Debbie Wasserman Schultz Just Gave the Weirdest Answer About Superdelegates on CNN; Are They Clinton’s Firewall?

By | February 11, 2016

I was just listening to CNN while out running errands and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chair, was on talking to Jake Tapper. He asked her to explain superdelegates to ease the mind of young voters to not think “it’s all rigged” and, well, here is her response:

Let me make sure I can clarify exactly what was available during the primaries in Iowa and in New Hampshire. The unpledged delegates are a separate category. The only thing available on the ballot in a primary and a caucus is the pledged delegates, those that are tied to the candidate that they are pledged to support and they receive a proportional number of delegates going into our convention. Unpledged delegates exist really to  make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activist. We are, as a Democratic party, really highlight and emphasis inclusiveness and diversity at our convention and so we want to give every opportunity to grassroots activists and diverse committed democrats to be able to participate, attend and be a delegate at the convention. So we separate out those unpledged delegates to make sure that there isn’t competition between them.

Mediaite has the video up and I typed it in. If I got a word wrong here or there I apologize. I’m not a transcriptionist!

In any case, what exactly is she saying? Remember, this is in the context of Bernie and Hillary, but also a system created after the 1968 election when  Humphrey got trounced by Nixon.

Note: I mentioned McGovern before and was a little confused. He actually was one of the chairs of the commission that led to superdelegates being added. See here.

But, listen to what she says: “Unpledged delegates exist really to  make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activist. We are, as a Democratic party, really highlight and emphasis inclusiveness and diversity at our convention and so we want to give every opportunity to grassroots activists and diverse, committed democrats to be able to participate, attend and be a delegate at the convention.” My emphasis, of course.

Now, who exactly might she be referring to? Remember, Bernie was an independent that, while caucassing with the Democrats was not a true member of the party in allegiance. Despite this he has received funds from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which seems like they were ok thinking of him as a Democrat. But, that is neither here nor there.

No, the issue here is that she sees the superdelegates as the buffer to ensure that the party is the decider when it matters. It will prevent the whims of grassroots activism taking over the people and in the end not being the direction the party wants it to go. They welcome their input, but they also need to know their place. The only way to prevent the party stepping in is to really overwhelm them with Bernie getting landslide support. We do this by ignoring the superdelegates right now and winning each and every primary and caucus we can win!

But, no, this answer is not going to assure anyone that the system is not rigged. It’s a poor answer and shows where her mindset is. Jake tapper agreed, saying “I’m not sure that answer would satisfy an anxious young voter.”

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  • TVonthePorch

    NIxon-McGovern was 1972, not 1968. However I think the 1968 date for creation of the system is correct.

    • hugs4u

      yeah in 68 the party bosses wanted hubert humphrey and us democrats wanted eugene mccarthy and so we sat out and nixon got in. then in 72 the party bosses gave in and let us have george mcgovern and they sat out and again giving the job to nixon. but that is when the super delegates first appeared.

      • Quintin Lynch

        So bad judgment in the DNC is a long and consistent position. Wonderful

      • nickqueen

        I corrected it. McGovern got in my head because he was a chair of the commission that led to the creation of superdelegates. Fraser was the other chair.

      • Jonathan Spector

        Not exactly. After the riots in Chicago in 1968, Humphrey lost by a hair to Nixon. McGovern, who had been running on Kennedy’s platform, was chosen to redesign the primary process, and thus, in 1972, he best knew how to exploit it for a victory. This is not a criticism. I worked for him in three states, and even shook his hand in Boston. I read somewhere that the superdelegates first appeared in 1984.

        • nicolasqueen

          Very interesting! Would it be correct to say the idea came from the commission he chaired and finally implemented in 1984?

        • Bobs_Vendetta

          Correct. The superdelegates as they are now began in 1984.

  • Balerion

    Not very bright, that one is.

  • Chris Riley

    wait till these super delegates try to leave the democratic convention center if they go against the peoples vote.

  • Quintin Lynch

    Superdelegates have never decided the Democratic Nominee.It would be political suicide. Hypothetically if the DNC were to rig the game and nominate Clinton even though Sanders won more state delegates as assigned by the vote. It would be the end of the Democratic party.

    • nickqueen

      Not true. In 1984 it happened. From Wikipedia:

      “In the 1984 election, the major contenders for the presidential nomination were Gary Hart and Walter Mondale. Each won some primaries and caucuses. Mondale was only slightly ahead of Hart in the total number of votes cast but won the support of almost all superdelegates and became the nominee.”

    • Ronald Woolever

      It doesn’t mean if this is closer than 2008 it won’t happen. By her own admission Schultz is saying that in the end the party wishes to retain control over the nominating process. The only reason it didn’t matter in ’08 is because Obama had Clinton beat without the super delegates. You may be right that it would be the end of the party in it’s present form, but it may be that the party thinks it worth it.

      • Quintin Lynch

        Perhaps and I hope it is not the case. The Democratic party may never have the voters to win the Whitehouse or Congress ever agian. Many Independent voters, more numerous than either the Democrats or Republican would walk away and not come back. Because democracy denied is not democracy at all.

        • Sarge

          Get your walking boots on.

          • Quintin Lynch

            That’s how we got here. Sarge.

        • Bobs_Vendetta

          Those who live in Clinton World (including, I fear, the whole DNC) remain in denial of the profound distrust for Clinton among independents. Sanders can win among independents, but never her. If they hijack the process, the Democrats’ losses in November will be epic.

    • hugs4u

      the super delegates can get her the nomination that is true. but there is not enough super delegates to win her the presidency. so she wins the battle but loses the war.

  • hugs4u

    Debbie wasserman schultz needs to be kicked out of the leadership position she holds and off the DNC. she has totally proved to be a disaster for the democrats

    • Jay Stew

      No shit, all she is good at is the constant Republicans vs Democrats horseshit and if anything can be learned from Bernie Sanders it is that he wants to unite this country and see people treated like we are all Americans and not groups of Americans.

      • yupthatsright

        Unless you have money. Then Bernie wants to treat you differently.

        • Bobs_Vendetta

          Not really. He just wants you to contribute a little more to the society which gave you an opportunity to get rich.

          • yupthatsright

            Maybe we can each get a weekend at Bernie’s lake house.

  • Cha Cha DiGregorio

    If Bernie wins a majority of the regular delegates and the superdelegates overrule them for Hillary, not only will she lose the general election, it will destroy the Democratic party.
    Then again, I wouldn’t put anything past Hillary – she wants her crown come hell or high water, and she doesn’t care who or what she’ll destroy in order to get it.

  • Rick Murtagh

    She’s saying she wants grassroots movements to attend the Convention but she just doesn’t want them to have a chance to win.

  • Jay Stew

    The revolution will be televised!

  • Sarge

    One thing you can be assured of: The Democratic Party does not want an “open convention” meaning that no candidate is nominated on the first ballot. Another thing you can be assured of: Sanders’ nomination would be a fiasco and mean a landslide for GOP. The Superdelegates will break HRC unless Sanders runs the table with 60% of primary votes in proportionally allocated States and runs the table in “winner take all” states. Ain’t gonna happen. The only worse scenario is that HRC has no opposition. Sanders is not a viable candidate in the Electoral College but the DNC needs something to keep voters attention: thus: a fake “fight” Its over: HRC is your candidate. Deal with it.

    • Quintin Lynch

      Well Sarge that’s why we play the game. We’ll handle the Clintons. Sanders kills the Republicans in all the same poll’s that the Donald goes on and on snd on about for half his rallies. 10-20% most of the time.

    • Why can I be assured of that? Because you say it? $Hillary loses to Trump. Bernie beats Trump. The polls are there, for anyone with their head not up their ass.

    • hugs4u

      i am proud to say i have voted for lbj, mcgovern, carter, mondale, dukakis, clinton, gore, kerry and obama in my life time when humphrey was the nominee i wrote in eugene mccarthy and this year if hillary is the nominee i will write in bernie sanders. hell could freeze over and i wouldnt give hillary my vote.

    • Bobs_Vendetta

      You are wrong about this bogus electability argument. Especially when it comes to independents, who now comprise 40% of the electorate. Sanders has consistently outpolled Clinton with independents. In New Hampshire, his 5% margin over Clinton among Democrats became a 22% blowout because of the independents. Whoever wins the election in November will get at least 40% of their votes from independents. Independent voters have a profound distrust for Hillary Clinton, which is why she will not win the election. Your thinking is based on “business as usual” elections. Is Bernie Sanders less electable than right-wing extremist Ted Cruz? or Donald Trump?!?

  • StateOfME

    I’d like to say, That if we can’t get a larger Voter turnout for Bernie at Every Primary & Caucus, It won’t matter. In IA & NH, Dem voter turnout was lower than in ’08 and was also lower that the GOP Voter Turnout, That’s not a good Sign. We really need a fire under everyone’s ass going into NV (caucus, determines delegates that will eventually go to national convention. If more Bernie people show up than Hillary’s, Then We would end up with more Delegates) …. After that is SC, Tough State where we will need to double or more our turnout, Would like a Win there, That would really give Bernie a very good boost. We All need to Show up to vote or Caucus, with the same passion and excitement of a Bernie Rally!!! We can Do This !!

  • qcmaggie3

    Where did they ever dig up this person? This is the worse fricking answer I have ever heard. In other words the superdelegates are there to rid the party of the riff-raff, namely Berney, so they have a buffer to insure Hillary gets the nomination! This is what is called an open and honest process? Debbie Wasserman needs to be fired ASAP. How dare she tell the people who will be the nominee will be. I hope everyone signed the petetion to get rid of the superdelegates . We need to rid the party of Hillary’s shill!

    • Bobs_Vendetta

      Debbie Wasserman Schultz will never be fired. She was the national chair of the Clinton for President campaign in 2008. She was put there by design. The DNC is merely an arm of the Clinton political machine.

  • Lorraine Joseph

    Go to to support her opponent and Bernie ally, Tim Canova. She will be canned. #FeelTheBern

  • Bobs_Vendetta

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz was the national chair of the Clinton for President campaign in 2008. So the DNC is already merely an arm of the Clinton political machine. And behaving like one, with the debates and so on.

    The telling portion of her statement to CNN is this:

    “Unpledged delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists.”

    In other words, the Democratic Party establishment wants to make sure they are in charge of the process, not the voters. The Republican Party has a strong authoritarian streak, but even they don’t try to usurp the will of the voters like this. Considering that more than 400 superdelegates are members of the DNC, and considering that the DNC is now an arm of the Clinton political machine, it may well be that the process is rigged.

    The news media owes to the voters to show the running total of delegates won through the caucuses and primaries. Right now, that is Sanders=35, Clinton=30.

    It is misleading to add the superdelegates since they are not chosen by the voters and they can change their allegiance at any time. Show the results of the voting and, if necessary, remind voters there are all these superdelegates.

    Finally, a word of warning to the Democratic Party. If Bernie Sanders is the choice of the voters, but the Democratic Party negates the voters’ choice through this power move, there WILL BE a grass roots rebellion in the Democratic Party. The results in November will be catastrophic, and not just for Hillary Clinton, but down the ballet as well.

  • Mervin

    DNC, word: Peaceful revolution now, or a violent one later. Your choice.