Should Etheridge go with Hillary?

I’m not one to tell somebody how they should vote … but I think the people of Lee, Johnston and Harnett counties can make a case for asking U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge to side with Hillary Clinton as his superdelegate choice … even with Barack Obama the apparent winner.

As we reported in Tuesday’s Herald, Etheridge has a superdelegate vote, one of many still left that will ultimately decide the Democratic nomination for president of the United States. Just last week, Barack Obama (who leads the overall delegate count from the popular vote), overtook Clinton in superdelegate votes, too.

Obama also won the North Carolina primary, and only three of the 10 counties that Etheridge represents sided with Clinton. But those three counties — Lee, Johnston and Harnett — are three of the four counties completely represented by Etheridge (he shares representation with other counties). I say that puts Etheridge in a tight spot … does he represent the will of his people, or just vote the way he wants to? It could be a slippery slope for him, either way.

U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler (a great college quarterback, not-so-great NFL quarterback and now successful politician) sided with Clinton because the people in his districts voted for her. Will Etheridge do the same?

Not that I care, mind you. I’m voting for Christopher Walken.


6 thoughts on “Should Etheridge go with Hillary?

  1. If Superdelegates want the Democrats to lose to McCain, they should side with Obama. If they want to win in November, pick Clinton. I think if the SDs really went with the way the people in their districts voted, it would screw everything up, because the race has been so close. They should exercise independent judgment.

  2. I should correct myself on a couple of things. It appears that all of Johnston County is in Etheridge’s district. Whoops.

    Also, the district includes portions of Nash and Vance counties, both of which went for Obama as well.

  3. To clarify my comment where I corrected myself (I had posted an earlier comment which didn’t show up), my basic point was that you can’t say either Clinton or Obama won Etheridge’s district without vote totals for the entire district. Pointing out that Clinton carried Lee, Harnett and Johnston doesn’t say enough to tell you the result one way or the other.

    Aside from the three Billy mentioned, each of the other counties included in Bob’s district went for Obama by margins of at least 7 percent (they are Chatham, Wake, Vance, Cumberland, Sampson, and Nash counties). It’s hard to tell whether that makes up for Hillary winning Lee, Harnett and Johnston though, since only parts of those counties are included in the district. Many of those counties are very large (Chatham, Cumberland, Wake) though, so it’s just hard to say.

    I also mentioned that I think superdelegates (at least ones who have constituents) should vote the way their districts go. I do not believe that superdelegates, however, should be a part of the nominating process, since it seems like they’re only there to override the people if the Party doesn’t like their choice.

  4. I think something is wrong with this post, as I too have tried to submit comments twice… and both have never showed up.

    However, if I try to repost my text, it says “Duplicate Comment”



  5. What a bummer, my post from last week didn’t show up…. and that took a minute to write 😦

    But in my opinion, Democratic party “unpledged” delegates(superdelegates) are specifically by their current(and original) design not intended to necessarily align with the popular vote of the state/county/precinct in which they reside. Also if they aren’t part of the nominating process, then it seems to me that they serve no purpose.

    If that functional requirement were to change, then their actual existence would be unnecessary(which may or may not be a good idea, I offer no opinion on that here).

    So it makes sense that they vote their own conscience, and do take part in the process.

    However, it is true that in practice they may indeed align with the popular vote of their community. But from what I understand of the intended role of these delegates, it is up to their own perspective, expertise, and judgment to correct what the party may view as an undesirable candidate nomination outcome or in a similar case to what we see today, break a tie(or effective tie) where the popular vote cannot seem to choose a clear winner by the required majority vote.

    Again, if instead the “superdelegates” were to just align with the popular vote by default, this function could not be fulfilled.

    Although not the official arbiter of all that is accurate, a good summary of the function is here at wikipedia:

    This is also informative:

    We may argue that a purely democratic system based on popular voting results is ideal(and I wouldn’t disagree), but I think that if one finds the current function of “superdelegates” undesirable, the only real recourse would be to encourage the party to change the rules and eliminate unpledged delegates…. not try to require them to align with the popular vote.

    Also, keep in mind that this role is relatively new in the Democratic party, only being around since the mid 1980s. So it is possible that this function may turn out to be unpopular over time. So again, work within the party could eliminate the function theoretically. It certainly is a matter of contention and various opinions even within the Democratic party leadership itself, not to mention the general voting public, as evidenced by this very thread.

    It also is interesting to note that the Republican party also uses unpledged delegates, although they aren’t popularly referred to as “superdelegates” as the Democratic party’s are.

    Or on a larger scale: A topic which only seems to come up and get attention only every presidential election cycle, perhaps it is a good time to point out that regardless of the individual party nomination processes….. our general election is decided by “unpledged delegates” as well, not the popular vote.

    This often gets a lot of press and “debate” for about a month or two every 4 years, then gets quickly forgotten until we do it all over again *wink*


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