For liberals and progressives, 2016 will be remembered as the year that they lost to Donald Trump. The businessman-turned-politician was never supposed to win. His crude remarks, his blunt style, and blatant violation of political norms offended Democrats across America. Despite all of these things, they still lost.
Though many were united in opposition to then-candidate Trump, they were not united behind a candidate. Although former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was overwhelmingly selected to be the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, the selection process itself was hardly fair. Despite support of the nominee by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), his supporters generally cried foul and refused to give in.
The issue at hand was superdelegates.
Superdelegates are a group of elected politicians, appointed officials, and other prominent figures within the Democratic Party. They’re given this special vote that is in no way accountable to the base of registered Democrats. It essentially gives the party elite a disproportionately large voice over the nomination process, which isn’t fair to regular delegates within the party.
After the failure of Hillary Clinton to wrap up the general election and stop the man liberals fear, many Democrats came together under the belief that superdelegates needed to be addressed. It was quite clear that distrust of the party elite cost them the election and having an elite group of people elevated above the rest didn’t help. Many Democrats, Clinton and Sanders supporters alike, called for an end to the superdelegate system.
There was hope this would happen after Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) stepped down as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. New chairman Tom Perez would be tasked with bringing the party together after the reign of Wasserman-Schultz sabotaged party unity.
But would Perez have the courage and ambition to make a bold recommendation? Not quite.
In a CNN op-ed, Chairman Perez and Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) claimed that the answer was a “significant reduction” in superdelegates. They didn’t call for an end to the superdelegate process, effectively giving everyone a fair voice in the nomination process. They simply stated that the number of elite party insiders elevated above the rest needs to be reduced.
How is this bold?
Chairman Perez only makes it worse by noting that this move is endorsed by both Clinton and Sanders. Both candidates agree not to fully eliminate the system of superdelegates, instead backing a weak alternative plan that does little to actually remedy the issue?
The leadership of Chairman Perez is as weak and ineffectual as that of his predecessor. Rep. Wasserman-Schultz was a weak motivator and couldn’t turn out support for the top of the ticket. She protected the superdelegates and while the sitting Chairman doesn’t want to protect them all, he’s not willing to endorse eliminating superdelegates either. That is not what quality leadership looks like.
This is good news for Republicans, who continue to make gains off of the disorganization within the Democratic Party. The party still has not recovered from last year’s stunning upset and has done nothing but engage in a circular firing squad since. This will only hurt the liberal and progressive agendas, as the Democratic elite desperately clings to power while growing more irrelevant with time.