Dems vote down push to abolish superdelegates

Greg Nash
The Democratic Rules Committee voted down an effort to abolish the role of unbound superdelegates in the presidential primary process, dealing a blow to Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) supporters, many of whom see the superdelegate system as unfair.
An amendment failed before the committee Saturday by a vote of 108-58.
The amendment received vocal support during discussion from several people who characterized the superdelegate system as “undemocratic” and contrary to the principle of “one person, one vote.”
{mosads}Rhode Island State Rep. Aaron Regunberg, the first to introduce the amendment, said the current process raises suspicion about a “rigged” system.

“As sponsors of this amendment, we believe that the internal structures of our Democratic Party must reflect our core values. Right now the superdelegate system does not do that,” he said. “There is currently absolutely no rule keeping superdelegates in future cycles from overturning the will of the people, creating a perception among many of our voters that the system can be rigged.” 

One proponent of the amendment said superdelegates are disproportionately male and the “voices of women are getting lost” as a result. She urged that the party’s internal rules should reflect its public support for the empowerment of women.
“How can we fight for equality for women in all other areas of our society if don’t care to ensure, where we actually have power to do so, that we do have equality?” she asked.
Most other arguments in support of reform centered on disproportionate representation of minorities, which, according to the supporters of the amendment, entirely undermines the democratic system.
Those who opposed the amendment to abolish superdelegates pushed back on the charges that it is undemocratic.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas) said the superdelegate system has provided more opportunity and diversity.

“I am fully aware of those who have concerns about the superdelegate process,” she said. “But I am also aware of the issues of diversity and the balance that the superdelegates have given.”
Wellington Webb, the mayor of Denver, Colo., echoed Jackson’s comments about diversity but added that “this is a wrong time and a wrong place” to debate the amendment. He agreed that the process needs to be reformed, but not two days before the Democratic National Convention.
The amendment was inspired by the efforts of Sanders to abolish the superdelegate process through a “fundamental transformation” of the Democratic Party.
Because the amendment did get support from more than a quarter of the committee, its backers can file a “minority report” to have the issue brought before the entire convention on Monday.
At a press conference before the Rules Committee convened its meeting, opponents of the superdelegate setup pledged to take the issue all the way to the full convention. 
“We’re going to go in and we’re going to call on the Rules Committee to do the right thing,” Diane Russell, a state representative from Maine, said. “Then we’re going to take our fight to the convention floor.” 
Sanders railed against the system throughout the primary, arguing that many of the party leaders who are superdelegates decided to support Hillary Clinton before the presidential campaigns got underway.
The Rules Committee subsequently voted down several other compromise amendments, including a measure to give superdelegates one-tenth of a vote each, ban lobbyists from being superdelegates, and bar superdelegates from voting on the convention’s first ballot. 
Clinton ended the campaign with 2,807 total delegates, including 602 superdelegates, to Sanders’s 1,894 delegates, including 48 superdelegates.
Tags Bernie Sanders democratic convention Hillary Clinton Sheila Jackson Lee
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