CBC: No Cuts to Superdelegates. They Don’t Want the "Burdensome Necessity of Competing Against Constituents."
Writer and radio host Benjamin Dixon
by Gaius Publius
The news is that the negotiation ahead of the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia around the rules by which the Party will conduct future primaries has hit another bump, this time over the number and role of superdelegates. Sanders would like far fewer, either zero or a number not sufficient to predetermine the outcome of an election. (In Texas, the platform also calls for superdelegates to be prevented from voting on the first ballot, but that won't fly nationally, I'm sure.)
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) disagrees with his proposal, strongly.
Before we launch into this, I want to remind you there are two pieces to this story, not just one. The first is the news itself, brought to you via Politico (immediately below). The second is how to understand the news, brought to you by Benjamin Dixon (below the Politico story). Please consider both pieces as you digest this part of the Democratic saga.
Politico (my emphasis throughout):
Sanders collides with black lawmakersPolitico helpfully undercuts the stated CBC's state reason — the change would add the "burdensome necessity of [our] competing against [our] constituents" (i.e., citizens) — by adding this non-sequitur immediately after:
The Congressional Black Caucus 'vehemently' opposes Sanders' call to abolish superdelegates.
Bernie Sanders is on a crash course with the Congressional Black Caucus.
In a letter sent to both the Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns, the CBC is expressing its resolute opposition to two key reforms demanded by Sanders in the run-up to the Democratic convention: abolishing the party’s superdelegate system and opening Democratic primaries up to independents and Republicans.
"The Democratic Members of the Congressional Black Caucus recently voted unanimously to oppose any suggestion or idea to eliminate the category of Unpledged Delegate to the Democratic National Convention (aka Super Delegates) and the creation of uniform open primaries in all states," says the letter, which was obtained by POLITICO. "The Democratic Party benefits from the current system of unpledged delegates to the National Convention by virtue of rules that allow members of the House and Senate to be seated as a delegate without the burdensome necessity of competing against constituents for the honor of representing the state during the nominating process." ...
"We passed a resolution in our caucus that we would vehemently oppose any change in the superdelegate system because members of the CBC might want to participate in the Democratic convention as delegates but if we would have to run for the delegate slot at the county level or state level or district level, we would be running against our constituents and we're not going to do that,” said Butterfield. “But we want to participate as delegates and that's why this superdelegates system was created in the beginning, so members would not have to run against their own constituents."
The opposition to open primaries is based on the fear that allowing independent or Republican voters to participate in Democratic primaries would dilute minority voting strength in many places.Opposition to no superdelegates and opposition to open primaries are different issues, but only if you're reading carefully.
Politico's framing — in effect, "Sanders tangles with blacks" — enflames the racial conflict without admitting to doing it. Which is where Benjamin Dixon's comments come it.
The most pervasive narrative of this election has been that black people love Hillary Clinton and reject Bernie Sanders. This is a false narrative when you consider the actual numbers. The true story is that black Democratic establishment loves Hillary Clinton and has rejected Bernie Sanders. Black people, generally, have rejected the entire system.Dixon's whole piece is broader and very good. But what's above is all you need to know for the current discussion.
Takeaways: One, don't let organizations like Politico stir the racial pot, as they're doing above, and are sure to continue to do. Race is being used here to divide, in order to prevent structural solutions unfavorable to all establishment elites and institutions, not just those involving minorities.
Two, if Dixon is right, institutional Democrats, of all races, are a group apart from their constituents, as untethered from their constituents' concerns as they wish to be, and institutional Democrats, by and large, want to keep it that way. That why the CBC writes that they prefer the
current system of unpledged delegates to the National Convention [because it has] rules that allow members of the House and Senate to be seated as a delegate without the burdensome necessity of competing against constituents...Because constituents don't seem to be first on the minds of most institutional Democrats, do they? If they were, they'd run their elections differently. (A point that Sanders, if you've noticed, has been making, with little success.)