Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Obama, Clinton and super delegates

Former Vermont Governor and 2004 presidential hopeful Howard Dean is the chairman of the Democratic National Committee

by Etse Sikanku

The 2008 democratic primary is far from over.

After several contests in different states nationwide one would have thought a clear front runner would have emerged by now.

Whiles this story line could be applied to the Republican Party, it isn’t the same for the Democrats. Barack Obama currently leads Hilary Clinton in the delegate count 1,262 to 1,213 according to CNN’s election center. A candidate needs 2,025 to win the nomination.

Many political pundits have predicted that none of the candidates is likely to get to that number before the Democratic Convention in Denver. What this means is that superdelaegates are more than likely to determine the outcome of this contest.

However the questions that continues to bog many observers is whether it is fair to allow a group of so called super delegates to determine the outcome of a contest regardless the results of the popular vote.

While some have argued that the super delegates should go ahead and vote for whoever wins the popular vote others do not agree. They contend that this will make the existence of the super delegates null and void since they will only be parroting the views of the outcome of the contest.
The opposing view is that superdelagates should vote with their conscience.

It is amazing how these two views have been split on candidate-support lines. Most Obama supporters side with the position that calls for super delegates to vote according to the popular vote whiles most supporters of Clinton prefer delegates to vote according to their own will. This is because of the projection that Obama could win the popular vote whiles Clinton has the urge with the super delegates.

Some questions that have come up out of these two stands are: who determines the winner of the popular vote? Is it the person with the highest number of pledged delegates or the candidate who won the most votes? What about the unfair influence of Iowa and New Hampshire? There are also questions of a ‘civil war’ or pandemonium in the Democratic Party if someone other than the winner of the caucuses and primaries is selected as it is likely the voters will feel short changed.

It is amazing how winding the rules are. Why not go according to the simple majority system. In Ghana candidates have to win their party’s nomination by a certain percentage and the process is not as cumbersome as this. In the last delegates conference of the ruling New Patriotic Party (N.P.P) the winner of the contest did not meet the 50% plus requirement. However the second candidate conceded and that ended everything.

To avoid any feud in the party Clinton and Obama should work out a compromise else the wrangling that may come out of this contest will end up playing well for their opponents-the Republicans.

This is a situation no true blue wants to contemplate.

What are your predictions for today's primaries in Wisconsin? Can Obama continue his winning streak?

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