Time is running out for the Democrats to make a decision about the future of superdelegates prior to the 2020 presidential race seriously kicking into gear next spring. DNC Chair Tom Perez is holding a series of meetings and preparing for a vote on one or more proposals to address the issue, but it remains contentious among senior members of his party. This is particularly true of their congressional delegations who don’t want to let go of the reins of power. (The Hill)
A year before the 2020 presidential campaign begins kicking into high gear, Democrats are still squabbling over what to do about superdelegates…
“The Sanders folks want the superdelegates gone,” said one Democratic National Committee (DNC) member. “They still believe he would have won if the system was designed differently.”
The DNC is edging closer to a solution that would scale back the power of superdelegates, though DNC Chairman Tom Perez is facing criticism from members of Congress who want to keep their clout.
The new pitch from those wanting to keep the old system in place is based on – you guessed it – bashing Donald Trump. Several of the superdelegates insist that those crazy Sanders supporters (who are pushing the hardest to scrap the system) are precisely the ones who would open to door to a candidate like Trump rising among the ranks of the Democrats. Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York is one of the ones pushing back, saying he understands what the perception is, but the establishment needs to retain the ability to exert some sort of control.
The “perception” here is actually the reality. Who is Meeks afraid that the voters of his party will pick in 2020… Cynthia Nixon? Then again, that would make for an entertaining race. Perhaps they should give it a shot.
Getting back to this whole “perception vs. reality” thing, the experience of Bernie Sanders’ voters in 2016 is really all the evidence you need. Keep in mind that when the primary show came to New Hampshire, Bernie won the vote there handily. But Clinton superdelegates each wiped out the votes of more than 10K Sanders supporters. How many times do you think you can pull something like that before you start a complete revolt which drives a significant chunk of your supporters over to the Green Party, the Working Families Party or the Democratic Socialists? There are too many purple states where neither party can afford those sorts of defections without giving up on the state entirely.
The superdelegate system is a holdover from an era where party leaders were still allowed to openly state that they knew better than the hoi polloi who make up their base. It’s an attitude which suggests that the great unwashed masses need a babysitter to keep them from running off and doing something crazy. But the “crazy” thing you’re trying to avoid is the nomination of an unelectable candidate. You can point to the Republicans and their 2016 nominee all you like, but you should keep one thing in mind. Trump won and you’re now in the minority seat in both chambers.
You might want to let your voters decide for themselves.