© Mary Schwalm
Superdelegates are facing an uncertain future, thanks to a compromise that was struck at the Democratic National Convention Rules Committee on Saturday.

Bernie Sanders supporters tried to introduce a number of amendments to eliminate or limit superdelegates’ influence in future elections, as they are thought to wield too much power over the democratic process.

While these efforts were struck down at the committee meeting, Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters agreed to a compromise to create a “unity commission” that will revise the rules surrounding the nomination process, including the role of superdelegates.

What are superdelegates?

Superdelegates consist of a mix of elected officials, the vice president, members of the DNC and former politicians such as ex-presidents – including Hillary Clinton’s husband, Bill – governors and senators.

Superdelegates were invented as a way for party officials to wield more control over the selection of a presidential candidate. They were established in the 1980’s following the election defeats of Democratic presidential candidates George McGovern and Jimmy Carter.

There are currently 713 Democratic superdelegates. The Republican Party, by comparison, has 298 superdelegates, which are limited to three members per each state’s national party.

Clinton managed to get the support of the majority of superdelegates early on in the primary season.

Democratic superdelegates are free to vote for whichever candidate they choose, regardless of the results of their state’s primaries. Republican superdelegates do not have this option.

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