Monday, March 31, 2008

The Cantwell Club

The blog 2008 Democratic Convention Watch has an excellent running post called the Superdelegate Endorsement List, which keeps track of which candidates each of the 793 superdelegates support.  I have found it very useful for my Running List of Obama Endorsements.  Currently, about 214 superdelegates have said they would support Obama, 246 would support Clinton, and 333 of them are undeclared. (It should be noted that Obama leads among superdelegates who are elected officials, as opposed to DNC members.)

Recently, the site has decided that a fourth category is needed, which they call the Pelosi Club, after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.  She has said
"If the votes of the superdelegates overturn what happened in the elections, it would be harmful to the Democratic Party...The way the system works is that the [pledged] delegates choose the nominee."  
Of course, Senator Obama is almost certain to end up with a majority of pledged delegates, so despite the fact that Speaker Pelosi has not endorsed either candidate explicitly, for purposes of tallying votes, she should be counted in the Obama column.

There are currently six other members of the Pelosi club, three like Pelosi who have not endorsed a candidate by name, two who have endorsed Obama (Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Former Sen. Tom Daschle), and one who has endorsed Clinton...Senator Maria Cantwell.

So Maria Cantwell, the Junior Senator from the state of Washington, is in a club by herself.  She is the only superdelegate who endorses Clinton, but will vote for Obama (absent a total collapse of the Obama campaign).  She has not renounced her endorsement of Senator Clinton, she has simply said that the will of the people is more important than her opinion:
"If we have a candidate who has the most delegates and the most states,” the Democratic party should come together around that candidate, Cantwell said. The pledged delegate count will be the most important factor, she said, because that is the basis of the nominating process.
With that one quote, she diminished Senator Clinton's lead in superdelegates by two (decreasing the number pledged to Hillary by one, and increasing the number who will vote for Barack by one).  

I think Senator Cantwell should be rewarded for respecting democracy.  If you concur, please  send her a message of thanks, or contribute to her campaign.  Just mention that you are doing it in honor of her starting the Cantwell Club.

I would like other superdelegates who have endorsed Senator Clinton to join the Cantwell Club.  They need not renounce their endorsement of Hillary to join the club, they can simply say that democracy is more important than their personal opinion and so they will vote for the winner of the pledged delegates.  An obvious candidate is the Senior Senator from the state of Washington, Patty Murray.  If you want to send a positive message encouraging her to join the Cantwell Club, contact her here.


Ken said...

Ms Cantwell needs to come back home and face the music. She's up for re-election this term and she needs to explain herself publicly. As a registered Democrat, and an Obama supporter, I need to hear from her what her intentions are and why she insists on endorsing Ms Clinton.

eyesopen said...

Ken: As you probably tell from my blog, I am an Obama supporter. Sen. Cantwell endorsed Sen. Clinton long before WA voted and before Sen. Obama took the lead. I am concerned about superdelegates overturning the will of the people, but I do not need them to say they endorse one candidate when they actually back the other. What Maria Cantwell has done is commit to voting for the winner of the pledged delegates (who everyone agrees will be Obama). I do not need her to pretend to back him--all I want her to do is support the will of the people. Thus I laud her stance.

Now it's possible that after seeing Obama in action that she actually DOES support him now, but just doesn't want to appear disloyal or a flip-flopper.

In either case, all that matters is her vote at the August convention. If she votes for the leader of the pledged delegates---Obama---that's all that should matter.

Consider this. Currently Clinton has 256 SDs. If tomorrow 146 of them joined the Cantwell club, Barack would lock up the nomination.