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FixGov

Elections 101: Explaining myths about superdelegates

Elaine Kamarck

With the fervor in 2016 presidential election reaching new heights, the FixGov team decided to put together a video series on election basics. In this video I talk about some of the myths around the existence of superdelegates to the Democratic convention. For most of American history political parties nominated presidents in conventions composed almost exclusively of super delegates—primaries were either non-existent or “beauty contests” only—meaning that they didn’t matter in awarding delegates to presidential candidates. I also de-bunk some of the other myths about superdelegates such as the fact that the superdelegates have never, since 1984 when they were first in use, reversed the decision of the majority of voters in the primaries and caucuses. Watch the video for more:

Elaine C. Kamarck is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of

Primary Politics: Everything You Need to Know about How America Nominates Its Presidential Candidates. She is a superdelegate to the Democratic convention.

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