Democratic Party officials, after a yearslong battle between warring ideological wings, have agreed to sharply reduce the influence of the top political insiders known as superdelegates in the presidential nomination process. Under the new plan, which was agreed to on Saturday afternoon in Chicago at the Democratic National Committee’s annual summer meetings, superdelegates retain their power to back any candidate regardless of how the public votes. They will now be largely barred, however, from participating in the first ballot of the presidential nominating process at the party’s convention — drastically diluting their power. Superdelegates will be able to cast substantive votes only in extraordinary cases like contested conventions, in which the nomination process is extended through multiple ballots until one candidate prevails. “After you lose an election, you have to look in the mirror,” said Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Dean had recorded a video message to committee members urging them to back the proposed changes.
The Democratic National Committee’s two-year debate over its presidential primary rules came closer to resolution Wednesday, as its key rulemaking body voted to curtail the power of unpledged delegates — so-called “superdelegates” — at the next convention. At the end of a three-hour conference call, which was opened to the public, the Rules and Bylaws Committee adopted a compromise that grew out of lengthy negotiations between supporters of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). In the past, superdelegates were able to vote on the first ballot at the convention, for any nominee. The new rule would prohibit superdelegates from voting until a second ballot, or in the event a candidate arrived at the convention with enough pledged delegates — earned in primaries and caucuses — to secure the nomination.
National: Congressional Black Caucus balks at two political reforms being pitched by Bernie Sanders | The Washington Post
The Congressional Black Caucus is voicing strong opposition to two key political reforms being sought by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in the run-up to the Democratic National Convention: abolishing superdelegates and opening up Democratic primaries and caucuses to independent voters. Sanders is seeking to leverage his unexpectedly strong showing against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential race this year to secure a series of policy and political objectives. Although none of the political reforms Sanders is seeking would affect his standing now, they are rooted in his frustrations with the contest against Clinton. As of Sunday night, 587 superdelegates had announced their support for Clinton compared with 48 for Sanders, who sought to make a virtue of running against the “political establishment.” As a rule, the senator from Vermont also performed better against Clinton in primaries and caucuses where independent voters could participate. In a letter sent to Sanders and Clinton on Saturday, the Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus said they oppose changes in both areas.
Backers of Bernie Sanders are pushing for a vote at the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention this weekend that they hope will pressure the state’s superdelegates to switch their allegiance from Hillary Clinton to the Vermont senator. The vote on the nonbinding resolution, set for Saturday afternoon, will come on the second day of the convention. On Friday, party leaders and those running for office, most notably Senate candidate Russ Feingold, will speak to delegates at the meeting in Green Bay. The party convention is designed as a way to rally Democrats heading into the election season. Feingold’s rematch against Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is the biggest race on the ballot, but Democrats are also eyeing the open 8th Congressional District seat in northeast Wisconsin and hoping to make gains in the state Legislature, where Republicans control both the Senate and Assembly. The keynote speaker at the convention on Friday night is U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez.