State Rep. Aaron Regunberg has been working since July to convince the Democratic Party to eliminate superdelegates from its presidential nominating process. When the DNC Unity Reform Commission meets for the fifth and final time on Friday and Saturday in Washington DC, we’ll see if he was successful.
As a kind of final effort, he reaffirmed his opposition in a post on Medium yesterday in the form of an open letter to Tom Perez, the party chairman.
“Put simply, the continued existence of superdelegates in the nominating process is unfair to our voters and inconsistent with our core values,” wrote Regunberg. “By eliminating superdelegates, we will send a strong message to grassroots Democrats across the country that it is their voice — and only their voice — that ultimately matters in the Presidential nominating process. Moreover, we will make it clear to our future candidates that it is the will of our voters — and only their will — that will determine our nominee in 2020 and beyond.”
Superdelegates are Democratic Party leaders who get to cast an independent vote for the party’s presidential candidate, regardless of whom regular delegates are bound to vote for at the convention based on the state primary. The DNC Unity Commission, made up of supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, was to decide on their fate.
“My hope is that the candidate who best reflects the hopes and priorities of our Party’s grassroots is our nominee, without the potential for interference from superdelegates,” wrote Regunberg.
He mentioned that Rhode Island’s nine superdelegates all supported Hillary Clinton while state Democratic voters supported Bernie Sanders. “Indeed, here in my state of Rhode Island, superdelegates overwhelmingly opposed the winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential primary, meaning that our state gave substantially more delegate votes to the candidate who won substantially less actual primary votes.”
Regunberg is running for lt. governor in a Democratic primary against incumbent Dan McKee, who also opposes superdelegates. Said McKee campaign spokesman Mike Trainor, “Lieutenant Governor McKee is in favor of eliminating superdelegates and working on getting more voters, including those who were disenfranchised in 2016, to vote in democratic primaries.”
Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse have both said they would support eliminating superdelegates while Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline have offered more measured statements on superdelgates.
The DNC Unity Commission is expected to announce its decision on superdelegates this weekend.
“Created during the 2016 Democratic National Convention, the commission will recommend improvements to ensure the presidential nomination process is accessible, transparent, and inclusive,” is how the Unity Commission describes itself. “The commission is made up of 21 members selected by Sec. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and DNC Chair Tom Perez.”