About Nicholas Harrington

Nicholas Harrington is the Chief Political Analyst for The Big Smoke.

Approx Reading Time-10With Hillary Clinton’s lead for the democratic nom essentially set, we’re asking how she garnered such a lead with the superdelegates.

 


The fact that Hillary Clinton has a 22 percent delegate lead on Bernie Sanders rests largely on the fact that she has 477 superdelegates aligned to her while the Vermont Senator has 38. Supporting the notion that Clinton has the Democratic Party establishment on her side are the official endorsements of 13 State Governors, 40 Senators and 159 House representatives. Sanders is currently endorsed by only seven Democrats. If endorsements were meted out on a seesaw, he would be flying toward the top of a large elm tree.

Yes, it’s true superdelegates can switch (as in 2008 when they coalesced around Obama having previously been aligned to Clinton), but even if Sanders continues to win more primaries, and even if he gets more votes by convention time, its highly unlikely they will. In our last article TBS discussed the psychological and sociological reasons why a switch is remote. Now let us discuss the material.

In March, Clinton raised $29.5 million. While Sanders actually raised more than Hillary, his money is going toward his campaign for President, while hers is going toward something completely different. Last month the former Secretary of State raised $6.1 million not for her campaign but for the Democratic Party.

While reporting in the US takes the view that Hillary is unifying the party and showing support for down-ballot Democrats, something more mercenary may be afoot. There are reports that Clinton donated $64,100 to the Montana Democratic Party, which affected party elders to the extent that (according to a party whistleblower), “we have lost our absolute right to have superdelegate endorsements proportional to the wishes of the primary voters.”

According to the Federal Electoral Commission, in the last six months of 2015 alone, the Hillary Victory Fund made $7,366,036 in contributions to 76 state Democratic Party and Democratic Committees ranging from Alaska to Wyoming and every state in between.

The timing of all this affiliate fundraising certainly raises some questions. Does George Clooney understand that the $8 million he raised for Clinton in March might not go on campaign ads, lawn signs, speaking venues, paying interns, tele-canvassers or media buys, but rather on paying Democratic party functionaries to lock the superdelegates in on her behalf?

As Bernie Sanders is picking up speed in the primary season it appears Clinton is looking for effective ways to ensure those superdelegates stay her superdelegates.

Of Hillary Clinton’s 477 superdelegates:
246 are Democratic National Committee Members
166 are members of the House of Representatives
39 are State Senators
16 are State Governors
10 are distinguished party leaders

It appears highly contentious that at a time when momentum is moving away from Hillary Clinton, when one would think she might want to invest as much as possible into her own campaign, she instead chooses to donate $7 million and raise another $6 million directly to, and for, the very Democratic party affiliates that populate her pledged superdelegates.

Of course, this could all be a coincidence. Certainly Hillary Clinton’s political career has an uncanny degree of coincidence that might even appear like a familiar pattern from a long-range view, but one must not jump to conclusions.

Maybe it’s simply a coincidence that Clinton plans to give tens of millions of dollars to the DNC at precisely the time she needs to make sure she locks in her “unfair advantage”? Maybe Clinton is a party unifier looking after the interests of all the other down-ballot Democrats across the country?

Or maybe…just maybe…Hillary Clinton has worked out how to buy a superdelegate?