The Democratic nomination for US President: An outsider perspective

Serious Sanders Photocredit: Randy Bayne (Flickr)
Serious Sanders Photocredit: Randy Bayne (Flickr)

The highly anticipated sequel to the action packed adventure through Irish politics and the recent general election. Like all blockbuster sequels this time we go bigger and try to reach the wider international audience. There’s not much bigger than the United States of America, keeping with our familiar theme of exciting political developments we take a look at the race for the next presidential candidate.

The US presidential race is often simplified into the condensed final months of red versus blue as the Republicans and Democrats battle it out for the presidency. The process involved in reaching those two candidates is far from simple but well worth reading. Essentially, in short, the two parties travel to each of the fifty states and ask their members to vote for their preferred candidate. That’s where we are now, and exploring our theme of breakthrough developments in politics the two parties are presenting some very non-traditional nominations.

Senator Bernie Sanders Photocredit: Brookings Institution (Flickr)
Senator Bernie Sanders Photocredit: Brookings Institution (Flickr)

In this article we are going to take an in-depth look at the Democratic party nominations, in some respects to counter the wider coverage given to the Republican nominations; one in particular receiving lots of attention. The Democratic nominations have been largely ignored by the traditional media especially in the beginning of the race. However, this has begun to slowly change as the result is becoming increasingly less obvious. It was taken for granted that the Democratic candidate for President of the United States would be former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has brought serious doubt to Clinton’s candidacy bid.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) came under fire early in the race for scheduling too few Democrat debates. The DNC originally planned only six debates with an extended four added following public demand. Allegations erupted from Sanders supporters that the DNC is biasing the race in favour of Clinton; they suggest that Clinton’s name recognition earns her blind votes whereas in debates Sanders’ policy decisions would give him the lead.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton PhotoCredit: Aaron Webb (Flickr)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton PhotoCredit: Aaron Webb (Flickr)

The potential candidates are competing for Democratic delegates in order to run for the office of President. There are two types of delegates that can endorse each of the nominations. Pledged delegates are voted for by the public and are representative of each of the committees of the Democratic Party. Again there are two ways pledged delegates are chosen; caucuses see voters stand together in groups to declare their vote as they are counted by an official, whereas in primaries the process is akin to more traditional voting.


While unpledged delegates, commonly referred to as superdelegates, consist of political leaders or influential insiders to the Democratic Party. Superdelegates have a weighted vote, with the projected 717 superdelegates comprising a weighted delegate count value. Superdelegates account for almost one-sixth of the total vote. Currently, among superdelegates, Clinton has a substantial lead with 362 with Sanders having less than 10.

US Political Revolution PhotoCredit: Bob Simpson
US Political Revolution PhotoCredit: Bob Simpson (Flickr)

Superdelegate counts, however, are subject to change. Superdelegates are unpledged meaning that until they cast their vote at the Democratic Convention, which is held at the end of the public voting, they can choose to change their nomination. Although they are not bound by any rules or laws in how they choose to use their vote the broad majority of superdelegates are informed by public opinion. Current search results provide a picture of the Democratic nominations which includes superdelegates which shows Clinton’s substantial lead, however, given that they are unpledged and subject to change they can be discounted for the time being.


So where do the two Democratic nominations stand against each other? Clinton certainly still has the lead but it’s far from over as Clinton-friendly states have all been counted heading into Sanders-territory. Watch this space for further developments.

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