Hunting the Hunt Commission

The private meetings that led to the creation of superdelegates have never been published or made public—until now.

In These Times Contributors

Carter delegates at the 1976 Democratic National Convention (Warren K. Leffler, Library of Congress)

Despite holding a nationwide series of presidential primaries and caucuses in which millions of voters participate, the Democratic Party still maintains a system of 712 party insiders who often have the final say on who the nominee is. Why did the party choose to institute such a system? To answer that, you need to go back to the Hunt Commission, which in 1982 invented the superdelegate.”

The proceedings of the Hunt Commission have never been published.

The proceedings of the Hunt Commission have never been published. In These Times gained access to documents housed in the National Archives, excerpts of which are reproduced below.

The pages here represent only a sample of the total material looked at by In These Times, which itself makes up a small percentage of the total proceedings of the Commission. Nevertheless, the documents presented here provide an exclusive window into the deliberation and motivations that led to the creation of superdelegates.

See the documents here.

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Democratic Rep. Summer Lee, who at the time was a candidate for the state House, at a demonstration in Pittsburgh for Antwon Rose, who was killed by police, in 2018. Lee recently defeated her 2024 primary challenger.
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