Making Change Happen: Summary of notes from our final Change Commission Meeting…

Knowing that enough people like to get to the results first and read later, I’ll share my notes in that order:

First – let me reiterate what I’ve shared before – I’m deeply honored to serve on this commission!  Okay – here’s what happened: While we didn’t make our final recommendation from today’s meeting, we did have a great discussion (see notes below) that the staff will take, cull and provide back to us as a final draft recommendation.  We will then have a final discussion on a conf call in the next couple of weeks and vote on the final recommendation.  Our report needs to be delivered to the Rules & Bylaws commission of the DNC before the end of the year.  the RBC will then formulate that into a formal recommendation that will then be voted on by the full DNC membership.  The goal is to provide as specific a recommendation as possible so that the RBC doesn’t have to do the work for us.

As a quick reminder – the three issues that the group is mandated to address are:

  1. primary timing
  2. reducing the numbers of unpledged delegates (aka super delegates)
  3. having caucuses be more organized

The staff did a great job bringing together the discussions we’ve had so far and laid out proposed options on each.  #1 and #3 were relatively uncontroversial:

#1: recommended encouraging regional primaries and spreading out the calendar – with incentives (ie – bonus delegates).  RBC to determine incentives.  (We did not address penalties or how to handle when a state’s legislature breaks the windows without the party’s permission). 

More detail here

#2 (generated a lot of excellent discussion and yielded the most exciting options.)  Fundamentally, we will make a recommendation that substantially reduces the numbers of unpledged voting delegates (and may get rid of that option altogether).  We all agreed that, while we want to reduce the # of unpledged delegates, we want to retain the wisdom and presence of those individuals at the convention. Thus, three directions emerged that we will discuss more on our conf. call (much more detail in the notes below).  This is super exciting!  Another exciting point was the continued focus on diversity in terms of “agenda, ethnicity and race” and making sure that our actions don’t inadvertently whack that out of balance.

  1. Convert all unpledged delegates to non-voting delegates who get presence at the convention, but no vote.  AND – expand # PLEO (party leader and elected official) delegates so that, should they want, those officials and DNC members can run in that category for delegate)   (NOTE: This is what I and many others, including Chairman Clyburn, support)
  2. Maintain voting status of unpledged delegates, but substantially reduce % across the different groups (elected officials, dnc members, etc…)
  3. Maintain status quo in numbers and convert elected officials to non-voting delegates, but convert the DNC members to become pledged delegates allocated on a % basis and required to vote for their designated candidate.

More detail here

#3 Caucuses – have the RBC gather best practices and have the caucus states share and show their plans and whether they are on target with those best practices. 

More detail here

also be sure to read Frank Leone’s notes on his site


6 responses to “Making Change Happen: Summary of notes from our final Change Commission Meeting…

  1. Hi. Thank you very much for your service and for putting your notes up for us to see.
    I wonder how the states will respond to #1. I agree that a focus of a regional spread would be very positive and that the increase in dels would be attractive I wonder how those that jumped in line before will receive the idea.
    #2 I agree that the first option makes the best sense. The second option seems like it would get very messy very quickly.

    • In the past, bonus delegates have been available and the states have not taken that. However, the states who clumped onto Super Tuesday suffered in that they didn’t get very much individualized attention – which also didn’t help their local races. Plus – it was less investment in the state. The hope and belief is that, by having it regionally, it’ll help the state, the party and the voters themselves.

      • Matt Nisenoff

        Hi and thank you very much for your reply. I did not know that bonus dels had been in the mix before. That only lends credibility to the idea.
        Is there any evidence of the local races not doing as well that could help to sway any state party folks who think that bucking the system give them some sort of PR boost? Or did the Committee have reps from the state level that helped to figure out these options?

      • there were very credible state party folks there – ie vice chair mclellan from Virginia was the one who raised the point to begin with in terms of the value of regional primaries that have room to breathe.

  2. Thanks for these posts; they’re quite informative.

    On the automatic unpledged delegates, if the goal is to reduce their votes as a percentage of the total but still give them a meaningful role, it seems to me one solution not discussed (unless I missed it) is to give partial votes to achieve the percentage of the overall total you are aiming for. It would achieve exactly the same result as expanding the number of pledged or only having certain individuals in the automatic categories selected as delegates.

    • i’d say that there are two separate goals – and eliminate the “and”
      1) reduce the impact of unpledged delegates
      2) ensure that those who are electeds & party leaders are able to be a presence at the convention.

      I appreciate the thought on partial votes – and it was something we discussed at the first meeting. I’ll pass it along – although I’m still routing for no unpledged delegates

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