On the day after the progressive wing of the Democratic Party won a big victory in New York as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez rode a grassroots wave to victory over a ten-term establishment Congressman, the party tentatively approved a major reform long sought by Sanders and his supporters that would go a long way towards helping heal the rifts between the two sides of the party.
Beginning with the next presidential convention in 2020, the role of so-called “Superdelegates” will be curtailed to ensure that the emphasis is on recording the votes of those selected by their states and municipalities as delegates.
Superdelegates will not be allowed to vote at all on the first ballot but will vote on subsequent ballots if there is a competitive contest.
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Superdelegates are party officials, top lawmakers, big contributors, and others which have been installed as a way to make sure the political establishment’s preferred candidate wins the nomination.
In 2016, Sanders supporters charged that their candidate lost the nomination because the vast majority of superdelegates voted to nominate Secretary Hillary Clinton.
They argued correctly that the inclusion of superdelegate totals in media coverage artificially inflated Clinton’s delegate count and made the contest seem less competitive than it actually was, discouraging voters and helping to fan the perception of inevitability around Clinton’s nomination.
The vote today to approve the change was by the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee but still needs final approval by the entire party leadership, which is expected to be done next month.
DNC Chairman Tom Perez said this change would help “rebuild the trust” in the committee from supporters who “feel alienated” from the party, according to Politico.
“No candidate will be able to have an accumulated lead,” added Perez, “whether it’s real or perceived before a ballot has been cast.”
Sanders actually left the Democratic Party after the election and became an independent again but he is expected to switch back to the Democrats in time to run again in 2020.
He will have considerable support, seeing as he is still the most popular politician in the country.
if there is a “blue wave” this fall, it may well be fueled by the young progressive Democrats who became excited about Sanders and now are running for office in record numbers.
It will take tremendous energy, enthusiasm, and a great turnout to elect a progressive president in 2020 when Trump is expected to again be the Republican standard bearer.
Right now Sanders and his supporters appear to be the ones with that kind of energy.