After a massive win Saturday, Sanders' backers in Washington state are demanding superdelegates follow the vote of the people. Many of them have backed Hillary Clinton.
Supporters of Bernie Sanders are demanding Washington’s 17 “superdelegates” fall in line and support Sanders if he wins today’s caucuses.
A petition circulated on MoveOn.org demands those delegates “follow the lead of average Democratic party voters and uphold authentic democracy.” The petition was started by Charlie Best, who works for the King County Labor Council, but said he was acting as a private citizen and not for the organization.
Sanders backers have chafed at the less-than-democratic superdelegate system, in which top elected Democrats and party officials are automatic delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Unlike regular delegates, the superdelegates are unpledged, meaning they are free to back whichever candidate they want, regardless of their state’s caucus or primary results. Those superdelegates nationally have favored Hillary Clinton by a huge margin. That’s true in Washington too, where a majority of the 17 superdelegates have endorsed Clinton. Republicans, by contrast, have no superdelegate system.
“To be able to have these delegates that have no accountability to the Democratic Party members seems to me to be a tad undemocratic,” Best said in an interview. “When the party base speaks, the leadership should follow the lead of the party base.”
Washington’s superdelegates include Gov. Jay Inslee, U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, and U.S. Reps. Jim McDermott, Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Adam Smith, Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer – who have all publicly backed Clinton. Other superdelegates are state Democratic Party officials, including chairman Jaxon Ravens, who have said they’ll remain neutral until after the caucuses.
As of Saturday morning, the petition had more than 6,000 signatures. By Sunday evening, the number had risen to nearly 23,000. One signatory from Seattle warned elected leaders, “You work for us. We want Bernie. Respect us or lose your job.”