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ISSUE 121 VOL 19 PUBLISHED 5/2/2008

Superdelegate elucidates voting process

By Monica Southworth
Staff Writer

Friday, May 2, 2008

On Tuesday, the Political Awareness Committee brought political strategist and superdelegate Donna Brazile to campus as the capstone speaker in the 07-08 speaker series. Hosted in the Pause, there was a solid attendance.

As you can tell, there is no presidential debate tonight, Brazile opened to the audience. Im here, and youre here.

Brazile spoke about growing up as one of 11 children in Louisiana; she also spoke about her experience as a double minority (both African-American and female) on presidential campaigns.

Brazile has worked on numerous campaigns, including as a student organizer on Carters, Dukakis, Clinton, and Mondales campaign, others.

Brazile is a super-delegate for the Democratic National Committee, and she expressed that it wasnt until this year that people cared about her vote.

We dont wear capes. We dont drive bat-mobiles, and many of us cannot her the sound of a pen drop miles away, or even here. And you dont want to see us in spandex, Brazile said when explaining her role as a superdelegate. I have my nieces and nephews lobbying me for my vote. I tell them to clean their rooms first.

Super-delegates in the DNC are party officials given a vote during the primary process. There are 800 unpledged superdelegates, not determined by primaries and caucuses. Superdelegates come out in support of a candidate.

This year, because of the close competition, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the DNC encouraged delegates to go with their constituency, while DNC Chair Howard Dean is calling for all delegates to pledge by July 1, to hopefully end the race before the convention in August in Denver, Co.

They both would be good presidents so Im rooting for both.

In seven days the voters in North Carolina and Indiana will cast their votes. In 14 days, West Virginia voters will have their say. In 21 days, voters in Oregon and Kentucky will cast their ballot, and on and on until June 3, Brazile said.

Its not a tough decision, but I want to see all of the people who make up the Democratic Party to get a chance to say before us who are the super-duper delegates come in.

Brazile is a highly respected political strategist and super-delegate for the DNC. She works in television and is often seen on CNNs The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, American Morning, and occasionally during CNNs coverage of the presidential election. She also contributes to NPRs political corner and ABC News.

Brazile also discussed the success of the Democratic primary this year, the overwhelming financial support and the over 1 million voters registered during the primary process that began in January.

Brazile also noted that of independent voters, 51 percent over 37 percent lean toward the Democratic Party, a statistic that she found to be encouraged.

As a superdelegate, Im going to help solve another crises before we end this primary battle, and that is were going to make sure the voters in Florida and Michigan get seats in the convention, Brazile said, referring to DNCs removal of their delegates because they didnt follow the rules of the primary. It might be in the bleachers, but they will get seats, and they too will be apart of our great tradition.

She said she would return to Minneapolis for the Republican convention in September. But she told Republican supporters not to worry.

Im going to make sure that theyre having a fair process. Its important to make sure no one is stealing votes from John McCain, Brazile said. But I do like those Republicans; every time they saw me in New York, theyd try to buy me my last meal and send me on my way.

While superdelegates around the country decide which presidential candidate to support, Brazile explained the different ways of deciding.

She said that superdelegates can vote according to the will of the voters, by their own knowledge of the candidates, the candidates level of electibility, which candidate has more states, who is more likely to beat McCain and numerous other factors.

I want to make sure that we get it right, not only because it matters to the future of the Democratic Party, but to the future of America. Its about us, the American people; its about those who have been left behind, about those who have been lost, and about the needs of the vast majority of the American people.

Brazile continued by saying that she believes both Democratic candidates will fulfill her description of the best choice for president.

Brazile said that 80 percent of Americans want to see the country move in a different direction, and not all of these people are liberals, but conservatives and independents as well.

One point Brazile stressed was the shame in exploiting race for political gain. She also said the two candidates need to not take cheap shots at each other and keep the party as unified for the general election in the fall.

Brazile also talked about Rev. Jeremiah Wright, saying that he was a voice of the past, and that he sounded like her own father when she was growing up. She explained that Rev. Wright is unable to move forward like Sen. Obama has done in the attempt to overcome the issue of race.

Brazile praised both Obama for overcoming racial divides and Clinton for surpassing boundaries as a woman.

When we bring about this new day, well never have to worry about the glass ceiling or the signs reappearing in this country, Brazile said referring to womens and race issues.

Were offering you two great candidates, two great reasons to wait it out until that last vote is cast on June 3. Two reasons this country can become the greatest country in the world, and two reasons to go out on a cold wintry day in November and vote Brazile said.

Brazile also encouraged voters to vote all the way down the ballot, and to not get caught up in the presidential election because of the other state and city races going on as well.

I promise, for Hillary or Barack, Im going to go to all 50 states. Im going back out there because this election matters to you, and to me, and to the American people, and to the soldiers over in Iraq and Afghanistan risking their lives for us, Brazile said. Regardless of who youre backing tonight or who youll back in the fall, make sure you go out and back someone in November.

Brazile told her story of being politically active before she could vote and how she finding her way into the political arena.

She has worked on every presidential campaign since 1984, she ran the Gore-Lieberman campaign in 2000 and she served as the chair of the Democratic National Committees Voting Rights Institute.

She is also the founder and managing director of Brazile and Associates LLC, a public affairs and grassroots advocacy firm based in the District of Columbia.

After the talk, Brazile held a book-signing for her book, Cooking with grease: Stirring the Pots in America, a memoir about being a political activist.

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