My Aunt Jenny the Superdelegate

By: - February 14, 2008 2:45 pm

 MSNBC has this to say today about aunts and superdelegates:   

“How can a person become a superdelegate? My aunt is wise and is very politically active,” wrote another reader, offering his own nominee.

Well, dear reader, maybe your aunt should be a superdelegate, but she is not, unless she happens to be one of the following:

* A Democratic governor, a senator, or a member of the House of Representatives

* A member of the Democratic National Committee, elected by party activists in her state

* A distinguished party leader…

* An at-large DNC member…

Well, my Aunt Jenny fits into category number two, as an elected DNC member from the far-away state of Oregon.  Take that MSNBC!  And yes, she is being lobbied hard at the moment.  Although she’s out of town, her high-school age stepson let her know via email that Michelle Obama called for her today.  This just seems crazy — “Can you take a message honey?  I’m cleaning the downstairs bathroom.”

Jenny Greenleaf makes the point when people have written about her that she’s not some power-broker, just someone who worked hard in several Oregon campaigns and got elected to the DNC as a result.    In fact, it’s pretty difficult for me to think of her as a superdelegate.  Jenny’s the kind of aunt who let me drive my grandfather’s Plymouth around town one visit to North Dakota when I was thirteen years old – and no, there weren’t any other cars around, we’re taking North Dakota remember. 

In the end, I suspect lots of the elected superdelegates fit into the Aunt Jenny category of ordinary people who’ve put in long hours working on state campaigns and are committed enough to the party to want what is usually a pretty obscure job.  Heck, I’ve been working around state politics for years here in Raleigh and don’t know most of the ones from North Carolina elected to the DNC.

Hopefully, a majority of superdelegates will also fit into the mindset of Aunt Jenny too – they plan to stay neutral until after their state’s primary and before then won’t favor either candidate.  In the end, I think it enormously unlikely that superdelegates will tip the primary result away from the decision reached by voters.  The disillusionment by the vast numbers of people, especially new voters, now participating in the primaries would just be too damaging to the Democrats.

It must be nice though to have all those famous people calling you and asking for your thoughts.  Maybe Michelle Obama will start calling me now it’s out who my aunt really is.

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