As Bernie Sanders has slowly but surely gained momentum from the public in his bid for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency the media has consistently flaunted the fact that so called super delegates nearly all but support Hillary Clinton. Even as Bernie Sanders soars in polls, picks up win after win, state after state, and amasses pledged delegates through the democratic process, the media is all too eager to remind the public that our efforts are in vain because super delegates are disproportionately not feeling the bern.
Defeatist headlines overrun popular internet forums and the front pages of mainstream media outlets like “Clinton has 45-To-1 ‘Superdelegate’ Advantage Over Sanders,” and “Over Half of Democratic Superdelegates Support Hillary Clinton,” and most recently, “Winning Wisconsin Won’t Change Bernie Sanders’ Superdelegate Problem.” These headlines are deliberately confusing with the intention of discouraging young voters, most of whom support Bernie Sanders. Until last month The New York Times was disingenuously combining the number of pledged delegates and super delegates before they began reporting the delegate count separately. As it stands now, Clinton has an advantage of 469 super delegates to Bernie Sanders’ 31.
But, why is that? Why do so many super delegates support Clinton while so few support Sanders? Maybe super delegates back Clinton because they feel she is the stronger candidate (despite evidence to the contrary in most recent national polls and virtually every one on one poll against republicans). Perhaps super delegates support for Hillary Clinton has something to do with her financial ties to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) or the fact that nearly 10% of super delegates are lobbyists. Or maybe super delegates just see the virtue in a good pants suit?
When Fox News asked Democratic National Chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida) why super delegates are separate (and seemingly more important than pledged delegates) she said, “…we separate those so that we don’t have elected officials and party leaders running against the activists.” Isn’t that inspiring? The head of the DNC openly stated that super delegates exist to keep establishment candidates insulated from democracy. According to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz super delegates function as a buffer between candidates ordained by the elite, and those chosen by the people. Their stated function is to maintain the status quo and protect against insurgent candidates like Bernie Sanders or George McGovern.
However, it doesn’t have to be like this (as the New York Times now reluctantly notes). Super delegates can and sometimes do change their stances. A few examples exist of super-delegates switching their allegiance, especially in states where Bernie Sanders won the caucus or primary by an overwhelming margin. Democratic National Committeeman Pete Gertonson (D-Idaho) from Idaho switched his allegiance after Sanders’ walloped Clinton by over 50% percentage points. After Bernie’s victory in Wisconsin, State Rep. David Bowen (D-Wisconsin) became the first of the states ten super delegates to jump onboard team Sanders. Though not a super delegate, veteran and Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) quit her post as the vice chair of the Democratic National Committee to support the Sanders campaign. Change is possible, it just takes a leap of faith that you’ll be caught on the right side of history.
So my pitch to you super delegates is this — side with us. Vote for Bernie Sanders. It’s true, Hillary can offer you a temporary injection of cash into your campaign coffers. But we can offer you something Hillary cannot, longevity. The average age of a Hillary Clinton supporter is approximately 800 years old. The average age of a Bernie Sanders supporter is seven. Think about who will be around and voting in elections for the next twenty to thirty years. Think about those who are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty when campaigning for candidates that support the ideals of the American people, and against those who suppress the will of the public.
Millennials aren’t as lazy and disengaged as we are portrayed to be. We organize, we create viral content, and we donate. Together, with Bernie Sanders at the helm, we can revitalize the Democratic Party, and elect candidates who support policies like a $15 dollar minimum wage, universal healthcare, and equal pay for women. We are the future of this country and more so than ever before, in this election, we are watching how you vote. As Spike Lee (another Bernie supporter) would say, it’s time to “do the right thing.”
Michael Schirtzer is a comedian and political activist based in Los Angeles, CA. He successfully managed a city council campaign and now spends most of his time telling dick jokes at dive bars.
For more comedic/political musings and other strong opinions follow @MicSchirtzer on Twitter.