This chaotic Democratic nominating process must lead to two obvious reforms:
• The number of superdelegates needs to be reduced. This credential, usually little more than an honorific reward for party toil, should be restricted to public officials and, perhaps, state party chairmen. To have more than 300 party officials entitled to voting seats at the convention makes no sense at all. The party may have to reward its laborers, who are often volunteers, with free seats at the convention, but need not confer voting rights upon them.
• The Democratic Party should convert its contests to the winner-take-all format the Republicans largely use. The proportional representation system breeds the same kind of paralysis when used to nominate a candidate as it once caused when the French tried to select a premier during the Fourth Republic. The fact that John McCain can campaign with an increasingly united part y behind him while the Democrats tear each other apart subverts the latter party’s intention in front-loading its primaries and makes obvious the need for change.