the nomination process, sometimes gradually and at other times more swiftly, away from party elites and to party rank-and-file voters and caucus-goers. The overall political effect will be to reduce the power of party elites. In terms of nomination campaign calculus, the change will make it more important to actually win primaries and caucuses, because candidates will need to win states or perform well in state contests in order to earn the added votes of the NPLEOs, bound as they will be to their respective state’s outcome.
That will leave a lot of party prima donnas with their noses bent out of shape. The great joy of being a superdelegate in 2008 was having the candidates court you for your support. That meant personal calls from the candidates, invites to campaign events and, in general, a lot of ego-stroking. Many people get in politics got, at least partly, with precisely this motivation. So, that allure will be gone for the new NPLEOs because their vote will be anchored to an election result, not a function of their personal predilections. However, as superdelegates they will presumably retain the coveted hard pass for the convention, along with all the invites to the parties, the goodie bags, and the rest of fun experiences of convention week. The allure of these benefits probably explain the significant pushback against the idea of eliminating superdelegates altogether.