The much anticipated, annual DNC meeting in Chicago has kicked off and thus far it’s providing at least some of the fireworks we’ve been anticipating for a while now. We previously covered two of the main bones of contention which are expected to at least add some internal drama to the affair, as Democrats nervously plan for their big blue wave this fall. One item which has yet to hit the floor is the ongoing debate over restrictions on the Democrats’ superdelegates (which we’ll get to in a moment). The other was the reversal of a proposed ban on accepting dirty fossil fuel related campaign contributions earlier this summer.
It was the latter subject which reared its head in the early hours of the meeting. We saw some indications of how the base felt about DNC Chairman Tom Perez taking a more “pragmatic” approach to allowing such donations when protesters upset the overall tone of harmony during the meeting of the Resolutions Committee.
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 23, 2018
Here’s the video of some of the disruptions. It seems that the base isn’t much on pragmatism this year.
The Washington Examiner has more of the details. Chairman Perez can’t be very thrilled over how the big show is kicking off.
The protesters interrupted the Resolutions Committee, which is responsible for striking down the original ban. The demonstration, organized by the Sunrise Movement, a climate organization dedicated to engaging young voters, comes after the DNC passed a resolution earlier this month saying it “support[s] fossil fuel workers” and will accept donations from their employers’ PACs.
Protesters’ chants accused party leaders of “making it hard to breathe” and they held up banners telling the DNC to “stand with people, not corporate PACs.”
DNC officials met with Sunrise Movement in D.C., said Xochitl Hinojosa, a party spokeswoman.
The campaign contributions question may turn out to be small potatoes compared to what we’re likely to see when the superdelegates question comes up for a vote. Perez gave an interview last night in which he seemed to be trying to soften the bumpy road ahead of time. (CBS News)
In an interview with CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe on “Red & Blue” Thursday, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez said a proposed rule change to limit the influence of so-called “superdelegates” in the presidential nominating process will “empower” the party’s grassroots activists. Perez spoke to O’Keefe at the DNC’s summer meeting in Chicago…
Perez told O’Keefe that superdelegates have never decided the outcome of a Democratic primary. But “what they have done,” he said, is affected Democratic voters’ perceptions about the fairness of nominating contests.
To remedy that, Perez is hoping the DNC passes a rule change that would forbid superdelegates from casting votes on the first ballot at the convention unless the nominee has already been decided. The rule change, he said, would give additional leverage to grassroots activists and the party’s rank-and-file, and allow the Democrats to “earn trust back.”
First of all, Perez claiming that the superdelegates “have never decided the outcome of a Democratic primary” is a complete smokescreen. That’s an impossible claim to make because you’re arguing about a hypothetical alternate timeline which never had a chance to play out. How might the Democratic Primary of 2016 developed if Hillary Clinton’s superdelegates hadn’t canceled out the votes of more than half of Bernie Sanders’ supporters in New Hampshire? Just on the math alone, Clinton won the delegate count by 359 but she had 602 superdelegates to Bernie’s 48. Had they all gone the other way she would have lost the primary (again). And how might the momentum have changed without those superdelegates warping the count in the early states? We’ll never know, but to claim that it’s never happened is an unsupportable claim.
This is the one bone that Perez has available to throw to the Berniecrats to keep them onboard. But as we previously discussed, the establishment wing of the party is not going quietly into that good night without a fight. Their superdelegates don’t want to be “disenfranchised” from their rightful positions of power and if this vote falls through, the young, vocal, socialist wing of the party is going to come away from this meeting feeling betrayed.