Barack Obama's stirring victory in Iowa was also a good night for our democracy. The turnout broke records and young people – who were mobilized and organized – participated in unprecedented numbers. And now that Iowans have spoken – the first citizens in the nation to do so – here's the Democratic delegate count for the top three candidates (2,025 delegates are needed to secure the nomination):The super-delegates were instituted after George McGovern's disaster in 1972 to prevent wingnut enthusiasts from driving the Democrat party to ruin again. There's sure going to be a heap of whining in the Obama camp when Hill and Bill call in all their markers and distribute all the requisite bribes and threats. Obama could well win the majority of the elected delegates and lose on the first ballot due to the super-delegates.
Clinton – 169
Obama – 66
Edwards – 47
"Huh?" you say. "vanden Heuvel, you made a MAJOR typo."
In fact, those numbers are correct: the third-place finishing Sen. Hillary Clinton now has over twice as many delegates as Sen. Obama, and more than three times as many delegates as the second-place candidate, Sen. John Edwards. Why? Because the Democratic Party uses an antiquated and anti-democratic nominating system that includes 842 "super-delegates" – un-pledged party leaders not chosen by the voters, free to support the candidate of their choice, and who comprise more than forty percent of the delegates needed to win the nomination. Many have already announced the candidate they will support.
Where's the popcorn? This could be good!