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I, Superdelegate: In Defense Of Texas Superdelegates

Alright, blogging on here is a contact sport? Cool. I grew up in Odessa, Texas, where if something wasn’t a full contact sport, then it probably wasn’t worth participating in. My first memory of being in politics was getting home one night soon after my father filed to run for District Attorney to find a bomb squad at our home. Apparently someone didn't want him in the race.

After my first diary entry describing my status as an automatic delegate to the Democratic National Convention, comments described me as elitist, soulless, and only out for fame. In the words of that lady on “The Jerry Springer Show”: “You don’t know me.”

So before I move on and blog about the phone calls, the massive events, and the wheeler-dealing that has taken over Texas Democratic politics, I wanted to give my perspective on the role I’ve been picked to play during this election. Probably the best way to do that is to reprint an email I received recently. It's just one of a great many that have broached the same topic.


As a registered voter in the State of Texas, I am writing to implore you to adhere to the wishes of the Texas voters, expressed in the upcoming Primary, when making your decision regarding your vote as a Super Delegate at the Democratic Convention.

You speak for us. Let the voter have a voice, for a


What I told Peggy, and felt I should write here as well, is that given the profound strangeness of the primary process in my state, it’s not so easy to “adhere to the wishes of Texas voters.” Take a deep breath before I dive into how our primary-caucus hybrid system works; it gets way too complicated. Of the approximately 200 elected delegates from Texas (not counting the automatic delegates like me), about two-thirds are divided among the 31 primaries which will be held in the 31 Senate Districts across Texas. One-third is selected by the proportion of participation in the series of caucuses following the primary.

But that is a terribly simplified explanation.

Each Texas Senate District contains approximately 650,000 people. Senate Districts 29 and 27 will get 3 delegates each, SD 14 will get 8 delegates, and SD 31 will get 2. Candidate A could get 100 percent of the vote in SD 29 and get 3 delegates. Candidate B could get 37.5 percent of the vote in SD 14 and receive 3 delegates. Where in that equation are the wishes of Texas voters taken into consideration? (These convoluted rules have been in place for decades to reward more “numerically Democratic” areas of Texas.)

How the other 33 percent of delegates are chosen at post-primary caucuses is extraordinarily difficult to explain. Here’s the best place to go if you’re looking for details. But suffice it to say that it’s nearly impossible to divine the will of the voters from this convoluted process.

So, the question becomes: As an automatic delegate from Texas, should I give priority to: (a) the raw, popular vote; (b) the majority of delegates won in the primary; or (c) the winner of the convoluted caucuses? While I will heavily consider my state’s multiple expressions of preference in this race, ultimately, I will use my best judgment to make my decision--as I was elected to do.

Long story short, the Texas election system is a complicated process that needs to be revised once this election is over. Until then, all I can do is take my role as an automatic delegate to the Democratic National Convention very seriously. (By the way, for those who criticize me for using the same term for superdelegates that the Clinton team uses, I am a rules geek--and the rules of the Texas Democratic Party call me an automatic delegate. I have never seen anything in party rules that refers to the term “superdelegate:”)

I declared my support for Hillary several months ago, but I do recognize the significance of my vote if the nomination fight lasts until the convention (though I don’t think it will), and I am free to change my support just like every other delegate who will attend the convention in August. I’m certainly open to doing so; I speak with the Obama campaign regularly (and will be telling you about those chats). But I have been given little to persuade me to change at this point.