Boaty McBoatface is why we have super-delegates.
The British government recently turned to the internet to name their new state of the art research ship. First off, whoever came up with this idea has clearly never seen how every Twitter Q&A goes off the rails quicker than a Maserati goes zero to sixty. Well, as the internet is wont to do, the voters in the poll chose the name “Boaty McBoatface.” The name didn’t just win, it blew the competition out of the water (sorry).
The results elicited this response from British Science Minister Jo Johnson:
“The new royal research ship will be sailing into the world’s iciest waters to address global challenges that affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, including global warming, the melting of polar ice, and rising sea levels. That’s why we want a name that lasts longer than a social-media news cycle and reflects the serious nature of the science it will be doing.”
Does that sound remotely familiar to another scenario you’ve probably been paying attention to recently? Having trouble? Well then let’s revisit Minister Johnson’s statement and change a few words.
“The new president will be sailing into the world’s most difficult job to address global challenges that affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, including global warming, the crisis in the Middle East, and an unstable worldwide economy. That’s why we want to elect someone who will last longer than a social-media news cycle and reflects the serious nature of the job they will be doing.”
Got it now?
As you can guess from the Minister’s quote, the British government has chosen to overrule the voters in the name of sanity.
In American politics however, there is no unique body that has the power to simply tell voters they are being stupid and make a new decision for them. But the Democratic party has created the next best thing.
In 1982 the Democratic party instituted super-delegates who are local, state, and national politicians, party leaders, and other influential players who are free to cast their delegate votes free of any bounds from actual voters.
The party will tell you they created these positions to give those involved in the party structure an active voice in the presidential selection process. But we’re all adults here, let’s not lie to ourselves. Super-delegates were created to prevent the party from nominating a candidate who is the human equivalent of Boaty McBoatface.
The supporters of Bernie Sanders have been actively complaining about the presence of super-delegates on the Democratic side as an unfair advantage given to Hillary Clinton. And while they’re correct – Clinton has 502 super-delegates to Sanders’ 38 – a quick peek under Reince Priebus’ sweat-stained collar should remind Sanders supporters that while they may not love Clinton, no Democratic will ever have to cast their vote for Donald J. McTrumpface.
Follow on Twitter @EighteenthandU