Thoughts on the Democratic Nomination
That raises an interesting question: To what extent can a party nominate its most electable candidate? Suppose you are a superdelegate convinced that the party's strongest candidate is Clinton. Also suppose, as will almost certainly be the case, that Obama has won significantly more votes and more delegates in the primaries. How free are you to vote for what you see as the good of the party? Part of the point of having superdelegates, presumably, was to let them do that—but will it work?
There are two reasons it might not. The first is democratic ideology—not limited to the Democratic party. Primaries are a sort of mini-election. That is presumably one reason why so much attention was given to who won each state, even though delegates were being split roughly in proportion to votes, making the difference between 51% and 49% less important than the difference between 49% and 46%. If Obama won the primaries it is unfair, undemocratic, for him to lose the election. If he does, his supporters will feel betrayed, cheated, and may stay home, perhaps eventually defect from the party. Even among those who had no strong views on the nomination, the picture of a democratic choice reversed by power brokers in (metaphorically) smoke filled rooms may cost the party votes.
The second reason is individual self-interest. The more delegates Obama starts the convention with, the more likely he is to win the nomination. If Obama is nominated and elected, it is in the interest of the individual superdelegate, a professional politician making his career within the party he will head, to have supported him. Combining these effects, I think it very unlikely that the superdelegates will reverse the verdict of the primaries, even if a majority of them think Clinton the more electable candidate. If I am right, then the addition of superdelegates does not in fact solve one of the problems it was intended to solve.
I should perhaps add that my reason for considering the possibility of a Clinton win is not wishful thinking. At this point, I regard Obama as pretty clearly the least bad of the candidates.
More than that, I think there is at least an outside chance that he might improve things, shift American politics very slightly in the direction I want it to go. It's worth remembering that the big shift in New Zealand, from a very dirigiste system to something much closer to a free market, was done by their equivalent of the Democratic party.
Just as the recognition of communist China was done—some would argue had to be done—by a president with a reputation as an anti-communist.