As the first contests of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary draw near and Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to rise in polling, a small group of party insiders are considering making a bid to reverse a rule change won by progressives and allow the establishment to pick a candidate.
That's according to reporting from Politico Friday night which claims a cadre of Democratic National Committee (DNC) insiders are plotting to return superdelegates—unelected party officials and elites—to the first round of voting on the nominee at the party's 2020 convention this summer in Milwaukee.
"Here come the dirty tricks," tweeted professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, a Sanders supporter.
DNC chair Tom Perez, already under fire from progressives for changing debate rules Friday in what was seen as a handout to billionaire latecomer candidate Mike Bloomberg and for packing the 2020 convention committee with Sanders opponents last week, emphatically denied the committee would allow the change.
"Absolutely not," Perez tweeted Friday night.
According to Politico:
In conversations on the sidelines of a DNC executive committee meeting and in telephone calls and texts in recent days, about a half-dozen members have discussed the possibility of a policy reversal to ensure that so-called superdelegates can vote on the first ballot at the party's national convention. Such a move would increase the influence of DNC members, members of Congress and other top party officials, who now must wait until the second ballot to have their say if the convention is contested.
Exclusion of super delegates from the first round of voting was a key concession won by supporters of Sanders in the run up to the 2020 primary.
"Trying to do these reforms would be a major mistake," Sanders senior advisor Jeff Weaver told Politico reporter Holly Otterbein.
Bernie Sanders senior adviser Jeff Weaver on @DavidSiders’ story on some DNC members talking about letting superdelegates vote on 1st ballot: “... the party engaged in a multiyear process to reform the nominating contest. Trying to undo those reforms would be a serious mistake.” pic.twitter.com/JDxjWZYDX0— Holly Otterbein (@hollyotterbein) January 31, 2020
As Politico reported, it's a scheme that faces strong resistance from the grassroots and party elite alike. But, said popular podcast Chapo Trap House cohost Will Menaker, it's still an instructive moment for supporters of Sanders' campaign.
"They're unlikely to succeed, but this is how desperate they are," said Menaker.