Dear ColorOfChange.org member,
Voters should decide elections, not politicians.
Tell the CBC to support our vote, not undermine it.
Voters in places like Atlanta,1 Brooklyn,2 St. Louis,3 and Inglewood4 have made clear their choice for president: Barack Obama. So why are some members of the Congressional Black Caucus threatening to use their power as "superdelegates" to undermine those votes and nominate Hillary Clinton?5
Voters should decide elections--not politicians. And members of the Congressional Black Caucus should amplify the political voice of their constituents, not silence it. Join us in demanding that the CBC to listen to the voters; tell them to vote with the people, not against them.
Voters in almost all the districts represented by the CBC have chosen Obama, helping him win more delegates than Clinton. But only some delegates vote based on the results of primaries. A fifth of the delegates that will vote at the convention -- and decide the nomination -- are "superdelegates" that can technically vote however they like, regardless of what the voters say.6 These superdelegates are members of Congress, senators, governors and Democratic party insiders. In a contest this close, they have the power to overturn the will of voters, and decide the outcome.
Representatives Jesse Jackson Jr.,7 John Conyers,8 Eleanor Holmes-Norton,9 and others have called for superdelegates to listen to the voices of those they claim to represent, but we need to convince their colleagues to do the same. At least 11 Black members of Congress might cast their superdelegate vote for Clinton, even though their districts voted for Obama. Many endorsed Clinton, usually before any voting had taken place. But even after their constituents showed an overwhelming preference for Obama, most are refusing to say what they'll do as superdelegates.10
In 2000 and 2004, CBC members stood up to defend the rights of Black voters that had been disenfranchised. It would be a disgrace for its members to now undermine the votes of Black people in their districts. Rarely have Black voters across the country been so unified behind a particular candidate; if CBC members vote against their constituents, it will diminish the power of Black voters in a historic election that could result in our country's first Black president.
It will take courage and conviction for CBC members to break with back-room politics and stand up for democracy. But we must demand it. Please join us:
Please join us in calling on members of the Congressional Black Caucus to cast their superdelegate vote for the candidate chosen by their constituents:
Thank You and Peace,
-- James, Van, Gabriel, Clarissa, Mervyn, Andre,
and the rest of the ColorOfChange team
February 19th, 2008
P.S. Here's what Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D.C.'s Congressional Delegate) had to say about her role as a superdelegate:
As a super delegate, I decided I had to speak up now to separate myself from the idea that is afoot for the first time that super delegates, especially those who have not announced their choice, could or should decide our nominee under some circumstances. The notion that a candidate who has not earned delegates could become the Democratic nominee for president is at odds with the democratic principles of our party reforms. Super delegates were never intended to allow the return of smoked-filled room, behind the scenes selection of our candidate. I have carried a banner for a democracy of the District of Columbia too long to depart from principles of democracy within my own party.11
Here's Donna Brazile (a strategist who ran Al Gore's campaign and has a position with the DNC):
If 795 of my colleagues [the other superdelegates] decide this election, I will quit the Democratic Party. I feel very strongly about this.12
1. Huckabee, Obama Celebrate Wins In Georgia, WSB-TV, 2-7-2008
2. New York Primary Results, USAToday.com
3. Election Summary Report, City of Saint Louis
4. California Primary Results, USAToday.com
5. Black lawmakers backing Obama press colleagues to heed voters, The Hill, 2-16-08
6. "Superdelegate," Wikipedia
7. "The delicate superdelegate predicament," Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., Op-ed in the New York Times, 2-12-08
8. See reference 5.
9. "Deciding Between Two Good Friends, Norton Chooses Obama," Hotline On Call, 2-12-08
10. See reference 5.
11. See reference 9.
12. "Democrats dreading a drawn-out, costly battle for nomination," CNN.com, 2-8-08
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