New York's Democratic Superdelegates
February 12th, 2008

The news coverage of the Democratic presidential nomination is increasingly focused on the superdelegates, the 796 unpledged party officials who may have the power to decide the race if it remains close until the convention.

According to CNN’s estimates, Senator Hillary Clinton currently holds the support of at least 224 superdelegates versus 135 backing Senator Barack Obama. The blog 2008 Democratic Convention Watch is trying to keep track of who is supporting whom on its superdelegate watch list.

Today, New York Magazine’s blog asks the local question, “Who are these people who have the power to, well, take power away from us?” The list of local Democratic superdelegates includes Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Charles Schumer, Eliot Spitzer, all of the Democraticrepresentatives to Congress, and even the head of the teacher’s union Randi Weingarten. In a New York Sun article, superdelegate and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez says she is voting for Clinton and won’t be swayed by the results of the popular vote across the nation.

In an editorial today, The New York Sun recalls Margarita Lopez Torres, who was blocked from running for a judgeship in Brooklyn by the local Democratic Party. Torres took her case all the way to Supreme Court, which ruled by a vote of 9 to 0 that the party could choose its nominees by its own methods.

“If the nominating fight [for the presidential nomination] among the Democrats ends up in the courts, the determining Supreme Court opinion may well be one that emerged from the clubhouse politics of Brooklyn, here in New York City, from a candidate for a Brooklyn judgeship, Margarita Lopez Torres,” the Sun writes.

To see exactly what it takes to be a (regular) Democratic Party delegate in New York, read this document from the party Web site.

By on February 12, 2008, 10:38 am
In category: Electoral Politics,Governing | 1 Comment »

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One Response to “New York's Democratic Superdelegates”

  1. Nigel Assam Says:
    February 17th, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Dear Representative, Superdelegate, Undecided Voter, and Fellow Citizen:

    People say a lot and say they know, speaking from their hearts and minds.

    This is what I know.

    Mr. Obama is from a diverse, international family. Inherent in him is the world at large. Growing up, I often heard, but you are different, you seem different, you are quite okay yet you operate from a different sensibility. And I responded, of course yes, I do not have those issues, I embrace. You see I was born to a family that looks like the United Nations, from one end of the spectrum to the other. It is pleasing to hear Mr. Obama refer to his family as a mini-United Nations because I have said this about my family for many years.

    Mr. Obama is someone you can relate to. He speaks like a big brother or uncle you admire and can understand. In contrast, others sound like grandparents that make it easy to say, come on gramps, get with it, this is 2008.

    Mr. Obama was a constitutional law professor. Clearly he has a firm understanding of our Amendments under the Constitution that govern us and knows how they have been used for, by, and against us.

    Mr. Obama was a civil rights attorney. He has an informed and intimate working knowledge to cast opinion and to appoint an Attorney General and a Supreme Court justice.

    Mr. Obama gives inspiring, uplifting speeches. It is reckless to downplay his words and suggest that if you say it often enough and loud enough then anybody can be inspiring or convincing. Wrong. Everybody cannot be convincing. Only a few like Ghandi, Dr. King, and JFK are called to this tall order. The evidence is that we are down to two Democratic candidates, and Mr. Obama is now the front-runner. I do not underestimate the power and value of words. Language is a tool mightier than the sword. If other candidates cannot inspire or even convince us to vote – ordinary folk who do not show up to the table with scholarly advisors, spin doctors, and hidden agendas, how will they convince Independents to join the mission, convince Republicans and Democrats to reach across the table in compromise for the greater of the better good, convince Iran to not create nuclear weapons, convince China to remain friendly and not recreate a cold war, convince Africa to stop genocide, convince the world that in our American core we are cooperative and do believe in peace, convince perpetrators to stop the hate and violence, convince citizens that public service is not just for political gain or just a job, but a duty whether it is small neighborhood watches or building national highways, whether it is looking out for our communitys children or saving a tree, an ocean, or another species on the planet? If candidates cannot convince young men and women to care enough, then how do they begin to prepare them to take over the business of the country when their time comes? Mr. Obama is mobilizing and uniting us.

    Mr. Obama possesses good character, judgment, and wisdom. If you stand for peace and unity, if you respect your spouse and family in private and in public, if you are willing to make tough calls that go against the grain, if you are willing to listen to the cries and call of the people, if you can represent the 2 out of 20 and also share a vision that speaks to millions, then you can lead. Experience comes in many forms and ways, and shows up in your message and actions when times are tough and when times are good. Just because you have not lived in the house yet does not mean you do not know what kind of house you want to run and it does not mean you do not know by simply opening a window fresh air will come in. Mr. Obama is fresh and says he knows what kind of government he wants, one that is again for and by the people.

    Mr. Obama is honorable for running on his own merit and voice and not on the backs of others strengths or weaknesses. He is not running on anyones record but his own. Imagine applying for a job and bringing along your spouses resume or the resume of a deceased president in order to secure the promotion. By that action, you have already implied that your abilities are lacking, that your own resume cannot stand on its own. Why do we keep looking back to the 90s or 80s when we need to look ahead? Dont we remember that those records were not totally spot-clean but in fact tarnished? Looking back, that is not heart. Mr. Obama forges ahead, that is heart.

    What is so tried and true and tested about any candidate, really? None were president before. It isnt like your resume says anchor at the Today Show and so now you can be anchor for CBS News. Like 9-11, no one can totally and accurately determine what will come in the next 4 years. But Mr. Obamas upward fight and resilience throughout his life tells me, no matter what comes, he will be present and of clear mind, he has stomach and heart, and stamina. Nothwithstanding any other life journey, his campaign alone tells me all of this.

    Mr. Obama had an independent-thinking, feminist mother. He has two grandmothers, educated sisters, a brilliant wife, and two daughters. Argue his gender if you will, but it is virtually impossible to not absorb some of the female energy that shared and shares his space on earth, and thus he is informed and sensitive to the culture of women. I know. I have a strong mother, sister, and many aunts and female cousins who helped shape my outlook. I am also not afraid to admit that I have dated well-educated women who have taught me a thing or two about life as female. Mr. Obama is right for women.

    Is Mr. Obama running a campaign of emotion? Somewhat yes, and I approve. Isnt fear an emotion? Hasnt the country and other campaigns run on fear? Hasnt others lead a cause that says your religion, your family structure, the way in which you save or end a life, whether its an unborn, a senior citizen, or an imprisoned person, gives you a powerful consciousness over others, that they should feel better than we, more right and just? I would rather feel empowered, and feel I have choice and chance, hope and optimism, to live freely and still be you or me and not all be you or all be me, instead of living in a fearful, dark, mistrusting, and archaic vacuum.

    Mr. Bush campaigned for a kinder, gentler nation, yet he waged a war. I believe Mr. Obama is the one to achieve a kinder, gentler, decent nation where people are less isolated, less afraid, more tolerable, and have a greater regard for their lives and life in general. If we feel we matter, if we appreciate and value our lives, we also respect other lives and choice of life ways and hopefully wont so easily take and destroy life. Can he achieve this kind of nation? He is already on the road to doing just that. He has created a place for himself at the table of domestic and world affairs. He has brought great hope, inspiration, respect, and promise to the Democratic Party. The world is watching and waiting anxiously. I have relatives in Europe and other parts of the world who say their communities and media are tuned in and focused on Mr. Obama. They are all talking about him and hopeful as we are. Democrats abroad have voted, and no doubt have voted for Mr. Obama. We are a global world, lets tell their stories too.

    Imagine an American brown face negotiating with leaders in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. One layer of mistrust already shed because he looks familiar to most parts of the world. They will look at Mr. Obama and see themselves standing in democratic form and how possible and effective that is for us and can be for them too.

    What kind of name is Barack Obama? For most of my life, my name has been mispronounced, even among friends and people I have worked with for years. I usually do not create a wedge, they are well-intended people, but secretly I sometimes want to say, stop and take the time to address me correctly. It is okay to ask me how to pronounce my name than to fumble and play it off time and time again. I do not expect everyone to get it right at first, but I do hope for people to have the courage to ask because that sends a signal to me that they are willing to learn and embrace or include the difference. Regarding the name Barack Obama, his is a name that sounds the bell loudly that it is also possible for an Asian, Hebrew, Cuban, Arabic, German, or English name to be on the executive team because they are all American too. That Mehmet Oz, Simran Sethi, Linda Sanchez, Mae Jemison, Ann Curry, Sanjay Gupta, Fouad Ajami, Alice Walker, Christiane Amanpour, Michael Moore, Kierra Johnson, Saqib Ali, James Zogby, Mazie Hirono, Soledad OBrien, Paula Aboud, Herb Kohl and Cornel West can be senior advisors because we want critical thought and not yes men and women. By the way, where are the Arab Americans and Muslim Americans in this talk, especially the many he represents in the state of Illinois and those who should vote for him in Texas? They should be offended that people want to hide or make fun of or be afraid of Mr. Obamas given name, Hussein. Are we sure we want equality and to embrace diversity, or is that only for some? I was raised Catholic and do not adequately know about the Muslim faith. But to me, I feel I know enough to say that it is an injustice to equate all Muslims with terrorism to the point that some are scared just by the mention of a name, say, Barack Hussein Obama. You are afraid of a name? What about character, intention, and actions? Maybe this circles back to our educational system. How can a nation be big and vast and powerful and advanced, yet as a people our scope and exposure so narrow that we are narrow-minded?

    Mr. Obama is a U.S. Senator and was a State Senator and before that a community organizer. He was grass-roots, part of the street team working towards improvement. He has seen the corners, blocks, yards, and streets. When he is finally on the avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, he will have had a front-row view from the bottom up. From the Tower, he cannot say he does not know the ground, and will not be afraid to be on the ground. How is that for experience?
    Mr. Obama talks about hope, and the underbelly of that is self-esteem. Hope lights the heart and lifts esteem. While the facts are thrown about on gun violence, obesity, school dropout rates, drug/alcohol abuse, and strife, at the core is how we view and value ourselves which effects how we view our families, our neighbors, our government, and our world. We are measured by the less of us and not the more. Mr. Obama, please continue to heal our nation. For those who need it, continue to give us permission to hope and dream and live an informed and purposeful life instead of one that is angry, desperate, fearful, and always ready to fight than talk.

    Mr. and Mrs. Obama are the American Dream to aspire to. They are a shining example to emulate. With pride and persistence and an impermeable faith, they stand as an example of what courage and an education in and out of the classroom can accomplish. They are a beacon of hope for their children, our children, and children around the world. I am the son of immigrants to America. My family worked hard each and every day, accepted the challenges, brushed off the scrapes and bruises, and sacrificed tremendously to ensure I had a childhood and a promising adulthood. We were never on welfare and I went to public schools. They seldom complained and were generous at heart. Through the good times and the not so good, we always had each other. My mother was an optimist and my father a bit of a pessimist. My father would challenge me by saying, are you sure you can do that, and my mother would reinforce by saying, go ahead and try, you will do fine. Together, they gave me humility. I thank them everyday for who I am. I feel in my heart, that the Obamas understand this, because if you came to America in the 1700s or 1900s or just got here this year, the dream is the same.

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