NPR- Bernie Sanders delivered the second-biggest rout in New Hampshire Democratic primary history, besting Hillary Clinton by 22 percentage points.
And with that huge win, one might think that Sanders would end up with the majority of delegates.
But Clinton may very well wind up with more of them (or at least be closer in the delegate count than the proportion of the vote total).
There were 24 delegates to be allocated out of the New Hampshire Democratic primary, based on the vote statewide and by congressional district. Sanders, obviously, won more of those, 15 to her 9.
And yet: Add in the "superdelegates" who have already committed to a candidate, and Clinton moves into the delegate lead. Six of the state's eight superdelegates have publicly said they will vote for Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in July. (Two are uncommitted.)
That brings the delegate total out of Tuesday night to a 15 to 15 tie.
This is what makes Clinton so powerful in the Democratic race — even while she and Sanders battle it out among rank-and-file voters, she has a massive lead among superdelegates. Altogether, she already has 394 delegates and superdelegates to Sanders' 44 — a nearly ninefold lead.
And as NPR reported last year, a Democratic candidate needs 2,382 total delegates (super or not) to win the nomination. Of those, 712 are superdelegates.
Superdelegates are party insiders of all sorts — they include state and national elected officials, as well as Democratic National Committee members. So a little-known DNC committee member might be a superdelegate, as well as former President Bill Clinton. And while state primary results help apportion the non-super delegates, the superdelegates get to pick whom they want.
But why? Electability, writes University of Georgia lecturer Josh Putnam, in a 2009 entry on his blog, Frontloading HQ. "The reason superdelegates came into being in the interim period between the 1980 and 1984 elections was to allow the party establishment an increased voice in the nomination process," he wrote.