Nearly 40 percent of the delegate votes are controlled by 842 "super delegates" - people like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and other past and present elected officials who collectively make up the party's Establishment. No one votes for them and yet they have a tremendous amount of control over who the party's nominee will be.
Super delegates were created in the wake of George McGovern's disastrous 1972 presidential run (he won only one state and the District of Colombia). Party bosses exploited his defeat to throttle the left within the party and argue that the Democrats had to move to the right if they wanted to win elections.
Nevermind the fact that in 1992 people voted for Bill Clinton hoping that he would deliver on his promise of universal health care and a decisive break with Reagan's all-out war-on-the-poor. In 2006 they claimed that their victory at the polls showed they had a mandate to force Bush to execute a slow, steady, incomplete withdrawal from Iraq, even though a majority of Americans favor a total withdrawal. And in 2008, Clinton or Obama will be elected because voters are desperate for a radical break with Bushism although the election of either will certainly begin an era of Bushism without Bush.
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