Super Delegates Can End the Democratic Race Right Now

Shortly after Super Tuesday, DNC Chairman Howard Dean sounded a relatively optimistic note, noting his belief that Dems will have a nominee "sometime in the middle of March or April." If not, Dean said, he intended to "make some kind of an arrangement."

Well, it's the middle of March, and road ahead still looks awfully long. The superdelegates, who will ultimately make the difference in the process, are feeling more than a little antsy.

Lacking a clear route to the selection of a Democratic presidential nominee, the party's uncommitted superdelegates say they are growing increasingly concerned about the risks of a prolonged fight between Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, and perplexed about how to resolve the conflict. [...]
While many superdelegates said they intended to keep their options open as the race continued to play out over the next three months, the interviews suggested that the playing field was tilting slightly toward Mr. Obama in one potentially vital respect. Many of them said that in deciding whom to support, they would adopt what Mr. Obama's campaign has advocated as the essential principle: reflecting the will of the voters.
Mr. Obama has won more states, a greater share of the popular vote and more pledged delegates than Mrs. Clinton.
The NYT noted that the party leaders and insiders are "uncertain about who, if anyone, would step in to fill a leadership vacuum and help guide the contest to a conclusion that would not weaken the Democratic ticket in the general election."

I can't help but find this all a little odd. The superdelegates need not look for someone to fill the vacuum and guide the contest; they can fill the vacuum and guide the contest. If they believe a prolonged fight would be bad for the party, they could choose to effectively end the process -- today.

It's a fascinating NYT article, but it left me with the impression that superdelegates are missing the point of their role entirely.

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