"Progressive outrage, agitation, activism and organizing since 2016 forced corporate forces at the top of the party to confront a tough choice — either surrender on the superdelegate issue or deepen the justified distrust among people who believe in the principle of one person, one vote." —Norman Solomon, RootsAction.org
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In a landslide victory for progressive reforms, the Democratic National Committee approved new rules that will significantly curb the power of superdelegates during a meeting of party delegates in Chicago on Saturday.
"This is massive," declared journalist Alex Kotch in reaction. "In 2016, Clinton went into the election with 700 committed electoral votes—which had nothing to do with voter preference—simply because she was a powerful party leader. Now that unfair advantage is basically gone."
Watch the final vote as it was taken:
Breaking: After a contentious debate, Democrats have voted to vastly reduce the power of Superdelegates, a key progressive demand after the 2016 campaign Watch https://t.co/FEJoRdowEw for live interviews and analysis pic.twitter.com/sFGB7Sqe3G
— Jaisal Noor (@jaisalnoor) August 25, 2018
As Huffington Post political reporter Daniel Marans tweeted just minutes after the vote was taken:
This thing is over. The DNC membership just overwhelmingly approved the voice reforms by a voice vote. Super delegates do not get a vote on the first convention ballot unless a candidate already has the nomination sewn up from pledged delegates.
— Daniel Marans (@danielmarans) August 25, 2018
"We made these changes because it’s never too late to do the right thing," California DNC member Michael Kapp, who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential primary, told Marans. "By restoring trust to our presidential primary process, we are reinforcing the fact that Democrats are the party of the people."
"Today's vote is only the beginning of the process there is much more work to be done. The greater work is what is happening in the real real world to save the masses of people who depend on Democrats with a people-purposed mission to get elected." —Nina Turner, Our Revolution
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Norman Solomon, national coordinator for the progressive advocacy group RootsAction.org, which had lobbied on behalf of superdelegate reform, said he was skeptical that the power structure of the party would actually move on the issue.
"But it moved in a big way today — because of grassroots power," Solomon told Common Dreams in an emailed statement just after the measure passed. "The sustained groundswell of progressive outrage, agitation, activism and organizing since 2016 forced corporate forces at the top of the party to confront a tough choice — either surrender on the superdelegate issue or deepen the justified distrust among people who believe in the principle of one person, one vote."
The DNC leadership has realized, he added, "that it won't be possible to defeat Republicans unless progressives are strongly on board. Faced with the choice and undergoing such sustained pressure from the grassroots, the corporate forces of the party have retreated about superdelegates. Of course there will be huge battles ahead for progressives. We have got to keep the pressure up and keep moving to make the party and the country live up to the democratic rhetoric that so routinely rings hollow."
As The Hill reports:
The reform was pushed by DNC Chair Tom Perez, but faced strong opposition from a relatively small but vocal group of party members, who argued it would disenfranchise some of the party’s most prominent members.
The action seeks to heal divisions exposed during the 2016 Democratic nomination, when Hillary Clinton prevailed over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) after receiving the support of the superdelegates – "unpledged delegates" in the party’s parlance.
The vote was celebrated by numerous progressives who had demanded major party reforms in the wake of the party's devastating losses in the 2016 elections:
Congratulations to grassroots activists: the @DNC just overwhelmingly passed the reforms that will empower YOU! Superdelegates no longer vote on first ballot! Caucus and primary reform and FINANCIAL OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY! pic.twitter.com/fs7unGbkFu
— Nomiki Konst (@NomikiKonst) August 25, 2018
"When we come together as Democrats to put the greater good of the majority ahead of those with special interests and privilege we can be a party that practices what we preach about democracy and voting rights," said Nina Turner, president of Our Revolution.
"These reforms will also help us get closer to earning the votes of our sisters and brothers in this country as we head into the midterms and prepare for 2020," she added. "Today's vote is only the beginning of the process there is much more work to be done. The greater work is what is happening in the real real world to save the masses of people who depend on Democrats with a people-purposed mission to get elected."