I was thinking about the super delegate issue this morning and I’d like to offer my two cents.
District and At Large Delegates are, in essence, Citizen Delegates to the National Convention. They are elected from the rank and file based on their presidential preference. That is, they aren’t just a group of uncommitted Democrats who are forced to vote in line with a particular percentage of the vote. They are people who have worked hard on behalf of their chosen candidate and were elected to the National Convention BECAUSE they are going to support their candidate. No Clinton supporter is going to be elected a Sanders delegate, and vice versa. That is, a Clinton delegate’s vote is theirs to give. Like super delegates, they have declared their allegiance in advance of the convention and even though no vote has yet been cast at the national convention, we still count them, even though we may not yet know who they are.
The same goes with the pledged Party Leaders and Elected Officials (PLEO) who are distributed based on the statewide vote or preference percentage at their state convention. They have aligned with a candidate, and will be chosen from the slate of that candidate at their respective State Conventions. We count them too, even though we may not yet know who they are, nor have they cast their vote at the national convention.
The unpledged PLEOs (super delegates) are already designated delegates based on their place in the party as a federal elected officials, state party chairmanships or DNC membership status, not their presidential preference. These are the only delegates whose names we know in advance. But, like the elected delegates, their vote is also their own to give. All of these groups have earned their slot through years of commitment to the Democratic Party. (Thank goodness I do not have to compete with one of them for a delegate slot at the national convention. I wouldn’t stand a chance.) But we insist on not counting them, even though they, like the elected delegates above, have declared their preference AND are included in the total needed for nomination.