Todays Washington Post has an op-ed column by Jim Hunt, former governor of North Carolina in which he defends the role of superdelegates in the Democratic Party. Heres a crucial paragraph:"In creating superdelegates, the Democratic Party recognized the expertise that its top holders of public office have gained by running for office themselves. They are experts at winning. They know the issues. They are in a unique position to evaluate presidential candidates. They have a well-honed instinct for how candidates will be received in their own states and districts. In short, they can help the Democratic Party pick a winner."In addition, the involvement of the superdelegates is necessary, Hunt argues, if these leaders are to be enthusiastic in support of the candidate in the general election. The failures of the McGovern campaign and of the Carter administration are traced to the failure to appreciate the role of the superdelegates. The conclusion:"Too often, the Democratic Party has been split between its grass-roots activists on one side and its elected officials and party leaders on the other. It's important to remember: We need both wings to fly."Comments?

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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