At the DNC: Campaign to end superdelegates gains ground

UPDATE: At 3:45 p.m., at a meeting of the rules committee of the DNC, the votes were secured for a full-convention floor vote on the abolition of superdelegates in the Democratic Party. The final tally of supporters was 58, over the 25 percent threshold needed for a minority report and a vote on the floor of the convention this week.

A campaign to end the superdelegate system in the Democratic nominating process has gathered more than 50 cosponsors for a formal amendment — enough to clear threshold needed for “minority report” and floor vote at the convention.

On July 23, DNC Rules Committee members are set to join groups advocating for an end to the superdelegate system in a joint news conference before the rules committee meeting convenes in Philadelphia.

Rules committee member Aaron Regunberg is the amendment’s chief sponsor.

Groups presenting signatures supporting the rules change include: MoveOn.org, Demand Progress, Daily Kos, Social Security Works, Democracy for America, New Democrat Network, National Nurses United, The Other 98%, Courage Campaign, Progressive Kick, Credo, PCCC, Progressive Democrats of America, Center for Popular Democracy, Social Security Works and Reform the DNC.

These groups gathered more than 500,000 signatures from people supporting the campaign.

“This is a historic moment for the Democratic Party,” said Regunberg, a Rhode Island state representative. “Saturday we vote on whether to end the undemocratic superdelegate system. It’s time to restore democracy in the Democratic Party.”

“The super delegate system undermines the promise of one person one vote that is bedrock of democracy,” added Deborah Burger, co-president of National Nurses United and a rules committee member. “It was created to block the nomination of candidates who would challenge a political system that has for far too long been dominated by corporate interests and a wealthy elite. Ending this undemocratic selection process would be a strong step forward to making the Democratic Party more responsive to those thirsting for real change and a healthier America.”

Read on for additional comments on the “End Superdelegates” drive  from those who supported Hillary Clinton and those who supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries.

Simon Rosenberg, president of NDN, former DNC staffer, who supported Hillary Clinton during the primary: “There are many reasons to end the practice of superdelegates in the Democratic Party. To me the most important is that it is discordant with broader and vital efforts by Democrats to modernize and improve our democracy. If we want the voice of everyday people to be louder and more consequential in our nation’s politics, it must also be so in our party.”

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who supported Bernie Sanders during the primary: “In my view, both as a superdelegate and a former DNC official, the nominee of our party should be decided by who earns the most votes —not party insiders, unelected officials, or the federal lobbyists that have been given a vote in our nominating process. The current system stands against grassroots activists and the will of the voters. We’ve seen a historic number of new voters and activists join our political process in the past year, many of whom are rightly upset at how rigged the political system can seem at times. If we want to strengthen our democracy and our party, we must end the superdelegate process.”

Joe Trippi, former Howard Dean campaign manager, who supported Hillary Clinton during the primary: “Of all the ideas to reform and improve the nominating process of the Democratic Party the core goal has to be to empower voices from the bottom up. The top down idea of superdelegates is obsolete and is a good place to start.”

Chuy Garcia, Cook County commissioner and rules committee member, who supported Bernie Sanders during the primary: “I’m proud of the progress this year by the Democratic Party on issues critical to the historically disenfranchised. But we still have further to go to achieve political parity within the party. The superdelegate system gives disproportionate power to party insiders over rank and file voters. The will of the people is best expressed through elected, pledged delegates. It’s time to reform the superdelegate system!”

Christine Pelosi, political strategist, who supported Hillary Clinton during the primary: “Let’s show America that as the Democratic Party, we believe in democracy and that leaders should never trump the will of the voters.”

Nina Turner, former Ohio state senator, who supported Bernie Sanders during the primary: “The 2016 presidential election cycle is a piercing reminder of what happens when absolute power runs amok. If we were not aware before, we are certainly aware now that the ‘superdelegate’ model within the Democratic Party is on its face undemocratic. It must be reformed to conform in tangible ways to the expressed values of equity, diversity and fairness enshrined in our party’s principles.”

On the Web

See one of the petitions and an open letter from 15 national organizations to the committee members calling for an end to superdelegates at Endsuperdelegates.com.