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Meet the new bosses, same as the old bosses

   WASHINGTON … Once upon a time 40 years ago, presidential primaries were nothing more than beauty contests, and every delegate was a "superdelegate" -- a party insider who got to go to the convention and choose the presidential nominee.

   And now, the long and contentious battle between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama has turned the last primaries into beauty contests, of a sort, which will serve as guideposts for the 306 remaining superdelegates who will decide the Democratic presidential nomination.

   In other words: meet the new bosses -- same as the old bosses (although, granted, there are fewer of them).

   Talks with superdelegates and other sources Wednesday showed that those undecided superdelegates are not likely to be swayed by Clinton's 10-point win in the Pennsylvania primary.

   Instead, the Pennsylvania results are more likely to simply freeze this race in place for at least another two weeks, as the superdelegates watch what happens in the May 6 primaries in Indiana and North Carolina.

   In other words, after five months of primaries and caucuses and tens of millions of dollars in campaign spending and maybe 30 million votes cast, the Clinton-Obama contest will be decided by 306 people.

   That's Democratic, under the party's rules.

   But how democratic is it?

  -- Jerry Zremski


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