On Wednesday, Dec 30th, in a conference call, we finalized our change commission recommendations. These recommendations address primary timing, caucuses and unpledged delegates. Our recommendation now goes to the rules and bylaws committee (RBC) who will flesh out some of the implementation details and will then be voted on by the DNC body.
Most significantly, I’m proud and honored to share with you that we’ve recommended eliminating the category of unpledged delegates (aka Superdelegates). That’s right – no more superdelegates!
In this post, I’ll share my thoughts and then, near the bottom, include links to other sections that have the details on the findings and recommendations – as well as the press release from the DNC.
I can still remember being completely frustrated that candidates were spending so much time courting these 900 or so individuals when they could be building up their support base for the general election – and wondering about this special status they had as unpledged delegates.
All that said – over the course of this commission (since June), I’ve come to better understand that superdelegates came about to provide seasoned supervision at the convention. So – the question for the commission to solve was: how to eliminate the strange power that they had, but still have them at the convention. Solution: give all of those who had previously been in that category (DNC members, democratic federal elected officials, democratic governors, past congressional leadership and past presidents/vice presidents) a choice either to be delegates in a new category called “National Party Leaders and Elected Officials” or to be a non-voting delegates. The allocation of NPLEOs to the candidates will be based on the general delegate breakout. Ie . if 60% of the delegates in a state went for candidate A, then 60% of the NPLEO slots would be allocated to that candidate. If , however, 60% of those eligible to be NPLEOs do not want to pledge for the candidate, they can then become non-voting delegates.
This raises plenty of questions – such as – how do you handle alternates for NPLEOs, for those who choose to be non-voting, do you backfill with other at-large delegates? How will it differ for primary v. caucus states, etc… Many of these details will still need to be ironed out by the Rules and Bylaws commission. In fact, a number of these questions were posed during the final conf call session (see the raw notes here). One question I know that folks will ask is: How does an NPLEO differ from a superdelegate? In short, superdelegates could choose/designate their vote at any point during the nominating season – and change their minds at random. NPLEOs will be allocated on a percentage basis after each state’s final breakout is known.
And – how do you still make sure that there’s an insurance plan in place in case some wacky thing happens to make the candidate who comes out with the most delegates untenable as a general campaign candidate? Basically – any pledged delegate still has the right to vote their conscience at the convention – so with those folks as delegates with voting rights, you’d still have that insurance plan in place.
So that’s Superdelegates. As someone very involved in the caucuses, it’s also important I share a quick summary of the caucus recommendation. In a nutshell – it’s to create a group who’ll identify and document best practices – and then have the RBC maintain those standards. Fundamentally – it’s about respecting and maximize the value of the caucuses, while reducing the negatives.
Here are the findings and recommendations sections of the near final report (there were a couple of updates made from the last conf. call that’ll be submitted today – and I’ll post a link to that when it’s available)
- Primary & caucus timing
- Reducing unpledged (super) delegates
- Addressing caucus chaos and disenfranchisement
And here’s the press release from the DNC on the findings.
Here are links to my previous notes and analyses:
I look forward to hearing/reading folks’ comments and thoughts – although the next steps are up to the RBC and then the DNC body in general.
(here’s a link to Frank Leonz’s posting on this as well)