Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez’s push for superdelegate reform threatens to divide the party even further if he succeeds at the party’s summer meeting in Chicago this weekend.
Perez is seeking to reduce the influence of the superdelegates in the Democratic nomination process by preventing them from voting in the first ballot. They would get to vote if a second ballot is necessary to select a nominee.
According to The Hill Perez probably has the votes to pass his proposal, but he is getting pushback from the Congressional Black Caucus who claim that it would disenfranchise some of the party’s most prominent and powerful members, which include both current and former lawmakers.
The issue has come to the forefront after a bitter 2016 presidential primary in which the more establishment-oriented superdelegates overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton making it virtually impossible for Bernie Sanders to win the nomination no matter how many primaries he won.
That led Sanders supporters to accuse the DNC of rigging the nomination process for their favored candidate and preventing a real challenge for the nomination.
The proposal sailed through the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee last month, setting the stage for a final vote by the full committee on Saturday
“There is a strongly held view among millions that the so-called superdelegates play an oversized role in the party, and it’s undeniably hindering our ability to move forward to bring the party together,” Perez told The Baltimore Sun about the reason for his proposal.
In 2016, Clinton came up just short of the 2,383 delegate votes needed to secure the nomination, but with the overwhelming support of the more than 700 superdelegates, she easily topped Sanders.
If the rule change passes as expected it will greatly reduce the influence of Democratic Party powerbrokers and open up the nomination process to more non-traditional candidates in 2020, but not without sowing some dissension in the ranks and potentially further dividing the party.