Making the Democratic Party Democratic

This op ed is by a guy, Ronald Klain, who was a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s campaign last year, but with that caveat I have to say I agree with his suggestions for reforming the Democratic nomination process. They are: (1) eliminate the caucuses; (2) open the primaries to independents; (3) take away the superdelegate vote.

Suggestions #2 and #3 are the ones I agree with most strongly, but I can see the argument for #1. A primary probably is a more reliable measure of a state’s Democratic voters than a caucus, which is a confusing and time-consuming process that only the most committed people attend.

#2  Last year Clinton voters were calling for the primaries to be closed to anyone but registered Democrats, and I think that’s a huge mistake. Dems can’t win elections without the votes of left-leaning independents. “What kind of message is sent to independents about Democrats’ desire for their support in the fall by a nomination process displaying a ‘not welcome’ sign in the spring?” Klain asks. And, frankly, the Democratic Party isn’t helping itself by being more closed off and inbred than it already is. It won’t hurt for the process to reflect the broader views of the electorate. Mischief can be kept to a minimum by barring registered Republicans from voting. Seems sensible to me.

#3 The superdelegates have got to go. I disagree with Klain when he wrote “Superdelegates have never been decisive in the process; they have always ratified the choice of the primary voters.” Clinton fell short of votes to clinch the nomination last year; were it not for the superdelegates it would have been a contested convention. I’m sure she would have won anyway, since she owned the DNC. But it was galling to be reminded, all last year, that Clinton started out with a huge lead because of the superdelegates.

Emma Roller wrote last year, “Left-wing Democrats have long argued that their party’s system of superdelegates is unfair because it gives too much weight to ruling elites, disenfranchising ordinary voters.” Yeah, pretty much. And that’s the last thing Democrats need.

I would go so far as to say that if the Dems haven’t gotten rid of the superdelegates by 2020, it’s going to hurt them. People will remember 2016.