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February 5, 2008

What Super Tuesday Looks Like From Space

Posted: 08:19 AM ET

If you're old enough to remember the Twentieth Century, you're old enough to remember a time without early voting, electronic voting, MeetUp.com (the hotspot four years ago), MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, and candidates without entire brigades of staffers devoted to outreach and fundraising online. The great leaps forward continue: Four years ago, Howard Dean blew away online fundraising records by raising $27 million online. Barack Obama beat that total in the month of January alone, and Ron Paul may not be bringing in huge vote totals, but he's an internet juggernaut.

It was only a matter of time before Google Earth met the campaigns.

"Superdelegates" are the designated convention delegates who aren't bound by what's decided in the Democratic primaries or caucuses. A site called superdelegates.org has plotted out who they are, where they're based, and which candidate, if any, they're supporting. It exists as an overlay file for Google Earth at www.superdelegates.org.

Click on the link if you've signed up for Google Earth, and you'll be transported to the Google globe; pull into the U.S., and you'll see a coast-to-coast array of Superdelegates - those committed to Obama, to Clinton, or to no one at all. The site also links to Wikipedia bios for each delegate. Although Wiki bios have often been criticized as less than objective, the site is still a decent source of basic info on who the Superdelegates are. While clearly focused on the Democrats' race, the superdelegates.org site describes itself as independent of the Dems' party apparatus.

On the Republican side, the "Superdelegate" rough-equivalents are called "Unpledged Delegates." No Google Earth overlay there yet, but stay tuned.

This site didn't really help me understand why the parties have Superdelegates and Unpledged Delegates. And absolutely nothing will help me understand the Electoral College. But it's one little insight into one cyber-smoke-filled-room on the Campaign Trail.

Peter Dykstra, Executive Producer, CNN Sci-Tech

Filed under: Uncategorized


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James   February 5th, 2008 10:53 am ET

I am amazed at how science and technology have come of age. I am trying to figure out where the world will be in ten years' time.
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Margaret Ellis   February 5th, 2008 11:12 am ET

The superdelegates web site appears to have been shut down this morning!

Wasn't the billpaid? Or maybe somebody didn't like that page? ? ?


Christopher O.   February 5th, 2008 11:19 am ET

Peter,

The parties have superdelegates to retain a degree of influence over the nomination, their argument being that the constituency might, in the primaries, elect a candidate who they believe might not be able to carry the general election, or who they don't think is the best choice in general. In this way they have given "party elders" (senators, governers, Bill Clinton, etc.) votes that are not tied to the electorate's choice, to give the party the choice to override a candidate the people have chosen.

Inarguably, it means that any insurgent candidate will have to battle a lot of superdelegates who typically vote for the establishment candidate. I think it's wrong, but there is an argument for both sides.

Chris O.
Obama for President!!!


Margaret Ellis   February 5th, 2008 11:31 am ET

It's back up again.


Rick Klau   February 5th, 2008 12:29 pm ET

Greetings – the site was down temporarily (Peter's got a lot of readers!) but is back up and should be working. Thanks for the link – and I'd love any help in filling out the biographical data. As you might imagine, profiling 800 individuals can take some time. 馃檪


www.actionforspace.com   February 5th, 2008 7:10 pm ET

I think that what is more important than what super Tuesday looks like from space is what super Tuesday means to space. McCain, Romney, Clinton and Obama all have different statements about space policy. http://www.actionforspace.com has tools to contact the candidates and tell them what you think about space policy and why it is important.


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