CA Democrats Call To Reform The Party's Primary Process

| by Robert Fowler
Supporters of Bernie Sanders outside of the California Democratic Party headquarters in Long Beach, CaliforniaSupporters of Bernie Sanders outside of the California Democratic Party headquarters in Long Beach, California

The California Democratic Party has passed a symbolic resolution calling for the replacement of caucuses and a major reform of the superdelegate system in the party's future presidential primaries.

The resolution was passed on June 19, intended to send a message to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) from the most populous state, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The reforms were proposed by supporters of Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, many of them frustrated by a primary process that they believe set up roadblocks against their candidate. Party supporters of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton agreed with the changes.

The California Democratic Party signaled that they hoped the reforms could be implemented as soon as the 2020 Democratic primary process.

If the DNC were to implement the resolution, Democratic governors and lawmakers would no longer be considered superdelegates, the delegates who can vote for whichever candidate they prefer without considering who their constituencies chose.

Only members of the DNC would retain the superdelegate status, but they would be bound to their constituencies, voting for the candidate that their district voters chose. The change would effectively end the powers of the current superdelegate system.

The resolution would also do away with state caucuses, replacing them with primary contests. While primaries are a straightforward process of each state resident entering a polling place and voting, caucuses are a time-consuming process that have been widely criticized as undemocratic.

Lastly, the resolution urged for the DNC to reshuffle the primary calendar, placing populous and diverse states such as California at the beginning of the nominating contest instead of the relatively smaller and homogenous states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

These changes would have dramatically altered the 2016 Democratic primary, although they would have removed advantages that both Clinton and Sanders enjoyed. Clinton dominated the superdelegates while Sanders greatly benefited from the caucuses.

The resolution was co-authored by California superdelegate Christine Pelosi, who supports Clinton, and the California Democratic Party secretary Daraka Larimore-Hall, a Sanders supporter.

“It’s very exciting and healing for our party to be able to make a strong statement that we believe in democracy and that leaders should never trump the will of the voters,” Pelosi said.

Larimore-Hall noted that the resolution had support from Democrats on both sides of the aisle.

“There are a lot of people, whether they’re Clinton supporters [or] Sanders’ supporters, who see … there are broken things in our nominating process,” Larimore-Hall said.

On June 14, Sen. Sanders signaled that he would be leveraging the delegates he had won during the Democratic primary to seek fundamental reforms to the party’s nominating process during the upcoming Democratic National Convention in July.

“I know political parties need money, but it is more important that we have energy, that we have young people, that we have working class people who are going to participate in the political process and fight for their kids and for their parents,” Sanders said, according to USA Today.

“We need to also make sure that superdelegates do not live in a world of their own but reflect, reflect, the views of the people in their own states,” Sanders added.

On June 19, Democrats in the Congressional Black Caucus sent out letters to Sanders, Clinton and other leaders of the Democratic party, urging them to leave the party’s nominating process unchanged, the Washington Post reports.

“There is no need to succumb to the pressure of a few individuals to make this change,” the letter read.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, USA TodayWashington Post / Photo credit: Seema Mehta/Twitter

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