Credo Action

Tell Democratic leaders: No more superdelegates

Sign the petition

Petition to the Democratic National Convention Standing Committee on Rules:

“Eliminate the undemocratic, unrepresentative use of ‘superdelegates’ in future Democratic Party presidential nomination contests.”

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    Tell Democratic leaders: No more superdelegates

    Democratic Party superdelegates are older, whiter, and more likely to be male than Democratic Party voters. Yet these unelected delegates have as much power as the combined pledged representatives of voters from 24 states, four territories, and the District of Columbia.1

    When the rules committee of the Democratic National Convention meets in a few weeks, it will have an opportunity to end this undemocratic superdelegate system. Doing so would not alter the results of this year’s contest. It is not about rewarding one candidate or another. It is about making the Democratic Party more democratic in future nominating contests.

    The superdelegate system dilutes the will of voters and has no place in a truly democratic party. That’s why we are joining our friends at Demand Progress, DailyKos and other progressive organizations – as well as supporters of both Sec. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders – to demand an end to superdelegates.

    Tell Democratic Leaders: No more superdelegates.

    The superdelegate system was created to rein in popular democracy. Concerned by progressive Sen. Ted Kennedy’s insurgent challenge to President Jimmy Carter in 1980, party elites created superdelegates to water down the influence of pledged delegates. Instead of being selected based on primaries and caucuses, superdelegates consist of Democratic elected officials and members of the Democratic National Committee.2

    Superdelegates are also a poor representative of supporters of the Democratic Party. Compared to Democratic voters, superdelegates are:

    • More likely to be male. The Democratic Party’s charter mandates that equal number of pledged delegates be male and female. But men make up nearly two-thirds of superdelegates.3

    • Whiter. The voters who supported President Obama in 2008 and 2012, and the pledged delegates to those conventions, included 20 percent more representatives of communities of color than this year’s superdelegates.4

    • Older. The average Democrat is 47 years old. The median Obama voter was 44 years old. In contrast, the average superdelegate is 60 years old.5

    Despite not being elected to the role of delegate, the vote of one of the 712 superdelegates this summer will count as much as one of the 4,051 delegates who were selected by voters.6 The Standing Committee on Rules, or “Rules Committee,” has the power and responsibility to change this for future elections.

    Tell Democratic Leaders: No more superdelegates.

    Instead of superdelegates, the Democratic Party should maintain the current number of total delegates, but allot them to states like today’s pledged delegates and require that they be selected through primaries or caucuses. A system like this would be a major step toward the admirable principle in the party’s own charter, which calls for fair representation and gender equity.

    The 2016 Democratic primary contest is over. Now it’s time to look to the future and put more power in the hands of Democratic voters, not elites.

    Tell Democratic Leaders: No more superdelegates.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    1. Drew DeSilver, “Who are the Democratic superdelegates?” Pew Research Center, May 5, 2016.
    2. Jeff Stein, “What are “superdelegates,” and what do they mean for the Democratic nomination?,”, February 11, 2016.
    3. DeSilver, “Who are the Democratic superdelegates?
    4. Ibid.
    5. Ibid.
    6. Stein, “What are “superdelegates,” and what do they mean for the Democratic nomination?