DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee Meets   ... back >
Jan. 19, 2018 - The Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) met at the Embassy Suites Convention Center on Friday and Saturday.  After approving three non-controversial amendments to the party's charter and bylaws, members considered the report and recommendations of the Unity Reform Commission.  In opening remarks DNC Chair Tom Perez described the Trump presidency as "the most serious stress test on our nation's democracy," and highlighted recent Democratic successes as evidence that "Democrats are on the rebound."  He said Democrats will have a 2020 nominating process that is "fair in fact and fair in perception" and that the DNC will ensure that whoever wins the party's nomination has the tools to win the general election.  The Unity Reform Commission's chair, Jen O'Malley Dillion, and vice chair, Larry Cohen, reviewed the Commission's work and report.  Cohen said that, "Unity doesn't fall out of the sky like the rain" and said the report "represents real change, not fluff." 
The Rules and Bylaws Committee will consider the recommendations of the Unity Reform Commission over the coming months, and then they will be put to the full DNC for approval.  One of the major changes recommended by the Unity Reform Commission is to reduce the influence of the automatic unpledged superdelegates.  These are elected officials and DNC members, and in the 2016 nominating campaign they accounted for about 15 percent of the total delegates to the Democratic National Convention.  Superdelegates can function as a "safety valve," giving the party establishment a voice in the selection of the nominee.  (If Republicans had such a system, Trump might not have been their nominee).  However grassroots activists view superdelegates as undemocratic.  In 2016 former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the overwhelming majority of the superdelegates; her ability to lock up the support of many superdelegates early on gave her a built in advantage and this was a source of considerable friction with supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).  The solution put forward by the Unity Reform Commission would divide the automatic delegates into three categories.  Elected officials would maintain their unpledged status, while state and at-large DNC members would no longer be unpledged but would be bound by primary and caucus results on the first ballot at the national convention.  This recommendation could meet with resistance.  One member of the RBC summed up the proposal as, "effectively we don't have a vote" on the first ballot.  Commission chair O'Malley Dillon put forward a different interpretation, stating "it's a representative vote."  Commission co-chair Larry Cohen explained, "We're lifting up the votes of the voters." 
DNC Chair Tom Perez speaks with Minyon Moore, founder of Women Building for the Future and head of Dewey Square Group's state and local practice, before the meeting.
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