Washingtonians Hound Superdelegate Who Supports Clinton After Constituents Favored Sanders

Bernie Sanders crushed Hillary Clinton in Washington’s caucuses Saturday, yet state Rep. Rick Larsen, a superdelegate, is ready to vote for her anyway. Sanders backers flooded Larsen’s Facebook account, demanding that he honor the will of his constituents.


“Superdelegates,” explained The Guardian’s Trevor Timm in February, are roughly 700 members of Congress, governors, mayors and other party elites “who aren’t elected by anyone during the primary process and are free to vote any way they want at the [nominating] convention.”

Washington voters overwhelmingly favored Sanders over Clinton, 72 percent to 27 percent, in Saturday’s Democratic caucus. The Vermont senator carried every county in the state—and voters in Whatcom County, where Larsen keeps an office, chose Sanders by 81 percent.

Roughly one day after the results came in, the following graphic appeared on the Facebook walls of social media users across the state:

Sanders’ supporters answered the call in droves. Beneath Larsen’s posts wishing constituents Happy Easter and congratulating the University of Washington’s Huskies basketball team on making it into the Final Four, comments like these appeared by the thousands:

Some commenters struck a strident tone, threatening to vote Larsen out of office if he refuses to switch his vote.

One user started a Facebook group—“Rick Larsen- Represent Those you Represent”—aimed at organizing voters to place sustained pressure on Larsen.

petition urging other Washington state Democratic superdelegates to support the candidate chosen by the electorate garnered 25,800 signatures by mid-Monday. Those officials, all of whom publicly backed Hillary Clinton, include Gov. Jay Inslee, U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, and U.S. Reps. Jim McDermott, Suzan DelBene,  Adam Smith, Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer.

Washington Democratic Party Chairman Jaxon Ravens and other officials said they’d remain neutral until after the caucuses.

Will Larsen and his cohort listen? Elected officials fear disgruntled voters. If Sanders’ supporters get Larsen to change his vote, it will stand as another in a long line of this election cycle’s repudiations of the common view that people power is a dead force in American politics. And voters elsewhere may be emboldened to take similar action.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.