Full Frontal’s Samantha Bee explains the Democratic Party’s superdelegates system
Samantha Bee returned Monday night and caught up on the ugliness that has erupted between the campaigns of the Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton since Full Frontal was last on the air, which has even trickled down to their supporters. The host pointed out that it’s gotten so bad that a Sanders supporter has made a “hit list” targeting superdelegates who have pledged their support to Clinton.
“Hey, cool the harassment. These aren’t female gamers,” Bee said. She then questioned whether they understood what superdelegates actually are, joking that she went away for two weeks to find out herself. Bee defended the practice by pointing out that “political parties aren’t the government” but instead are “semi-private clubs” who can choose their nominee in whatever ridiculous fashion they want.
She went on to explain that the Democratic Party “OD’d on democracy” after disappointing results for candidates like George McGovern, so in 1983 the party establishment sought to get more of a say in the process by coming up with the idea of superdelegates, who have the power to support any candidate they choose.
“Superdelegates’ only job is to act in the best interest of the party,” Bee continued. “That’s why they have never tried to override the will of the people. Not because they care about us; they don’t. But because pissing off the voters is bad for their party.”
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She added that if Sanders ends up getting more votes than Clinton, “her superdelegates will drop her faster than she drops her fake southern accent the second she leaves South Carolina.” This happened in 2008 when superdelegates began switching their allegiance from Clinton to then-Senator Obama as his campaign gained steam.
Bee added, “So if they’re not going to subvert the will of the people, what’s the point of superdelegates? Think of them as the driving instructor with her foot hovering over the brake.”
She then used the scandal-plagued John Edwards as a hypothetical example. News of his affair broke the day before the 2008 DNC convention, and superdelegates could have remedied the voters’ decision had he been in the lead.
“The point is, when Democratic voters have cause to regret their choice, superdelegates can help them fix it,” Bee explained. She maintained that superdelegates aren’t there to protect them from someone like Sanders, but instead from someone like Donald Trump, joking that “Republicans would give their left nut for superdelegates right now.”
Bee concluded: “So Democrats, when some jackass goads you into drunk-dialing a superdelegate in the middle of the night, instead of saying, ‘Hey, bitch, switch your vote,’ say ‘Hey, bitch, thank you.'”
Watch the full segment below:
The superdelegates system has become an increasing point of contention between Clinton and Sanders supporters, with the latter firmly believing that it is an undemocratic process that gives the establishment candidate an unfair advantage, and the perception that Clinton is much further ahead in the delegate count than she actually is. But as Bee pointed out, if Sanders were to overtake Clinton among voters after wins in upcoming key primary contests such as New York and California, the superdelegates who are currently pledged to Clinton could easily switch over to Sanders when they actually cast their vote at the convention.
While it may have irked some Sanders backers, this segment is just another example of how Bee has quickly become one of the leading voices of political satire in late-night TV alongside her fellow Daily Show alum John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, and increasingly, Late Night‘s Seth Meyers. Tune in to Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on TBS.