Wednesday, August 26, 2009

All Quiet on the Democratic Change Commission Front

Understandably Ted Kennedy's passing has Democrats thinking about other things today, but even before that, there was and continues to be an almost total absence of the Democratic Change Commission in the news this week ahead of the group's weekend meeting in St. Louis. Normally, I wouldn't make that big a deal of this, especially considering that real news of the DCC's first meeting didn't start filtering out until the Wednesday before. Even then, that scant news was able to cut through a week that involved Mark Sanford's adultery admission new conference and Michael Jackson's death. [What a week!] To me, though, this is troubling because this is the meeting that is supposed to be open for public comment. Yet, we've heard nothing from the party since the August 7 press release announced the online suggestions form.

There are however a couple of suggestions that are floating around out there that may see the light of day this weekend in Missouri.

1) End the Texas Two Step: Caucuses are definitely on the Commission's to-do list, but this is a tricky one. The problem some see in the primary-caucus set up in the Lone Star state is that primary voters' votes are discounted because not all primary voters return for the night cap caucus. That's all well and good, but this is still an issue that pits the national party against the state party; specifically a longstanding state party preference. And yes, the Democrats are more willing to strike down these types of structural anomalies than to yield to the states as the Republican Party typically does.

There's also the issue of Obama's preference. The system in Texas did allow him to best Hillary Clinton in the Texas delegate count once the caucus portion was tabulated in June. This still seems like a Clinton/Obama holdover to me; one that will be left to Texas Democrats to decide. And yes, the Texas Democratic Party has already been looking into the issue. I should also note that each state has to submit a delegate selection plan to the Democratic Party for approval (or will in 2011). The party does have the power to strike that down if they wish. But Texas can pull a Florida/Michigan move and hold a primary-caucus anyway. Both Florida and Michigan submitted plans that called for their 2008 primaries to be during the party-sanctioned period; not outside the window where they were ultimately held.

2) Be more youth friendly: The DNC Youth Council also penned a letter to the DCC and asked that the group attempt to insure that contests don't occur too early. The argument there is that contests like Iowa's January 3 caucuses occurred at a time when students were still at home on winter break. That is a legitimate concern, but seems to be moot given that the DCC seems committed to pulling back the opening of the window in which contests can take place into March again.

The Youth Council's other issue is with Saturday caucuses. Again, the concern is that weekend working youth would be disadvantaged. Some in the Jewish community may be willing to go along with the Youth Council on this one. Of course, now I really want to go and check out both the youth and Jewish proportion of the population in Saturday caucus states. In 2008 that list included Nebraska, Nevada, Washington and Wyoming. [Louisiana and South Carolina held Saturday primaries and Maine Democrats had a Sunday caucus.] This one will be talked about, because the effects aren't understood very well. There are pros and cons to having and not having weekend contests.

These and other public comments will be interesting to track throughout the Democratic Change Commission's meeting on Saturday. [No word yet on whether the DNC Youth Council has a problem with the day of this particular meeting and how that bodes for their argument. Oh, but the irony.]

Recent Posts:
About that New Jersey Governor's Poll

A Closer Look at the Aftermath of the 2010 Census

New Jersey and Virginia: A Diagnostic Comparison of the State of the Race(s)


Robert said...

I know that I am slightly off topic here, but one of the tributes to Ted Kennedy is that his endorsement of the Obama candidacy was a key factor in Obama's nomination. As I recall, many commentators at the time suggested that the endorsement was a big blow to the Clinton campaign. I thought, though, in the aftermath it became a consensus opinion that none of the endorsements in that campaign meant much, even EMKs. Am I imagining something or is this point just part of the glow of appreciation of man who has just passed away?

Josh Putnam said...

I needed much more space than this comment section should naturally tolerate, so I moved this into its own post. This was a question I was thinking about during yesterday's coverage too.

Josh Putnam said...

Oh, here's the link to that post.