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Progressive Democrats Prepare to Deal a Major Blow to Superdelegates' Power over Presidential Nominations

August 24, 2018 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, Independent Media Institute

This will change the contours of the 2020 presidential nomination process.

The Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party appears headed toward a victory at the Democratic National Committee summer meeting in Chicago, despite last-ditch efforts by some DNC members to modify a party proposal limiting superdelegates’ role in nominating the 2020 presidential nominee.

On Saturday, the DNC’s members will vote on a slate of rule changes, including only allowing delegates elected in state caucuses and primaries to have a first-round vote at the 2020 national convention when nominating the Democrats’ next presidential candidate.

“My hunch is we will get that vote,” Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I think that’s where it’s heading… We have more than 30 state party chairs who have signed a letter saying we support this reform. And it’s because we believe it will restore trust in the party. It’s the right thing to do—to be a Democratic Party, not only with a capital ‘D,’ but with a small ‘d.’”

In 2016, Sanders won 45 percent of the elected national convention delegates but could not make inroads into superdelegates, who made up 30 percent of the national convention vote and are automatic unpledged delegates—elected officeholders, state party officials, leaders of key constituencies and activists. They largely supported Hillary Clinton.

Had Sanders won a majority of elected delegates in 2016, his team was planning to challenge the vote of superdelegates on the opening gavel and walk out if they did not prevail. But that never happened.

Instead, the DNC created a Unity Commission that crafted a slate of rule changes for 2020, including stripping the unpledged delegates of their first-round vote. The commission also proposed changes to make primaries and caucuses more accessible, from Election Day registration to voting by mail. All of these proposals went through the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee, which slightly modified them before this weekend’s DNC membership vote.

The DNC’s Heavy Hands

But longtime DNC members who have been superdelegates are not going quietly into the night. On Thursday, they brought a series of …read more


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