Sayonara, superdelegates

Barack Obama's campaign wants to revise the rules for the Democratic primaries for 2012. There would be fewer superdelegates and later elections.

Published August 20, 2008 7:14PM (EDT)

Superdelegates helped make Barack Obama the Democratic nominee for president, but if he has his way, they won't be nearly as influential next time around.

Obama's campaign announced Wednesday that it'll be asking delegates to the Democratic convention next week to approve a "Democratic Change Commission" that would look into changing the primary schedule, reducing the number of superdelegates and changing the way caucus states award delegates. The ideas grew out of discussions with Hillary Clinton's aides, David Plouffe told the Washington Post's Dan Balz.

"The number of super delegates has gotten too large in relation to overall delegates," Plouffe told Balz. "We want to give more control back to the voters ... Everyone thinks there ought to be more weight given to the results of the elections." (That sound you heard was Bill Clinton -- who called superdelegates all spring to keep them from endorsing Obama -- yelling, "Now you say so.")

Most primaries and caucuses would be held in March, which would mean this year's complicated Super Tuesday was a one-shot deal. A handful of early states (presumably including Iowa, which launched Obama toward the nomination) would still get to go first.

No word on how the Democrats plan to guarantee seats at the 2012 convention for all the various power brokers and elected officials who made up the ranks of the superdelegates this year. But given how many of them hoped to avoid making a decision between Obama and Clinton, you can bet they won't complain too much if they lose their vote.

By Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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