Bernie Sanders has won the last seven primaries, is still winning among white and young voters, does better head to head against all the republicans in some polls, and has a higher favorability rating than his opponent Hillary Clinton. You’d think he’d be ahead in the delegate count then too, right? Wrong. Why? Those gosh darned super delegates.
Created in 1968, superdelegates are elected party officials whose vote isn’t determined by the results of primaries and caucuses in the presidential election season on the democratic side, unlike regular pledged delegates. Rather they are allowed to pick whichever candidate they support at any time, and can switch said support at any time, to increase his/her delegate count towards what’s necessary to clinch the party nomination.
Compare 2008 to 2016 and they played a huge role in how Mrs. Clinton fared. At the beginning of the 2008 primaries most superdelegates had indeed supported her but eventually switched to then-Senator Obama when they saw him winning most of the states. Now in 2016, things are quite different. Overwhelmingly they are siding with her over Senator Sanders, who is a self-described democratic socialist and party outsider. Many democrats see his views as too liberal and a threat to their position as officials when compared to Clinton’s and the party as a whole.
Now the question many have is this: Are these superdelegates rigging the election? There is no simple answer. One could assume that because Hillary has won more states and more of the larger states that it’s fair more of these superdelegates are siding with who’s in front. But many Sanders supporters like myself also claim that because he’s won the aforementioned seven primaries, momentum is on his side and they should move their support to him if he continues to win.
Regardless of which side you support, provided you are voting democrat, you likely recognize that unless the Senator wins most of the primaries coming up, then Hillary will be the nominee.