Jake Tapper had the Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz backed into a corner on Thursday when he asked her about the superdelegate controversy.
The real issue behind the superdelegate situation is that when Bernie Sanders won in New Hampshire this week in the primary, taking 60 percent of the vote against Hillary Clinton’s 38 percent, they both still walked away with same amount of delegates from the state due to a controversial practice that the party has had in place now for a number of years as Tapper said.
According to the Washington Post, Jake Tapper had Shultz on his program yesterday, just before the Democratic Presidential debate, and forced her to answer a question that has been burning in the back of Sanders supporter’s minds.
Jake Tapper came right out with his question when Schultz was live on the air with him. Tapper reminded her that Sanders beat Clinton by 22 percent, which was the largest margin of victory in a Democratic primary contest for nearly half a century. But even by Sanders winning by such a landslide of votes, Clinton was still awarded 15 delegates, which was the same amount that Sanders walked away with.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 11, 2016
Before we move any further with what happened in the interview, here is just a quick refresher as to how the delegates were awarded. New Hampshire awards 24 delegates total, and they are divided out proportionally to the candidates according to their voters. That meant that Sanders walked away with 15 total delegates following his win and Clinton got 9 delegates from the vote.
The Democratic Party in New Hampshire also awards 8 superdelegates, which are basically party insiders who do not have to award their pledge based off of voters that turned out to vote for their candidate. They can pledge to either candidate of their choosing. Clinton got 6 pledges from the 8 superdelegates. Two of those superdelegates remain unpledged at this time.
According to Jake Tapper, that basically means that Sanders got a total of 15 delegates awarded to him from New Hampshire. Clinton also got a total of 15 delegates awarded to her from New Hampshire as well.
Again, Sanders won the primary contest in NH 60 – 38. They are both now walking away with the same amount of delegates, as if they were tied.
So when Jake Tapper asked Schultz how she plans to explain this to the young people of New Hampshire that voted this week, most of which were overwhelmingly in favor of Sanders, she seemed to really dance around the question and gave a complicated “non-answer.”
“Well, let me just make sure that I can clarify exactly what was available during the primaries in Iowa and in New Hampshire,” Schultz told Tapper. “The unpledged delegates are a separate category. The only thing available on the ballot in a primary and a caucus is the pledged delegates, those that are tied to the candidate that they are pledged to support. And they receive a proportional number of delegates going into the — going into our convention.”
Schultz was clearly uncomfortable answering Jake Tapper’s question, but she still continued to try and explain it without really satisfying the equation of the issue.
“Unpledged delegates exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grass-roots activists,” Schultz told Tapper. “We are, as a Democratic Party, really highlight and emphasize inclusiveness and diversity at our convention, and so we want to give every opportunity to grass-roots activists and diverse committed Democrats to be able to participate, attend and be a delegate at the convention. And so we separate out those unpledged delegates to make sure that there isn’t competition between them.”
— Herman Cain (@THEHermanCain) February 12, 2016
After she wrapped up her response, Tapper replied by letting her know that her answer really did not seem to satisfy a young voter’s perspective on the issue.
It became immediately clear that Jake Tapper had a time factor involved with the interview and he was unable to press her any further before he moved on with other questions.
You can watch the interview below.
[Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for A+E Networks]