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Hullabaloo


Sunday, June 12, 2016

 

It's not over until they decide it is

by Tom Sullivan

Nothing is over until they decide it is:

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard encouraged her followers on Saturday to sign a petition ending the Democratic Party’s use of superdelegates.

“Whether you are a Bernie Sanders supporter or a Hillary Clinton supporter, we should all agree that unelected party officials and lobbyists should not have a say in who the presidential nominee of our party is,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “That should be left up to the voters.”

[...]

Gabbard isn’t alone in the fight: The West Virginia Democratic Party at its state convention Saturday passed a resolution calling for the elimination of superdelegates, or that superdelegates be required “in each state to vote in the same relative proportion as the elected delegates of the state they represent.”
There are plenty of reforms that might be made to the Democrats' nominating process, and these preliminary stabs might not prove satisfactory. There is no one Democratic Party. There will be 57 delegations at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia representing 50 states and territories. So it has been surreal hearing theories that suggest the DNC and DWS from some hidden, computer-filled bunker has been orchestrating the nationwide nomination process.

Yes, the process is haphazard across those many jurisdictions, and confusing to first-time activists. But then, the process for new states joining the union by onesy-twosies over 200 years has been intermittent and haphazard. (I'm old enough to remember when Alaska and Tulsi Gabbard's Hawaii became states.) Each state enters the union with its own cultural baggage and forms state political parties shaped by that history. Key players and controversies long forgotten that have shaped how they each do business. It's messy.

An experienced politician attending our state convention for the first time yesterday seemed perplexed that she could not be a voting delegate simply by showing up and signing in. The rules are not obvious. There is a process. It is written down. There is a learning curve even for those who have been elected multiple times.

There is a coterie of hardcore regulars who dominate these meetings year after year. They hover around the microphone to get recognition and argue endlessly over the minutiae of resolutions that ultimately go nowhere. NC's version of West Virginia's superdelegate resolution had been tossed like a hot potato to a study committee. To first-timers, the tedious resolutions process suggested an effort by party elites to run out the clock so Bernie delegates could not introduce their superdelegate resolution from the floor. No, this is what these same guys always do. Welcome to the party, pal.