DEM CONVENTION DAY 1: Superdelegates are not the enemy in this election

July 23, 2016

Day 1. 1700 Hours

I arrived in Philadelphia this morning after a delayed flight, misplaced luggage and a missed appearance on CNN. Needless to say, I had a rocky start!

After spending considerable time trying to find the meeting room to get briefed for the first order of business — the Rules Committee — I finally settled in for what is going to be a long week. Democrats from all over the country are in Philadelphia to lift their voices and unite to defeat Donald Trump.

But the road to November has many peaks and valleys, even for the Democrats who after Sanders endorsed Clinton, seemed to be united. The Sanders’ Rules Committee appointees strongly believe that true unity requires an overhaul of the nominating process. Although they agree that Clinton’s lead in the earned delegates and overall voter count qualify her for the nomination, they want to eliminate the 700 plus superdelegates, those elected officials and party bosses that have an equal vote in nominating the  Democratic candidate.

All afternoon, Sanders’ supporters took to the podium and begged the 187 members of the Rules Committee to vote for amendment after amendment that would alter the superdelegate process. Many warned the committee that a failure to vote for change would fracture the party and would alienate the young voters that Sanders had brought into the party. At points during the debate, I wondered if I was at the GOP Convention because of the gloom and doom that speakers predicted would occur if their amendments were not adopted.

Although I appreciate the passion, I don’t think our ability to defeat Donald Trump will have anything to do with amendments to the nominating process or superdelegates. The reality is that most voters, including very sophisticated ones, could care less about the nominating process and whether there are 700 superdelegates are zero. Superdelegates, their existence and their survival, are for party insiders. Democrats’ ability to win in November depends on their ability to galvanize and turn out record numbers of Democrats and Independents, particularly white women, African-Americans and Latino voters. Period.

I appreciate the many voices on this superdelegate issue, but it’s an “in the weeds” debate that can cause folks to be distracted and unnecessarily splintered . We need the same passion that I’m witnessing today as it relates to a rule change to be displayed in communities all over this country as Democrats register and turn out voters. We can always amend the nominating process. But we only have one shot at defeating Trump!

Let’s not blow this over nuanced party rules!


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