Dave Weigel from The Post summarizes the reforms agreed on earlier today at the Democratic National Committee meeting in Chicago:
CHICAGO — The Democratic National Committee voted Saturday to neutralize the votes of unpledged convention delegates, part of a package of hard-fought reforms designed to prevent a repeat of the bitter 2016 presidential primary as the party looks toward the 2020 election.
“We listened and we acted, and I’m proud that our party is doing everything we can to bring people in and make it easier to vote,” said DNC Chairman Tom Perez after the reforms were unanimously approved.
The new party rules undo decades-old reforms that empowered hundreds of party activists and elected officials, often referred to as “superdelegates,” whose presidential convention votes were not bound to the results of primaries or caucuses. They also affirm the decision of six states to move from caucuses, which have favored insurgent candidates, to primaries, which tend to have higher turnout.
So, under the terms of the compromise, superdelegates won’t vote unless a convention goes to a second ballot. That’s instead of reducing their number or eliminating superdelegates altogether as had been proposed. The man who brokered the compromise, Ken Martin, Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party chair, summed up the rationale:
“This is a way for us to heal the wounds of the 2016 election. Minnesota was a 62 percent Bernie state. People cared about this. We were dealing with a perception problem more than a reality problem, but that perception problem mattered. People believed so passionately that this issue cost their candidate the nomination, that we had to fix it.”
The reality-based community understands that Sanders wasn’t robbed (and in fact made a cynical play for the superdelegates himself after Clinton won the nomination fair and square). As I understand it, the superdelegate system is a fail-safe mechanism to prevent the rise of a crackpot like Trump on the Democratic side. But honestly, I’ve never found it all that comforting. If we ever used it for its intended purpose, it would blow up the party anyway, wouldn’t it?
So, IMO, the party didn’t give up much to mollify the crybabies who’ve been screeching about superdelegates for the past two years. But as a parent, I’m certain they won’t remain mollified for long — rewarding a mindless tantrum rarely works out in the long run. The good news is that six states are ditching caucuses in favor of primaries.
Other than that, open thread.