We learned last month that the DNC rules committee was planning on moving ahead with their reforms to the Democrats’ superdelegate system. The proposed change, scheduled to be voted on during their convention in Chicago next month, would see the superdelegates barred from voting for their presidential nominee during the first round. If no candidate assembles a majority on the first try they would be allowed to vote in subsequent rounds.
That doesn’t mean that the superdelegates are going to go quietly into their new, decreased role. Politico reports that some of them are already putting together an uprising and vowing to fight this change and hold onto their power.
But even as the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee moved forward with the proposal Wednesday, superdelegates outside of Washington were beginning to organize opposition ahead of the August vote by the full DNC in Chicago.
“If we don’t have a vote, then what good are we?” said William Owen, a superdelegate and DNC member from Tennessee who has been contacting fellow DNC members ahead of the Chicago gathering, especially in the South. “In Chicago, this will not be rubber stamped.”
Bob Mulholland, a superdelegate and DNC member from California who has been in talks with superdelegates in the West, said, “The more DNC members realize that this so-called reform is to throw them off the floor … I think there will be a lot of complaints in Chicago.”
The main problem here is that the Chicago convention was supposed to be their big unifying moment. It was supposed to be the launch of the “blue wave” when opposition to President Trump energized the base and got everyone out to the polls in an effort to take back control of Congress. But now it may melt down into an internal battle for party control, guaranteed to turn off at least one segment of the base and foster further divisiveness.
Even superdelegate Bob Mulholland (referenced above) was expressing fears that this was going to turn into a disaster. He’s quoted as saying, “Unfortunately, while the Republicans are winning elections and taking over the Supreme Court, we’ll be in Chicago looking like 1968.”
The complaints being raised among the superdelegates seem extremely tone deaf. Former DNC chair Bob Fowler argued that longtime party operatives were being “disenfranchised.” Really? He makes it sounds as if the royalty is suddenly being robbed of their birthright and ancestral lands. If you want to talk about being disenfranchised, how about the way that every Clinton superdelegate in New Hampshire two years ago was able to negate the votes of ten thousand Sanders supporters? There are clearly people being disenfranchised here, but I don’t think it’s the superdelegates.
Will Mulholland and his cronies be able to overturn the decision of the rules committee next month and keep the status quo in place? It doesn’t sound like it at this point. But as long as the new Berniecrats and the old guard Clinton loyalists remain at each other’s throats throughout the convention, the Republicans are going to be feeling less and less worried about the outcome of the midterms.