Congressional Endorsements in the Presidential Nomination Process: Democratic Superdelegates in the 2008 Election
Examining congressional superdelegate endorsements in the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, the authors show that changes in the political context affected the balance of factors in members’ decisions to endorse Clinton or Obama. Specifically, the national standing of the candidates became increasingly important—and local opinion less important—to Obama endorsements even as constituency views became a stronger influence over Clinton endorsements. The findings reveal how constituency considerations affect the elite endorsement choices that shape the presidential nominating process. In addition, the analysis highlights the ways in which members of Congress balance conflicting considerations in a changing political context when an issue plays out over an extended period.