There is a very real chance that no single winning candidate will emerge from the mess that is currently the Democrat 2020 presidential primary. Should such a situation become reality, Democratic Party superdelegates may be able to either pick one of the top candidates as the most viable option — or even select a presidential candidate who didn’t even bother running.
It seems ironic that the superdelegates would have such power, given the fact that the DNC recently voted to strip some of their power from them as a concession to angry Sen. Bernie Sanders voters who felt that the party conspired against him in order to hand the nomination to Hillary Clinton in 2016. However, because Democratic superdelegates are allowed to vote in the second round of voting, they actually hold tremendous power if regular delegates cannot agree on a single candidate.
It doesn’t seem like most Democrats are worried about the possibility of a contested convention. After all, media pundits predicted a contested GOP convention back in 2016 due to the number of Republican candidates who ran at the time, and such a convention never materialized. However, there are a few reasons why Democrats should be aware that a frontrunner may not emerge between now and 2020.
First of all, the Democrats don’t have a single candidate who is far ahead of the pack. Former Vice President Joe Biden could have become such a candidate relatively easily, but recent scandals surrounding his “hands-on” interactions with women and children may doom his campaign even before it’s announced.
The DNC primaries also require a proportional split of delegate support instead of the “winner takes all” system used by Republicans. Furthermore, many states are moving their primaries ahead and this could result in even lackluster candidates getting enough support to continue their presidential run. Naturally, no-one expects every single Democrat contender to hold their ground from now to the DNC convention; however, it only takes two or three leading frontrunners to create a contested convention.
If a contested convention should occur, any Democrat who wants the nomination will start going after superdelegates to get the support they need. The superdelegates, unlike regular delegates, can literally vote for whoever they want. This means that they don’t even have to vote for someone whose name is already on the ballot.
While picking a candidate could have disastrous results for a party that is already viewed as having ignored the will of the people last time around, there are a couple reasons why superdelegates may consider such a move.
A “unity candidate” who was not involved in the rough and tumble of the nomination process may be more acceptable than a candidate who was on the ballot but didn’t earn enough support to win the nomination outright. This is particularly true if such a candidate can work out “back room deals” with all the other nominees, promising them cabinet positions in exchange for their support during and after the convention.
Alternatively, superdelegates who may be concerned about the viability of an overly progressive candidate may opt to pick someone more centrist. In the latter instance, it would probably be impossible for a centrist “unity candidate” to win the support of progressive voters who may opt to stay home on Election Day.
There is no telling how the Democrats will pull themselves out of the mess the party is currently in. The large number of potential candidates, coupled with the fact that the DNC makes it relatively easy for candidates to continue campaigning with only a small amount of support, could very well lead to a contested convention. Should such a scenario occur, it would almost certainly divide the Democrat Party far more than the 2016 debacle did.
If you think that election was rough, that could only be the tip of the ice berg.
~ Liberty Planet