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DNC Panel to Recommend Reduction of Superdelegates

Superdelegates generally vote as they want, regardless of their state primary results. (Robert Couse-Baker/flickr.com)
Superdelegates generally vote as they want, regardless of their state primary results. (Robert Couse-Baker/flickr.com)
July 25, 2016

PHILADELPHIA – After hours of debate Saturday, the Democratic National Convention's Rules Committee agreed to create a unity commission to reform the system of superdelegates.

Before its meeting, the committee was presented with petitions signed by more than a half-million people calling for an end to superdelegates.

According to Rhode Island state Rep. Aaron Regunberg, who delivered the petitions, the compromise represented significant progress.

"Actually guaranteeing the recommendations around the two-thirds reduction in superdelegates,” he explains. “That's a really important and significant step that we can support and see as a step forward to keep building on."

Although an amendment to abolish superdelegates altogether got enough votes to go to the floor of the convention as a minority report, its supporters ultimately agreed to accept the compromise.

Originally set at 14 percent of delegates in 1984, the number of superdelegates grew and by 2008 they were 20 percent of all convention delegates.

Regunberg says superdelegates have been increasingly unrepresentative of the diversity of the party as a whole.

"They skew whiter, they skew more male and they skew older than the pledged delegates, to say nothing of our party's voters," he points out.

In the compromise, the superdelegates who are not governors or members of the House or Senate would be required to vote for nominees in proportion to the popular vote in their states, making them pledged delegates.

While the compromise is not a total victory, Regunberg says it can have a real impact toward ensuring that the Democratic Party's structures reflect its values.

"We're proud that the actual organizing and grassroots advocacy really pulled the conversation much further towards that one-person-one-vote goal than it would have otherwise," he states.

The commission's recommendations, which are not binding, would be presented to the Democratic National Committee for its approval by Jan. 1, 2018.


Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT