Who Chooses the Presidential Nominees – Voters or Super Voters?

It’s primary season in the Palmetto State and this means South Carolinian’s will be casting their vote for the candidate they want to see on the ballot come November. Their votes will be tallied, and based on percentages, each candidate will receive a number of delegates.

This weighted process continues throughout the states until one candidate from each party remains. And ideally, the candidate who receives the most individual votes in each camp winds up on the ballot.

However, this is not always the case, and many are losing faith that every vote counts. Why? Super delegates, or termed unbound delegates by the GOP. This is a group of elected officials and party representatives that are not legally bound to support the candidate choice of the people. Meaning if Trump receives the majority of individual votes, he still may not win the support of his party.

(Disclaimer- Trump is not my choice for various reasons, see why here, but the main one being his platform seems to be about His bottom line – protecting His wealth. However, a fan of democracy, if the majority of individuals vote for him, his name should be on the ballot.)

Unfortunately, our voting system doesn’t protect the voice of the people and delegates are not legally responsible to support the candidate chosen by the majority.

For Instance

News broke yesterday that Bernie Sanders, though winning by sweeping margins in New Hampshire, was tied 15-15 with Hillary Clinton for delegates. With a 60-40 margin, there’s no way Sanders and Clinton should have the same number of delegates in the state of New Hampshire, but Clinton got the support of all but two of the state’s super delegates. With this in mind, some wonder is it even worth it to vote since random designated “Super Voters” can toss out the ballots of thousands of commoners.

(Disclaimer- though I like Bernie the best and think he’s the most sincere candidate, I can’t get behind changing our economic system and granting free college tuition. However, if the majority can get behind him, he should be on the ballot—in a pure democracy.)

That said, I haven’t been able to get behind any single candidate, preferring a meshing of two party opposed candidates, which frees me up to ask this question: If I could get behind a candidate, if the nation of non-party line people could get behind the same candidate, would they be elected?

The Palmetto State

In the next two weeks, my neighbors will vote for the presidential contender they think will protect them, create an environment where they can prosper, improve conditions for the poor, restrict or nullify the practice of abortions, bring our state out of the bottom fifth percent in education, and perhaps bring us together.

Up for grabs in the state of South Carolina are 50 delegates for the GOP, 26 of those will be chosen by popular vote, three are unbound, and 21 are bound by congressional districts. Now, there’s one caveat to the GOP guidelines for bound delegates. To become the Republican nominee, one candidate must obtain 1144 delegates. If no candidate reaches this number, then the vote goes to the floor of the Republican National Convention, and those bound delegates have some power to change the outcome of who gets the nomination. Here’s why:

One additional area where there is some observed variation between states concerns how and how long delegates are bound to particular candidates at the national convention. The South Carolina Republican version of this has the delegates voting for the statewide winner or the winner of the congressional district on the first ballot only. If that candidate/those candidates is/are not nominated then those delegates are bound to the second or third place finisher statewide or at the congressional district level. If none of those three are nominated, then the delegates are unbound. Source: Frontloading HQ

In this traditionally red state, the projected majority of votes will be cast for a GOP contender, and polls show Donald Trump winning, which means he will most likely get the majority of GOP delegates if the popular vote swings his way, and the three unbound delegates support the citizen’s choice.

On the side of the Democrats, there are 59 delegates, six of which are “Super”. Hillary Clinton already has the support of three of these delegates and this is before any vote by the people has been cast. So she’ll most likely wind up gaining momentum as she leaves South Carolina.

Who are “Super Voters”?

It’s a group of party leaders, governors, senators, representatives, and national convention members, who by their party commitment are given a delegate seat. These are the real party line people, they have very specific agendas, that may or may not be driven by party affiliated “Super PACs,” another convoluted distortion of our system, and one that pays A LOT of money to get their candidate elected.

So do the American people, you and me, really choose the presidential nominees? Like the indeterminable number of powerful “Super Voters” and the indigestible amount of money thrown around by “Super PACs,” it’s unclear.

Delegate Math in the Presidential Primary – Washington Post


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