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Black Caucus Chairman Slams DNC Superdelegates Reform Proposal

Black Caucus Chairman Slams DNC Superdelegates Reform Proposal

Not everyone is pleased with the Democratic National Committee’s proposal to curtail the role “superdelegates” play in the party’s presidential nominating process.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been an advocate of the plan and it “would prohibit superdelegates — who made up roughly 15 percent of the delegates during the 2016 convention — from voting on the first presidential nominating ballot at a contested national convention,” writes Politico.

“The proposed plan — known as the “third way plus” option — does not allow superdelegates to vote at the convention for the presidential nominee on the first ballot unless a candidate has been certified to have earned a majority of the entire convention through pledged delegates only. This ensures superdelegates could not change the outcome of the nomination process on the first ballot, which detractors of the plan point out has never happened since they were created in the 1980s,” writes CNN. 

But the plan is facing opposition, including the Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La,) who wrote a letter to DNC Chair Tom Perez this week expressing his concerns.

“Passage of the reforms in their current form would disenfranchise elected officials for no substantive reason and would create unnecessary competition between those elected and their constituent,” wrote Richmond in the letter on behalf of “many” of his “colleagues in Congress who are members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The letter was sent just a week before DNC members will gather in Chicago to discuss how to reform the superdelegate system and will do a full vote. 

“The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee has proposed barring superdelegates from voting on the first nomination ballot during a contested convention unless it’s clear that one of the candidates has an overwhelming lead in delegates,” writes The Hill. “Under the proposed reform, however, elected officials could run to become pledged delegates if they agreed to give up their superdelegate status.”

Richmond argues that this would also make elected officials and constituents rivals. 

“The thought that a member of Congress would have to compete with their constituents in an election to secure a first ballot vote on the party’s nominee creates unnecessary friction between those elected and the people they are elected to serve,” said Richmond. 

Other critics like Bob Mulholland, a superdelegate and DNC member, points out that the proposal and planning for it is a waste of lawmaker’s time. 

“We’re in the midst of the battle of our lives to win back the majority of our House, and to schedule this vote with this recommendation that came out of nowhere … is to me just wretched timing and political malpractice,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.)

“Unfortunately, while the Republicans are winning elections and taking over the Supreme Court, we’ll be in Chicago looking like 1968,” said Mulholland, referring to the disastrous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

“This is serious,” said William Owen, a superdelegate and DNC member. “We have a saying in the South that’s ‘as worthless as nipples on a boar hog’ … which means you can suck on them all you want, but you don’t get anything out of it.”

Author’s note: The plan isn’t set in stone yet, so it’s difficult to determine how this will make an impact. But this seems like a waste of time, but Sanders fans are still mad and think reforming the superdelegate process will make it things fairer in the future. Democrats should be focusing on other things, but it’s a good thing for Republicans since then they are distracted and held up on something silly. 

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