The superdelegate — it’s the term being tossed around every time a Democratic primary or caucus is held, votes are cast and delegates assigned to a candidate. But what is a superdelegate?

We wanted to know more about the Democratic Party’s unique (and fairly recent) addition to its presidential candidate selection process. So, we looked into it, sitting down with Dr. Matthew Parks, Assistant Professor of Politics at The King’s College in New York City.

The first thing to know is that superdelegates are unique to one party — the Democratic Party.

Parks explained that the superdelegate is something Democrats introduced into their process in the 1980s. Dr. Parks told us the superdelegate was created  ”after the party elites got worried that they had given up too much control with the 1968 reforms.”

At present, the Democratic Party confers superdelegate status to more than 700 elected democrats, party insiders and others inside the state and local party machines.

After Democratic primary and caucus results are finalized, each state allocates the number of delegates to candidates based on the rules of that state. However, superdelegates are unbound by the election results, free to give their support to a candidate regardless of the will of the voters.

Dr. Parks pointed out some of the problems with the Democrats’ quirky election anomaly: “Even before we get to the convention, the superdelegates have a disproportionate influence in the overall trajectory of the race,” he said.

“Ironically, the Democratic Party have an undemocratic consequence in the overall choice.”

Watch Dr. Parks break down the superdelegate:

Listen to the subject of Superdelegates discussed on TheBlaze Radio.


Reason.TV took a slightly different, more comedic look at the superdelegates. Watch the clever spoof here.
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