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Election in the Balance

February 22, 2008 8:25 AM

Dear Democratic super-delegates,

The burden you bear is great. And the decisions you make in Denver will reverberate for generations.

I have spent this election cycle encouraging people to care again. In the offices, boardrooms and the streets, I tell you, the cynicism runs deep.

The last two presidential elections should have made us all believe that every vote counts—that every vote is critical—and that we can make a difference. But regular folk, particularly the young ones, remember the 2000 presidential election. They watched nine justices take democracy in their own hands—and out of the people’s hands. And those young people were cynical long before the year 2000.

The result was a kind of nightmare for those of us who care about the future. The cynical voices multiplied and gained strength. It became cool to be apolitical and anti-democratic.

I can't tell you how many times in the last eight years I have had passionate debates with young people. Young people who were so proud of the fact that they did not vote. So proud of the stand they were taking against the system—not by standing up and protesting the system, but simply by refusing to participate in it. It all made so much sense to them.

But now, with this election, we have a chance. People are paying attention again. Young people are paying attention. They have started to believe that the audacity of hope is not a book title, but something more. We have a chance—you, the super-delegates, have a chance—to help people believe again.

Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign asked his supporters to write a letter to the super-delegates to explain why we are supporting his campaign for the presidency. I am writing with a very different message. I am a big fan of Sen. Obama and also believe Sen. Hillary Clinton has a lot to offer. Whatever happens, my message is simple: Support the popular vote. Whoever wins the most popular delegates, please, follow that vote.

If super-delegates are the deciding factor in this remarkable race that has united people, excited people and brought people back to the process, I firmly believe it will take decades to recover. And if the super-delegates ignore the popular vote or change the rules to add disqualified states into the process, the Democrats will lose the unlose-able election. And we will deserve it ... again.

Please stand up and be heard. Tell the world that you will support the people’s choice for the nomination—whoever that is. I beg you to make the statement even if you have already declared an allegiance. The reason is very simple: This matters. It is bigger than us. It is bigger than any candidate. It is bigger than any delegate. And we only get one shot.

Thank you for your time.

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