Well, we can thank the lengthy and competitive race for the Democratic nomination for bringing to light any number of rules and political players during this current nomination season. I mean, who among you was talking about the primary/caucus in Texas in 2004? Did Al Gore even care that there were superdelegates in 2000? And what about the timing of nominating contests? That never warranted any discussion before this year. Well, I suppose that has been discussed some (here and elsewhere).
As we glance forward at the race post-North Carolina/Indiana there are a couple of related questions that come readily to mind: 1) What are the numbers? and 2) Is it over? I'll leave the latter to the pundits and Hillary Clinton. The former, however, has been covered and seems to point toward the affirmative on the latter (See, the pundits are already at work.). If you are Hillary Clinton and her campaign, though, you are trying to find a way to cobble together an unlikely coalition of delegates to somehow pull this thing out. We all know the math on the pledged delegates and the superdelegates, but what about these mysterious unpledged, add-on delegates? Could this potentially be a hidden bastion of support that Clinton could use to get her close enough to Obama's tally; close enough that legitimately begin making the electability arguments again?
Possibly, but it's doubtful. There are only 76 add-ons (81 if you count Florida and Michigan's) and this group insn't going to act anymore monolitically than any other group of Democratic delegates. In fact, Obama already has a lead among those add-ons that have been selected. Most are selected at state conventions (others by committees of state party leaders) to represent their states as unpledged delegates to the national convention. Only a hanful have been chosen thus far but more will follow as the process transitions into the state convention phase for both caucus states and primary states.
Want more? If the link to 2008 Democratic Convention Watch isn't enough, NPR ran a story on the add-ons just last week as well.
Kansas is Back in for 2012! But for How Long?
The Electoral College Maps (5/7/08)
Identity Politics (Brazile v. Begala)