May 8th, 2008
04:51 PM ET

Who will decide the Democratic Party's nomination?

Leslie Sanchez
GOP Strategist and 360 Contributor

My friend Donna Brazile is upset with me.

On Tuesday night, I explained that Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspiration will ultimately rise or fall on the deal making that will occur among the Democratic Party elite in smokeless back rooms at the Denver convention.

When I spoke this truth on CNN, Donna looked at me like those were fighting words. She pointed out that she is a “superdelegate.

”Well, Donna, I respect you greatly and I know you’re not an elitist, but it’s not you I am talking about. Nevertheless, you are defending a system that gives the insiders—rather than the people—final say over who will be your Party’s nominee.

In Denver, Hillary has several options open to her. She can twist the arms of “superdelegates.” She can force a floor fight over the seating of the disputed delegations from Florida and Michigan, both of which are in her pocket.

The folks who pull the levers of the machinery that makes all this work are, by and large, in debt to one or both Clintons for something.

For Hillary Clinton it’s not about the wishes and aspirations, hopes and dreams of millions of Democratic voters across the country. It’s about the deal she can cut with the Democratic Party elite (meaning elected officials and party bosses) to get her the nomination.

There are some—like my friend Donna—who don’t play that game. But most of the superdelegates are professional politicians.  And as longtime FDR aide Louis Howe once said, “You can’t adopt politics as a profession and remain honest.”




Filed under: Leslie Sanchez • Raw Politics
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Charles

    It is ridiculous to listen to Rush Limbough's rants. Americans are more intelligent than that. He is merely trying to say he matters ... which he doesnt. He is trying so hard to gain some credit.
    Believe me if X happens, he'll claim he had something to do. and if Y happens, the same!
    Come the general elections, all Democrats will be united. simply because the over-riding urgency is that we need to get rid of the present attitude and set of people from white house.

    May 9, 2008 at 9:59 am |
  2. Debbie, NJ

    Leslie I think you have enough to worry about with your own party before you put your 2 cents ( and I literally mean 2 cents) into the Dem party. This nomination is not going to be taken over by the Superdelegates. The people are voting. Obama has most won most states,most popular, and most delegate count and he has had these for months. And the FL and MI votes are not legal since both names were not on the ballot and the FL and MI leaders are to make the decision on how to be seated in the Convention not Hillary. Don't try to take the public eyes off of your non electable candidate. McCain will lose be it against Obama or Hillary. He is just a warmonger and only the selfish who don't have to worry about themselves or loved ones going to war, losing thier homes, putting more money in oil companies pockets, losing their jobs, sending the children to college can see anything worthwhile in McCain. So we Dems will appreciate you keeping your comments on TV and we really don't care about your fight with Donna. I will be looking forward to any other comments from you and respond, like I did with Lanny. I am an Obama supporter and will be watching you.

    May 9, 2008 at 9:48 am |
  3. steveda - Poconos, PA

    It is simply disingenuous to say that the superdelegates ashould overturn the will of the dem party faithful that voted in elections all across the country. If the ultimate decision is going to be made by the supers, and the primary results do not count, why bother spedning the millions of dollars to run them?

    The question people is this ... are we a democracy, will we elect a leader, or will the aristocrats of the party simpluy annoint their favorite? The same people that decry the loss of voter rights in Florida and Michigan seem to favor ignoring the votes in 30 other states. Doesn't that sound hypocritical to anyone other than me?

    lets talk about Florida and Michigan for one second.... Those state governments CHOSE to move their primary dates even though they knew the consequences. When it became a point of contention, BOTH states addressed the issue in their legislatures and decided NOT to hold a second primary. Again, the state government made that decision, not the DNC, not Obama. Now there is a push to count those primaries as if they were fair elections. This is not Russia, we hold fair elections. In Michigan Hillary received 55% of the vote, and she was the only major on the ballot. That is hardly a win. In both states, the electorate KNEW the vote would not count and as a result some untold number of dems did not participate. As a result those elections are illegitimate. Period. They cannot be counted and this race will be over way before they can revote them at this point.

    May 9, 2008 at 9:46 am |
  4. Claudia

    Favors or non-favors that superdelegates or any political insiders may owe the Clintons, there is more at stake here and they all know this. To turn over the will of the people to pay a favor back to the Clintons will not fly, so it ain't going to happen.

    May 9, 2008 at 9:44 am |
  5. Charles

    I'm a working class, blue collar WHITE MALE. And I have been greatly offended by what Hillary Clinton said. She portrayed us as RACISTS and BEYOND LOGIC !
    As if we cannot decide for ourselves on merits of a candidate and all we look for is the skin color!
    I was on the fence so far. But with Clinton's divisive attitude I have found it very EASY to vote for Obama.
    We are NOT racists and are definitely intelligent enough to recognize issues matter not skin color or gender.
    I am extremely disappointed with Clinton's view of us white workers.

    Make mine Obama

    May 9, 2008 at 9:44 am |
  6. Dee n Texas

    If Hillary wants to go to the convention, she will be going with no superdelegates – they are going to switch to Obama and the uncommittted will go to Obama also. The superdelegates are not going to allow Hillary to damage the party the way she and Bill wants to. They need to just join the Republicans and leave us alone. If Obama puts her on THAT TICKET – I will no longer be a support for him - I will vote for Ralph Nader. Obama could find more respectable women in these United States to put on his ticket.

    May 9, 2008 at 9:04 am |
  7. Jesus

    I have watched Leslie Sanchez on CNN several times and she is one of the most divisive, uninformed, borders on racist Republicans I've ever seen. She hides behind her Latina background, but trust me people this lady is a monster in high heels.

    She doesn't have the american people's best interest at heart. She's all about Leslie Sanchez and what riches she can gain by destroying Democrats.

    She can't even speak Spanish and she's very anti immigration, even though she is one of the lucky ones that is intimidated by others like her.


    May 9, 2008 at 8:52 am |
  8. Michelle in CA

    If Hillary manipulates a nomination it will be the second death knell for democracy in this country. The first was George W.’s election by equally despicable means. Any politician with any scrap of decency left acknowledges Hillary is increasingly revealing an astonishing absence of judgment and character. If she was elected, how could we face the rest of the world when it would be common knowledge the Clintons openly strong armed themselves into the Whitehouse using racial bias, threats, policy flip flops, right-wing covert operations and underhanded deals to manipulate voters and force their "friends" (God help them) and political hostages to forfeit their children’s futures for what? So Hillary goes down in history as the first woman president? She is not worthy to be president! Understand, I would vote for a woman president in a heartbeat if I felt she was the best candidate. Hillary is not the best candidate by a long shot! I pray Hillary Clinton steps down with some remnant of dignity. Her audacious narcissism and stunning self-interest are so blatant she appears to be going mad in her frantic play for power.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:49 am |
  9. mike, ohio

    common,you clinton supporters remind me of someone who wont let thier dog out if hes pacing by the front door.Its time to let it go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Obama has and will have more delegates and the popular vote in the end---Ok you want to count flordia FINE!!!!!! but common Michigan I think thats just the dumbest thing ive ever heard of,there is a reason Its not worth the time or money to do.Obama will definately gain more votes than 0 he got in Michigan and what Hillary might gain10 more delegates(thats pushing it) in the 2 states.So whats the big deal do you want Obama to take A larger lead of popular vote than delegates into the convention?We dont get it and media sould report this.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:29 am |
  10. Barbara Greene

    In the words of Dr. Martin Luther Kinb: "I have a dream."

    My dream is of a new media who will make a resolution for the year . Report the news minus your (obvious!) current political bias!

    Since your are (also obviously!) choosing the next President of the United States responding to my dream should be easy for you.


    May 9, 2008 at 3:15 am |
  11. Jim

    Obama was given a hard time over his comments in Pennsylvania. Hillary keeps referring to uneducated bluecollar whites as those who support her. It seems like this is much more insulting to the voters.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:10 am |
  12. Myriam Marquez

    I will not, not vote for Obama. I have voted Democratic in every election for 35 years. If Hillary is not the candidate, I will write her name in, if it is possible, or not vote for president. For the first time, this election is personal to me.

    May 9, 2008 at 3:05 am |
  13. Chris

    First, let me say I am non-white voting Republican, who until recently thought he could not stomach a third term of Bush’s policies, and who planned to vote for a Democrat this election. But, I have now grown tired of the ongoing debate and the obvious bias for Obama in the liberal media. I am so offended by the exit polls, and the liberal political pundits who have relentlessly point out that you have be stupid and white to vote for Hillary. For parity sake, answer me this… Of the 90 % black voters that voted for Obama in the recent NC primary, how many actually have college degrees?

    Further, if people would see that in a race where we have what appears to be two fairly equally matched candidates, one might expect the vote amongst all demographic groups to be some more evenly split between the two. However, this even distribution of votes does not appear to be the case. During the primaries we continue to see a consistent break down of “White” vote of about a 60% to 40% split between Hllary and Obama respectively. While in contrast we have seen a roughly a 90% to 10 % split amongst the “Black” vote, with 90% of the vote going to Obama. So, who is more racist?

    I for one would like to make an informed decision based on facts not passion or emotion. I could find myself get behind Obama if, and only if he would actual talk more about the “What” and “How” of the change he is constantly talking about. Until he defines the “How” all you really have is just a beautiful speech. I have no doubt that Obama will receive the nomination, but as for me I will voting for McCain. And if Obama actual wins, I would suggest the following slogan for his second term, “No More Excuses.” Now you have your candidate you can make no more excuses for your failures.

    May 9, 2008 at 2:09 am |
  14. Ola from CA

    Indeed Hillary seems to be canvassing only for blue-collar vote, doesnt any other vote matters to her, in fact her campaign today seems to be disturbing. She mention all other votes that matters..., doesnt African-American votes counts. Doesnt she know just a single vote count.
    I think she is not real, she knows what she want (to get to DC) and not what Americans want.

    May 9, 2008 at 1:37 am |
  15. Jamie Marks

    I can't tell if Hillary is running for the Democratic or Republican nomination. She's pandering so much to the blue-collar, gun-toting, gas-guzzling, bomb-the-enemy so-called Reagan Democrats that you wonder what's next? Her policy reversals are stunning! Will it be a newfound anti-abortion stance? What does this woman believe in? Apparently nothing - except her doomed presidential bid. And I'm a white, 55-year-old woman who's just appalled. It's shameful!

    May 8, 2008 at 9:54 pm |
  16. Mary

    With a friend like you no need, thanks but no thanks

    May 8, 2008 at 9:53 pm |
  17. Suzette

    Oregon: What the heck are you talking about?

    May 8, 2008 at 9:40 pm |
  18. Erma

    Blacks have been in america since there was an america, not by choice, however we love our country. We have made great contributions to this nation and yet we still are treated the same. How can we embrass other countries and there people and we can't do our own , America needs to do a self check. Please remember we are all God,s creation whether you believe it or not. This election has brought out the true nature of our people. It,s ashame how people act. I guess all persons over the age of 30 have to die out to change this nation. GOD Bless Americans Mind

    we have

    May 8, 2008 at 9:40 pm |
  19. Paris

    Rush did what he did to create chaos not that Obama was difficult to beat in the general election. Rush never said that.
    Stop the lies.

    May 8, 2008 at 9:35 pm |
  20. cory,fl

    obama will not win in november, people would realize if they looked at how the primarys went, sorry but thats how it is

    May 8, 2008 at 9:33 pm |
  21. Teresa

    What about HILLARY'S supporter's ? I am so tired of hearing how disenfranchised the Obama camp will feel if the superdelagates give the nomination to Hillary. I mean the media constantly makes it a RACIAL thing. I keep hearing how can the superdelegates take away the nomination from the first african american ? Easy ... if he can't come up with more substance on the issues and he keeps polling behind McCain. I think we they should give it to the candidate who can beat McCain and certainly out debate him. How About asking the question how can they take the nomination away from the first woman ? I wish we could get past all this. I'm hispanic and do not agree with Sanchez at all. I don't think this will be decided with shady politicians
    in smoke filled rooms unless of course we let the Republicans decide the outcome for us.

    May 8, 2008 at 9:32 pm |
  22. Oregon here

    I let my 11 year old daughter know what Hillary was quoted as saying, she said, "Mom, I am ashamed of my skin color and my gender, how can we be proud of our country when this is being said?"
    I am dumbstruck, my jaw dropped and then I reminded my daughter about how far we have come in the last century or so. The only thing that I can really say to her is that it is up to us to help change the mindsets of yesterday. Together we can!
    DeFazio come out already and support Obama!

    May 8, 2008 at 9:17 pm |
  23. Spider


    "Using my washboard" has it's origins from a long time ago also. If a journalist used that statement in an article about washing clothes today, he/she would be incorrect, as using the term "smoke filled" room today is incorrect.
    Common sense.

    May 8, 2008 at 9:16 pm |
  24. Annie Kate

    Whoever decides the nomination – the voters or the super delegates need to really look at who can beat McCain. Rush Limbaugh used to tell his listeners to vote for Clinton because the GOP thought she would be easily defeated – now they have changed their tune and want Obama as the Democratic nominee because they believe they can beat him handily. Its going to be a long ugly march to the election in November.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 8, 2008 at 9:14 pm |
  25. Tammy From New York

    All I know Leslie Sanchez is if Sen. Obama wins the general election it will open the doors for other minorities and Hispanics to run for office inwhich they don't even support him. So if Sen. Obama does win I guess we'll have more hispanics running for office. Isn't that nice of him.

    May 8, 2008 at 9:13 pm |
  26. p

    I have been a CNN viewer for years. I've always considered your broadcast fair to both sides. But I must tell you that throughout this democratic race all of your commentators seem to be Obama lovers. If that is your personal view – that is fine. However, try to hide it more when you're delivering information to the public. In case you have forgotten true journalist are suppose to deliver the facts NOT personal opinion!

    May 8, 2008 at 9:02 pm |
  27. Tammy From New York

    Throughout this general election, I believe Hillary Clinton has lost the African American vote. African Americans have supported the Clintons throughout the years but her resilence, lack of respect, and belittlement of an African American candidate has ruined her chances of winning a general election in 2008 and 2012. Hillary Clinton's name on a ballot will ensure her opponent a high African American support. Sen. Clyburn has worned Sen. Clinton about this disfrantisement in African American Community. However she continues to belittle the accomplishments of her African American candidate stating he cant win white votes undermining that it is her who has lost the black vote. African Americans don't feel the need to support her and thats a problem she would have if Sen. Obama is not nominated or looses the general election. The problem is neither will she.

    May 8, 2008 at 9:01 pm |
  28. Boris

    Good points, the Clinton's won't quit until they're forced out and most Dems will feel disenfranchised if the Supers give it to her. Can't really see Hillary as much of a gracious loser either. Will be interesting to see the pressure on her after the last primary if she doesn't concede, as there's two months of dead air until the Dem convention.

    May 8, 2008 at 9:00 pm |
  29. Spider

    Our disagreement is exactly why the Democratic Party is so divided that we may never be able to unite and elect either one of these candidates in the General Election.
    Rezco and Wright.
    "I have never been in church when my pastor gave sermons such as those being shown."
    Is a good thing, but most of us with ambition do a good job while we climb the ladder of success. "Present" votes in Illinois congress. Appointed chairman of a Senate committee to review the war and has yet to hold a meeting, because was too busy climbing that ladder.

    I could go on on each topic and you know that.

    May 8, 2008 at 8:47 pm |
  30. xtina, chicago

    response to "G" – the best thing conservative leadership can do for the Latin community is to remove heavy taxation as those Latinos make their way up the economic scale that this country is free to offer them.

    May 8, 2008 at 8:46 pm |
  31. Faith

    The question is:

    If supporters won't vote for their choice's rival should he/she get the nomination, would they reconsider if their choice was in the VP spot?

    May 8, 2008 at 8:43 pm |
  32. pauline

    Why is Hillary staying in the race? Because her argument to the Superdelegates is that Obama cannot win the general election without the Demographic that she claims belongs to her....women, working class, un-educated, below 50K earnings and even some catholic voters. By staying in the race, she can continue to pull these votes away from Obama and make her argument to the Superdelegates....that the general election cannot be won without these key group of voters. Obama should not put his campaign on " Auto-Pilot" and allow Hillary to play out her plans...Obama should campaign rigorously to attract these voters and defeat her at her own game. Since the Superdelegates still have not indicated who their support is for, there is reason to believe that this is what Hillary has spoken with them about with regards to the nomination in Denver.

    May 8, 2008 at 8:43 pm |
  33. Victoria

    Interesting how I hear so many Clinton supporters say they "wont" vote for Obama but you do not hear Obama supporters saying they wont vote for Clinton. Who are the real Democrats in this fight? Who truly wants to see the Republicans gone? Who really wants change? And who are just spouting off at the mouth?

    I admire Clinton's fight, I admire Obama's belief in change. I admire the intelligence in both of them and I admire both of them for their desire to serve this Country. It is not an easy job and the real enemy is the corporations that now have not only the money but increasingly more power. Can't we stick together and fight this without taking sides within the party?

    Are you part of the problem or part of the solution? You need to ask yourself this.

    May 8, 2008 at 8:42 pm |
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