Editor's note: Jason Rae is a Democratic superdelegate from Wisconsin and has pledged his support to Sen. Barack Obama. He agreed to blog for 360° about his experiences.
Everyone was eagerly awaiting the text message from the Obama campaign last week. I was with a bunch of students at the University of Denver when it arrived in my inbox. And let me tell you, I was enthusiastic beyond belief! I think Senator Joe Biden is and will be a fantastic choice.
I first got the opportunity to know Senator Biden while I was a page in Washington DC in fall 2003. He is a leader who has worked for decades in Washington, but has never lived there. I remember him telling the pages how it takes the train each day from Delaware. He's an expert on foreign policy. He is perfectly suited to serve as Barack Obama's partner in the urgent mission to bring about the change America needs put our country back on track.
Everyone I talked to about Senator Biden, young and old, male and female, whatever demographic you want, was absolutely thrilled to have his name on the ballot. The firmly believe that the two make a group team and am excited to see them move forward.
Democratic superdelegate supporting Barack Obama's presidential candidacy, and student at Marquette University in Wisconsin
GOP strategist Ed Rollins raises some important questions about Senator Barack Obama, writing in an earlier blog on this site: Who is Barack Obama ? What does he really believe?
Ed is completely correct that Senator Obama is extremely articulate and extremely ambitious. He is extremely bright. But what Ed doesn’t tell you is just how much Senator Obama cares about this country.
Instead of getting a high-paying job after law school, like his classmates, Senator Obama returned to his home of Chicago and worked as a community organizer. He helped communities struggling in a weakening economy. He helped families who need extra assistance. Sure, he could have been out in the courtroom making millions, but instead he focused on helping people, something he will do as president. That is why he has already proposed the “Making Work Pay” tax credit of up to $500 for American workers, and $1,000 for working families. This will cut taxes for 150 million Americans. Senator Obama is committed to fighting for working class families.
Jason R. Rae
Democratic superdelegate and Obama supporter
I firmly believe that at this point in the Democratic primary nomination there is no such thing as an undecided superdelegate. Instead, what we have are undeclared superdelegates.
These remaining 300 or so people all very likely have a candidate they personally prefer, but are just waiting for the right moment to make it public. One of the key things they are waiting for is the result of tomorrow's Pennsylvania primary. So what are potential Obama and potential Clinton superdelegates looking for tomorrow?
Those who are decided for Senator Clinton but have not yet announced, are looking for a large win to show that she has the potential to remain an active player in this race. They want to see a decisive victory of at least 10 points.
The same thing goes for those decided for Senator Obama but not yet pledging support. Pennsylvania has always been an uphill battle for Senator Obama. So while a loss would be disappointing, a narrow loss would be seen as a positive in a state where Clinton had been heavily favored. It would indicate his recent problems have not really hurt Senator Obama's electability and that he still remains a viable player in big swing states.
Everything hinges on tomorrow. I have a feeling that after the results, we will see a surge of superdelegates announcing their support for one of the two candidates, bringing one of the two candidates much closer to receiving the 2,025 votes needed to win the nomination.
I was glad to see the joint statement today by the DNC and the Florida Democratic Party over the seating of the Florida delegation to the Democratic National Convention. Governor Dean deserves to be applauded for his continuing efforts to make sure that the voters of Florida are heard and represented.
However, I want to urge caution to Governor Dean and the rest of the Florida delegation. The statement says: “We are all committed to doing everything we can to ensure that a Florida delegation is seated in Denver.” The only thing that can be done though is to allow for a revote of some sort, be it through a primary or a party-run caucus. Anything short of that, such as seating the delegations as is, and we open the floodgates for an even messier nomination process in 2012...
Editor's note:Jason Rae is a Democratic superdelegate from Wisconsin and has pledged his support to Sen. Barack Obama. He agreed to blog for 360° about his experiences.
A special convention of just the superdelegates? That is an idea being proposed in a New York Times op-ed by Tennessee governor, and fellow superdelegate, Phil Bredesen.
In his op-ed he suggests that should the Democratic party not have a nominee when the primary process is done on June 3, the superdelegates gather together and help decide the nominee. I remain optimistic that we will see a nominee coming out of the primary system.
Now, should I be wrong on this prediction, I don't think a special convention of superdelegates is a good idea. This solution that is being proposed only intensifies the arguments over this nominating contest and the role of superdelegates.
I have been an outspoken supporter of the superdelegates, stating time and again that we are regular party activists. We are not a bunch of party insiders sitting in a back smoke- filled room. We come from all backgrounds, all walks of life, and share a deep interested in the love of the party.
But I think the idea of bringing us all together without all of the other pledged delegates is a bad idea. This makes it look more and more like backroom deals are going on and that this small group of convention delegates is deciding the party's nominee, without the involvement of other delegates and interested individuals. In the very rare chance that we will not have a nominee after June 3, I think it is important to decide the race at the convention, with everyone present and participating.
The decision to select a nominee should not be the decision of superdelegates alone, but should include all 4,049 delegates. Thank you, Governor Bredesen for your idea, but I just don't agree.
- Jason Rae, Democratic Superdelegate
Prior to my endorsement about three weeks ago, my phone was ringing constantly. I was getting calls from voters in Wisconsin and across the country who were encouraging me to support this candidate or that candidate. I was getting calls from the campaign staff who just wanted to check in to see how things were going and if I was ready to make an endorsement. And then I was getting calls from the candidates and their surrogates, such as President Clinton and Senator John Kerry.
However, now that I picked the person I intend to vote for at the national convention, all that has stopped. And that isn’t a bad thing by any means. When I was on-air with Anderson in February, he told me that they would “drop me like a hot potato” and they did. But trust me, I‘m not complaining. For me this has been an exciting opportunity along the way to talk to leaders within our party and to learn from some of the best political minds about how the process works.
For me on a very personal level, its good to have had things quiet down for a bit. I needed to get back to my studying for a little bit, so that midterms wouldn’t be too rocky. And I think this just goes to help illustrate the point I have been trying to make all along: super delegates are not party insiders in a backroom. Superdelegates are regular party activists, like myself, who make room for politics in our free time.
We are a diverse group of individuals who care about the party but are also busy being students, working full-time, having a family, etc. Sure, we may have gotten an extra call or two, but in the end, we are activists like yourself who care deeply about the direction of the party and the country.
What should we as members of the DNC do about Florida and Michigan? This is a question I have been getting asked a lot recently and for good reason. Florida and Michigan are two very important states, especially in terms of the electoral college in November. So people want to know the answer to the elusive question: will their delegates be seated at the convention?
I’ll lay it out there for everyone: as of right now, if they do not do a revote, I intend to support not seating their delegations in Denver. While this is rather harsh, I think that to show some semblance of order, we cannot change rules mid-stream. I have nothing against the people of either state. In fact, I really like both a lot and I love the state leaders there. However, they broke the DNC rules. They had 30 days to change their dates before being sanctioned. They did not change the dates to be in compliance with DNC rules. As such, we shouldn’t be seating them in Denver. If we allow one state to break the rules this time, we are just opening the flood gates to allow other states to do the same thing in 2012 and beyond.
Now, with that being said, I am completely open to them disregarding the results of the non-compliant events and holding a re-vote. While state parties are still working out details, I think it should be a goal to have a plan in place by the middle of this week on how we intend to include Florida and Michigan in the process. I welcome their plans and hope we are able to find away to involve these two important states in the Democratic National Convention.
Senator Clinton did what few thought she could do: she won both Texas and Ohio. By doing so, she was able to breathe some life back into her campaign to allow her to continue on the quest for the Democratic nomination. Obviously, yesterday’s wins give Senator Clinton some major headlines and some great momentum. But despite her impressive wins yesterday, I am still solidly behind Senator Barack Obama.
I firmly believe that Senator Obama is the best candidate to lead the party and the nation forward. I think he brings with him a new sense of energy and hope into the party. When I look at who can win in November, I think the choice is evident that Senator Obama stands the strongest possibility to beat Senator McCain. As I see the exit polls from yesterday, I continue seeing him winning among the youngest generation of voters. For any candidate to win in the general election, they need to engage and win the support of new voters.
Now these next few days the talk will focus on the overall delegate count: Which candidate can reach the magic number of 2,025? While I still firmly believe that we will have a party nominee by April 22, there is this possibility that we won’t. And if that is the case, it comes down to the elusive superdelegates. I would urge my fellow superdelegates not to get caught up in any of this “momentum-hype” following yesterday’s results. It is the role of the superdelegates to step back and carefully examine the two candidates and determine which one is best positioned to lead the party and the country forward. I think when they do that, they will come to the same conclusion that I have come to: that Senator Obama is the clear choice to be the Democratic Party nominee.
Editor's note: Jason Rae is a Democratic superdelegate from Wisconsin and has pledged his support to Sen. Barack Obama. He agreed to blog for 360° about his experiences. (WATCH JASON ON 360°)
According to CNN records, 185 superdelegates have pledged to Senator Obama and 236 superdelegates have pledged to Senator Clinton. That leaves just about 373 superdelegates up for grabs and those superdelegates most certainly will have a close eye on what is happening in Ohio and Texas on Tuesday. So what are superdelegates hoping to see on Tuesday?
First, superdelegates want to see a clear winner. In the Democratic field, we are left with two strong, viable candidates seeking the nomination. When it came down for me to decide who to support, it was a difficult decision and I think this is one of the main struggles we are seeing with superdelegates. They are happy with either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama and thus they are hoping to see one candidate really get a commanding lead on Tuesday. If that happens, I am thinking we will see a huge influx of superdelegates jump on board that candidate's campaign.
Second, superdelegates always have the best interest of the party at heart. While certainly dragging this nomination out to convention would be a sight to see, doing so would be harmful to the party. We need to unite behind a candidate as quickly as possible in order to be successful in November. As such, and much like my first point, if one candidate has a resounding lead in pledged delegates coming out of Tuesday, I think that superdelegates will also be quick to endorse and help select a final nominee so that we can work on uniting as a party.
Superdelegates will be watching CNN very, very closely on Tuesday night to get election results. I'm starting to think this may be the end of the primary process right here.
Editor's note: Jason Rae is a Democratic superdelegate from Wisconsin. Rae has been courted by both campaigns and agreed to blog for 360° about his experiences. He was a guest on 360° last week. (WATCH JASON ON 360°)
After my appearance on AC360° last week, I received hundreds of e-mails. They covered the spectrum, from people saying they wished me the best of luck to people who couldn't believe I'm a college student on the Democratic National Committee.
The ones that disturbed me the most suggested that I'm too young to be a superdelegate. One wrote, I have "no life experience."
Sure, I'm 21 years old and have never voted in a presidential election before. But what does that matter? I have spent years already being involved with the party. I used to ride my bike to county party meetings and put off doing homework so I could volunteer for candidates. To some, that isn't enough. They want someone older, more experienced.
I think it is actually great to have someone like me as a superdelegate. It's great that superdelegates can be a diverse group of people. It's great that we have people from all generations helping to decide the party's nominee.
Just because I haven't voted before in a presidential election, I don't think that should preclude me from having a say now, should it? Don't you want someone from America's newest generation of voters to help determine who will win the nomination?
I thank you all for your e-mails and comments, but I'll be honest. I don't think I'm too young.
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