Society

Democrats Vote To Reform Superdelegate System

| by Robert Fowler
Sen. Bernie Sanders of VermontSen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont

The Democratic Rules Committee has voted to dramatically reduce the number of superdelegates who are allowed to select the presidential candidate of their choice. It also established a commission that will recommend reforms for the superdelegate system.

On July 23, the rules committee voted by 158-6 to pass an amendment that will bind a large number of superdelegates to the electoral results of their state, The Hill reports.

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While Democratic governors and lawmakers will still be allowed to vote as they wish, the move means that two-thirds of superdelegates will have to vote based on the results of their state caucuses and primaries. The amendment will go into effect in the 2020 Democratic primary.

The amendment stipulates:

"The Commission shall make specific recommendations providing that Members of Congress, Governors, and distinguished party leaders remain unpledged and free to support their nominee of choice, but that remaining unpledged delegates be required to cast their vote at the Convention for candidates in proportion to the vote received for each candidate in their state."

The vote also established a commission that will be comprised of nine appointees made by presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, seven by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and three by the Democratic National Committee chair.

Chaired by Jennifer O’Malley Dillon of Precision Strategies and vice chaired by former president Larry Cohen of Communications Workers, the committee will be formed after the November election and conduct a report on how to best reform the Democratic primary system.

The committee is slated to release its findings on Jan. 1, 2018.

Sanders’ chief of staff, Michaeleen Crowell, praised the rule amendment as a step in the right direction.

“It’s something that has real teeth in it because it prescribes the outcome, for the most part, that we are going to see a real change in the superdelegates, basically reducing them by two-thirds,” Crowell said.

The Democratic superdelegate system has drawn the ire of Sanders’ supporters. Democratic delegate Jan Rodolfo of Illinois had supported abolishing the system entirely, which the rules committee rejected.

“I’m a supporter of one person, one vote,” Rodolfo told Public News Service. “And I think that superdelegates are really a class of party members who have undue weight, in terms of the way that their votes work. It really reinforces the status quo.”

The Sanders campaign has celebrated both the superdelegate amendment and the newly established commission, hailing it as a concrete way to ensure that future primaries are more fair.

“This is a tremendous victory for Sen. Sanders’ fight to democratize the Democratic Party and reform the Democratic nominating process,” said Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver in an official statement from the Sanders campaign. “We were pleased to work with the Clinton campaign to enact this historic commission.”

Sources: BernieSanders.com, The HillPublic News Service / Photo credit: Flickr