On Friday we looked at the disruptions being caused by the unruly Democratic Socialists at the big DNC meeting in Chicago. They were upset over a few different agenda items, not least of which was the possibility that the committee would refuse to reel in the power of the superdelegates. This proposal was unpopular with the establishment Democrats because that entitled crew felt that they would be “disenfranchised” by such a move. But let’s offer a tip of the hat to the DNC membership because even in the face of opposition from many of the governors, congressmen and senior party officers who make up those ranks, they voted to take away much of their power. (Fox News)
The Democratic National Committee voted Saturday to limit the influence of superdelegates — part of a series of changes to the presidential nominating process to reunite the party after a fractious 2016 primary process.
The reforms, passed at the body’s summer meeting in Chicago, include a measure that requires superdelegates to refrain from voting on the first presidential nomination ballot, unless a candidate has enough votes from pledged delegates.
Superdelegates are the party’s most high-profile members and include governors, members of Congress, mayors and others, and represent 15 percent of the overall delegate count. Unliked pledged delegates, they are not locked to a candidate.
This didn’t sit well with the superdelegates themselves, of course. NBC News reported that one of the DNC Vice-chairs, Karen Carter Peterson of Louisiana, said “Are you telling me that I’m going to go to a convention, after my 30 years of blood, sweat, and tears for this party, that you’re going to take away my right to appease a group of people?” NBC presumes that Peterson was referring to predominantly white Bernie Sanders supporters. (Peterson is black.) She also clearly feels it’s her “right” to wipe out the ballots of thousands of voters if she doesn’t agree with their choice.
So what will this mean in the 2020 primary? If the party manages to put up a consensus candidate (is there any such thing anymore?) who can quickly clear the field and take a sizable lead it won’t mean much of anything. Assuming the Democrats arrive at their convention with one candidate who has a significant majority of the pledged delegates, the superdelegates still get to vote in the first round and it’s all just a formality.
But what if they don’t? The one danger lurking here for the DNC, as I’ve written here before, is that somebody as far out on the left beam as Bernie Sanders (or even further) picks up a head of steam and starts winning some early states. Without the fear of being left backing a losing horse when the superdelegates put their collective thumb on the scale for a more conventional candidate, a lot more of those noisy socialists might come out of the woodwork and nominate a really fringe candidate. What if they go whole hog and decide to nominate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? After all, if you can go straight from bartender to congresswoman, why not make the leap two years later to the White House?
This is the stuff that gives senior Democratic Party leaders nightmares. Their voters came withing spitting distance of nominating a card-carrying socialist last time around and it divided the party in two. Without the superdelegates acting as the adult monitors in the room, who might they nominate next? A member of Antifa?