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Are Progressives Gaining Ground In The Democratic Party?

If you have followed the Democratic party at any length, you have most likely come to realize that the party frankly does not like Progressives. Democratic National Committee (D.N.C.) Chairman Tom Perez for removed party officials who backed Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison’s go at the chairmanship. Former D.N.C. Chairwoman Donna Brazile discovered evidence of the Clinton Campaign’s rigging of the primaries during her stint as Chairwoman, which you can read more about here. However, despite these intentional sabotages of the progressive wing of the party, we have slowly been gaining ground across the board. These came in the form of winning special elections, and the topic of today’s article, The D.N.C. Unity Reform Commission.

The D.N.C. Unity Reform Committee was created by a resolution proposed at the Convention Rules Committee, and subsequently approved by the delegates of the 2016 Democratic National Committee. The Reform Committee consists of members appointed by Secretary Clinton, Senator Sanders, and D.N.C. Chairman Tom Perez for the sake of looking at key elements our party’s processes. These include increasing participation in the process of nominating candidates, ways to engage the voters, the role of unpledged super-delegates and party reform. This weekend, after four meetings over the course of several months, the commission gathered for a final time to vote on proposals, last-minute amendments, and finalizing language in the document that will be voted on by the D.N.C.’s 447 members in 2018 to set the changes in stone. I am also going brief you guys as to what changes could be coming to the party in the coming paragraphs.

In terms of caucuses, Reform Commission has put forward a few revisions. One is a resolution to require absentee ballots in caucuses which would hopefully address the biggest concerns about the process, which are accessibility and flexibility. Another change would be making total vote counts public. Candidates who receive support from less than 15% of caucus attendees do not meet what is called the “viability threshold” are disqualified, freeing their supporters to go caucus for a different candidate. That wouldn’t change under the new rule, however a vote count would show them with, for example, six percent support. Allowing the candidate to know where they stand and where they need to go from that point.

With regards to voting rules, the commission voiced their concerns about states like New York, which make it difficult for voters to change their party registration at the last minute. The registration deadline for the 2016 primary was Oct. 9, 2015, almost 200 days before the primary took place. The commission proposed a process to penalize states operating in a similar manner, by docking their number of pledged delegates, if they choose not to change the deadlines. However, there is no language in the Reform Commission’s report about mandating open primaries, which lets voters to participate in a primary regardless of their party registration.

Onto the topic of super delegates, the Reform Commission proposed a new system in which superdelegates who are elected officials and notable party leaders would remain unpledged delegates. The rest of the superdelegates would keep the title, but their votes would be bound proportionally to the vote count in their respective states for the first ballot. If the need for a second ballot arises, all superdelegates would be unbound. The proposal would dramatically reduce the number superdelegates by about sixty percent.

Lastly onto the broad topic of party reform. The Reform Commission proposed a rule to effectively ban vendors and consultants from working for a campaign and the D.N.C. at the simultaneously in situations where there might be a conflict interest. The commission also voted for a proposal to create an “Ombudsman Council”, a new assembly within the D.N.C. to “impartially review and address any complaints or recommend improvements” surrounding inquiries of fairness, impartiality, and transparency inside of the party.

Will these proposals level the playing field for 2020 and the elections to come? Maybe, but people with power are usually not keen on giving it up.

If you would like to watch the meetings that took place over the weekend, click here.

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