Congressional Black Caucus chair blasts proposed superdelegate changes

The chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus blasted proposed changes to Democratic "superdelegate" rules ...

Posted: Aug 14, 2018 4:09 PM
Updated: Aug 14, 2018 4:09 PM

The chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus blasted proposed changes to Democratic "superdelegate" rules that would limit their ability to vote on the first ballot for the party's presidential nominees.

In a letter to Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez dated Monday, Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond wrote on behalf of "many" of his colleagues in the caucus to urge him to withdraw support of the changes to be voted on at the party's meeting at the end of the month.

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"There should be enough room in the process to include the perspective of local party activists and officials, and Members of Congress. One group should not be harmed at the expense of the other," Richmond wrote. "Passage of the reforms in their current form would disenfranchise elected officials for no substantive reason and would create unnecessary competition between those elected and their constituents."

The proposed plan -- known as the "third way plus" option -- does not allow superdelegates to vote at the convention for the presidential nominee on the first ballot unless a candidate has been certified to have earned a majority of the entire convention through pledged delegates only. This ensures superdelegates could not change the outcome of the nomination process on the first ballot, which detractors of the plan point out has never happened since they were created in the 1980s.

During the 2016 nomination process, superdelegates -- who made up about 15% of all delegates at the convention -- came under intense criticism by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders. They argued that Hillary Clinton's early superdelegate support bolstered her position during the primaries, in which she beat the Vermont senator for the Democratic nomination.

The contentious primary battle led to the formation of the "Unity Reform Commission" by the DNC to recommend ways to reform the nomination process to the Rules and Bylaws Committee. Their report included reducing superdelegates by about 60%, which didn't go far enough for many Sanders supporters, leaving committee members to find a stronger option that eventually became the current proposal.

Many committee members commented during these meetings that the frustration was mostly a perception problem, but they still looked for common ground among activists angered by the process to ensure they felt included by the new changes.

While the debate about the rules was strong and sometimes contentious, of the over two dozen members representing a diversity of racial and ethnic backgrounds on the committee, the only votes to abstain from supporting the plan were from former party chairs Don Fowler and Donna Brazile. In the final vote, no member voted outright to oppose recommending the plan to the full DNC.

Richmond, who wrote the plan appears to be "a solution in search of a problem," is one of a handful of members of Congress who have been lobbying Perez and other DNC members to oppose this, arguing that limiting the superdelegate role does not embolden activists.

"[W]e do not think the effort to empower local leaders in the nomination process is served well by diminishing the power of Members of Congress," Richmond wrote. "Authors of the reforms have stated they seek to ensure that delegates elected by voters in primaries and caucuses have the primary role in selecting the Party's nominees. This aim ignores the fact that voters elect Members of Congress every two and six years. There is no reason to honor one election and not the other."

A group of DNC members, led by Fowler, have been in discussions with party members about the plan looking for other members who oppose the proposal.

Fowler, who was on the original commission that created the superdelegate system, lambasted the plan to CNN last month, saying, "It is regressive, it is not a reform. It's regressive."

He estimated hundreds of African-American, Latino, LGBTQ, and handicap superdelegates would be affected by the change.

"That doesn't sound like reform to me," Fowler said.

He's also accused DNC members of not following proper legal procedure to alter their rules. The rules committee, along with DNC counsel Graham Wilson, agreed that the superdelegate changes would be a bylaws change which only requires a majority vote of DNC members.

Fowler argues the changes need to be included into the DNC's charter, which would require a two-thirds vote at their upcoming meeting, which most members think would not be possible to attain.

He told CNN he would challenge this ruling on the DNC floor during the upcoming vote.

The full DNC meeting will take place in Chicago at the end of the month. Should the proposal fail, Democrats will either abide by the rules that governed the 2016 election or scramble for a new option to have a delegate process in place ahead of next year, when candidates for 2020 will start openly campaigning for president (and delegates).

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 110592

Reported Deaths: 3171
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7731171
DeSoto655177
Harrison478481
Jackson429178
Rankin380086
Madison371092
Lee339279
Forrest292777
Jones281682
Washington250697
Lafayette241342
Lauderdale2329130
Lamar212038
Bolivar197775
Oktibbeha194154
Neshoba1795111
Lowndes173662
Panola164736
Leflore158786
Sunflower156749
Warren151854
Monroe143672
Pontotoc143019
Pike135555
Lincoln133954
Copiah133336
Marshall130026
Coahoma122836
Scott122729
Grenada119637
Simpson117648
Yazoo116933
Union113825
Holmes113060
Tate112339
Leake111839
Itawamba108724
Pearl River107456
Adams104042
Prentiss100919
Wayne97921
Alcorn94412
George93217
Marion92642
Covington90825
Tippah84820
Newton84227
Chickasaw81724
Tallahatchie81725
Winston81421
Tishomingo78640
Hancock76527
Attala76325
Clarke70948
Clay66621
Jasper66016
Walthall63427
Calhoun60912
Noxubee59516
Smith57716
Claiborne53016
Montgomery52723
Tunica51817
Lawrence48914
Yalobusha47914
Perry47522
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Greene44717
Stone44614
Amite41513
Quitman4096
Humphreys39916
Jefferson Davis39311
Webster36313
Wilkinson32920
Kemper31615
Benton3004
Sharkey27714
Jefferson26210
Franklin2283
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 152272

Reported Deaths: 2621
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22300372
Mobile14273314
Tuscaloosa9886132
Montgomery9615196
Madison895192
Shelby700260
Lee643066
Baldwin636967
Marshall425348
Calhoun408459
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Morgan393232
Houston362332
DeKalb313326
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Limestone268327
Walker264192
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Autauga198928
Franklin198131
Jackson197914
Russell18993
Colbert188927
Dallas184527
Blount182723
Chilton178731
Escambia170328
Covington164429
Coffee16299
Dale161551
Pike130112
Tallapoosa126986
Chambers126643
Clarke126116
Marion103929
Butler99640
Barbour9819
Marengo96421
Winston88613
Geneva8297
Pickens79317
Randolph79314
Lawrence78830
Bibb78513
Hale73729
Cherokee71414
Clay70312
Lowndes69827
Bullock63417
Henry6286
Monroe6259
Washington62012
Crenshaw58830
Perry5796
Conecuh55413
Wilcox55412
Fayette54012
Macon52819
Cleburne5207
Sumter46421
Lamar4555
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
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