Maine’s superdelegates are representatives, and they should represent the people, who voted overwhelmingly for Bernie Sanders in Maine’s March 6 Democratic caucuses. I contacted the Maine superdelegates who still endorse Hillary Clinton – U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, Maggie Allen of Madison and Peggie Schaffer of Vassalboro – to ask them to reconsider their endorsements.

I wrote: “… It is decidedly undemocratic to reserve a subset of delegate votes for state Democratic Party officials (and their lobbyist friends) whose votes don’t have to be accountable to the will of the voters of that state. Your vote should not count more than mine. My one-and-only vote counted toward a delegate for Bernie Sanders. That delegate is accountable to me, at least in part. Please do the ethical and truly democratic thing with your superdelegate vote.”

My brief correspondence with one superdelegate brought into sharp relief for me the transparency, accountability and elitism problems of the Democratic Party’s 30-year-old superdelegate system.

I was surprised by the dismissiveness and condescension of her reply: “… I can appreciate and respect that many people are confused about the role of members of the National Democratic Committee. … As a member of a national committee my role requires a national perspective. … Please know that I will cast my vote at the national convention to echo the will of American Democrats, regardless of my personal presidential preference. I realize that that is my responsibility and I take it very seriously.”

Now, I am not confused about what superdelegates are or how they came into being. I know about the McGovern-Fraser Commission, which made all delegates beholden to voters rather than party leaders, as had been the practice before 1968.

I know that that change allowed the superliberal George McGovern to win the Democratic nomination and run against Richard Nixon in 1972.

I know that after the riots at the 1968 Democratic convention and McGovern’s resounding defeat, as well as Jimmy Carter’s re-election loss to Ronald Reagan in 1980, the Democratic Party created superdelegates and the pendulum swung back in the direction of more control by party leaders than by plebeian voters.

I realize that Hillary Clinton is the candidate who Democratic Party leaders want. She is the establishment candidate.

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is not. He is not wanted by the rich and powerful people for whom the U.S. oligarchy works really well. Bernie Sanders wants to un-rig the political system. He doesn’t pander. He is sincere. He has integrity. He represents my values and beliefs; as a matter of fact, a majority of Democratic caucusgoers in Maine feel the same way that I do.

We all know that delegates matter. Bernie Sanders won 16 of Maine’s pledged delegates to Hillary Clinton’s nine. But superdelegate endorsements matter, too. The media uses endorsements to promote a candidate’s viability. Superdelegates who endorse a different candidate from the one chosen by the people of their state are using their position as superdelegates to explicitly advocate for their personal (or party) choice. That is not echoing – it’s leading.

If the principles guiding how superdelegates vote were clearly defined, then all of Maine’s superdelegates would have the same position regarding their endorsements. Among Maine’s five superdelegates, Pingree, Allen and Schaffer have endorsed Hillary Clinton; Troy Jackson of Allagash has endorsed Bernie Sanders, and Phil Bartlett of Gorham remains undeclared.

Obviously, personal choice plays a significant role in how superdelegates vote. Each superdelegate is free to decide whether or not (and when) to endorse a candidate. A superdelegate can change his or her mind at any point. Their allegiance is to a nebulous idea of the best interest of the party, and each superdelegate decides for himself or herself exactly what that means.

It seems to me that because of their positions in the Democratic Party and their party insider knowledge, superdelegates think of their votes as decidedly different from those of pledged delegates. If superdelegates were just part and parcel of each state’s delegates apportioned based on caucus and primary results, then every delegate would represent and be accountable to actual voters.

The sad irony is that Democratic superdelegates actually undermine representative democracy. They support a system that disenfranchises local voters. The superdelegate system is undemocratic and should be changed. Superdelegates are using their special status to unduly influence the outcome of the 2016 Democratic presidential nominating process, and they should be called out.