Showing posts with label Democratic Convention. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Democratic Convention. Show all posts

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Draft Resolution Would Largely Extend 2020 Democratic Nomination Rules to 2024

The Democratic National Convention is not set to gavel in for another 18 days, but the work of the convention itself is already well underway. The convention Platform Committee met earlier this week, and the convention Rules Committee will hold its first session today at 2pm.

But the work of the 2024 Democratic delegate selection rules will not begin there. In fact, a resolution has already been drafted to be shared with and considered by the 180 delegate member Rules committee.1 However, unlike past cycles, Democrats do not have a laundry list of primary phase grievances to bring into the quadrennial confab. For starters, despite all the hype given the large and diverse field of candidates, neither chaos nor widespread division among party factions took hold in the lead up to and during primary season. It is those divisions that often put the rules of the nomination process in the crosshairs, making them fertile ground for potential convention compromise.

The fallout from the tight 2008 Clinton-Obama battle, for example, produced the Democratic Change Commission that further codified the addition of Nevada and South Carolina to the early primary calendar, reduced the share of superdelegates, and committed to developing best practices for states with caucuses in lieu of primaries.

And obviously, the friction from the 2016 nomination race between Clinton and Sanders led to the compromise in Philadelphia between the two camps that yielded the Unity Reform Commission. Both sides had their quibbles with various aspects of the process and that created a commission with a clear cut agenda to examine the possibilities of opening the process up to an increased number of voters and transitioning more states from caucuses to primaries. It also set a concrete reduction of superdelegates that was later revised by the Rules and Bylaws Committee before it was adopted by the full DNC in August 2018.

But in 2020, that sort of animosity just never materialized among those vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. And now that the virtual national convention to formally nominate Joe Biden is on the horizon, the early signals for what the rules discussion will entail show it. Early reporting indicated that the draft resolution to be considered would include language creating a Build the Party Commission, but that language is not included in the draft made public. Instead, the process of reviewing the 2020 process and creating rules for 2024 would, under the resolution, skip that step and go straight the Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC). That body, as it was after the 2012 cycle, would be tasked with the rules review. Recall that the Unity Reform Commission met throughout 2017 and was required to present a report to the RBC by the beginning of 2018. The RBC then had to take those recommendations and turn them into actionable rules changes by the summer of 2018 in order for them to be adopted by the full DNC with enough lead time for 2020.

If this resolution is ultimately adopted by the convention Rules Committee and then by the full convention, then the RBC would review the 2020 process and draft a report by the end of March 2021. That would give the group ample time to craft 2024 rules ahead of a likely late summer 2022 DNC meeting that would adopt rules for 2024 (if the past model of rules adoption is followed for the next cycle).

But that is the structural piece of the 2024 rules puzzle. There is also a substantive portion embedded in this draft resolution. Again, however, if one is here for the flash of potential reforms, then the substance may be lacking compared to past cycles. Basically, the proposed resolution would carry over much of the 2020 rules to 2024. They would continue the commitment to a more open nomination process; the changes layered into Rule 2 for 2020. Caucuses, through state-level rules changes or necessity given the coronavirus pandemic, were already reduced to the lowest number ever on the Democratic side during the post-reform era.

The resolution would also see the barring of superdelegates from voting on the first ballot at the national convention extended to 2024. No, superdelegates could not overturn the will of voters (through primaries and caucuses) at the convention, but that was never really a threat in 2020. Biden established a large enough lead on and in the weeks after Super Tuesday to eliminate that prospect. However, superdelegates retained the ability to line up behind candidates before and during primary season. And the ones who did overwhelmingly preferred Joe Biden. And while that role was extended to 2020, the number of superdelegates weighing in and endorsing before or during primary season was greatly reduced compared to 2016. But that should not have come as a surprise with the field as large as it was and support as varied as it was. The true comparison, then, would be a competitive cycle with multiple candidates involved and not the sort of one-on-one contest that 2008 or 2016 quickly offered during primary season. In other words, the winnowing of the field was different in 2020. But superdelegates still played a role in determining who stuck around.

Despite that reality, the superdelegates rules change enacted for 2020 will very likely be extended to 2024 and very likely without much controversy. There may be pockets of dissension, but there will not be controversy.

The one new thing added in this draft resolution to the list of items to be carried over to 2024 is the one thing that was universally controversial about the 2020 Democratic nominating process: the chaos in Iowa at the beginning of the primary calendar. That raised anew the Iowa and New Hampshire question, one that has been fought to varying degrees for cycle after cycle in the post-reform era.

Is this the time that that change will finally come to the early calendar? On some level, it seems the perfect time. The strengthening of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd's killing over Memorial Day weekend brings into even starker contrast the misalignment of the two earliest states' demography with the membership of the broader Democratic Party. And that is after that was already a complaint of at least one candidate for the 2020 nomination.

That may be. However, those contests only minimally affected the winnowing of the field of candidates and weeded out those that likely should have bowed out earlier in the invisible primary campaign. It was when the calendar brought in more diverse electorates that the true winnowing took shape. It was the more diverse electorate in Nevada that indicated a two person race between Sanders and Biden and an even more diverse electorate in South Carolina (if not the important endorsement of Jim Clyburn) that catapulted Biden into Super Tuesday and the nomination.

Given that timeline, it would seem that the Democratic Party -- and this is excluding the important work the Republican National Committee will do on its own 2024 rules -- has a choice to make. Jettison Iowa and New Hampshire from the early calendar and risk the potential for backlash from those two states or basically ignore them and let Nevada, South Carolina and states immediately on their heels on Super Tuesday continue to do the heavy lifting.

Many will downplay the possibility of backlash from Iowa and New Hampshire. The DNC, after all, can follow its 2008 model, and penalize any states that seek to break the rules on primary and caucus timing. But would the party be willing to do so with a couple of states that are often competitive in the general election? They were with Florida and Michigan in 2008 (and they had more electoral votes at stake). But would that be worth it to potentially negatively affect the relationships between the national party and state parties in Iowa and New Hampshire with a competitive 2024 general election in which those states may be pivotal? That is an open question.

Look, the symbolism of the early calendar change alone is going to exert a degree of pressure on the RNC and DNC to make the above questions almost moot. But that does not mean that they are not worth considering or will not be between now and summer 2022. But those are the trade-offs that are involved in complex party decision making.

And to close on this subject, what happens on the Republican side with respect to Iowa and New Hampshire matters too. If Republicans hold pat, then that adds to the friction between the state parties in those respective states and the national party. That is negative momentum that the DNC in this case would probably want to avoid. And no, that is not the RNC dictating what is occurring on the Democratic side. It is just another variable in the decision-making process cited above. On the other hand, the RNC could take any potential change to the calendar on the Democratic side and run with it. This is more positive or reinforcing momentum. It is not as if the Republicans have not considered calendar changes of their own. But would the RNC willing follow the DNC into that change? That, too, is an open question.

Regardless, those are all questions and considerations for the time after November's election. But the rules discussions for 2024 start now at the conventions.

1 Draft resolution text (via HuffPost):
"WHEREAS, following the 2016 election, the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”), under the leadership of Chair Tom Perez, took substantial steps to ensure a more accessible, transparent, and inclusive 2020 Democratic presidential nominating process;

WHEREAS, these reforms, which encouraged many states to move from caucuses to more inclusive primaries, led to an unprecedented level of voter participation in presidential primary contests across the country, allowing more Democratic voters to make their voices heard and increasing voter confidence in our nominating system;

WHEREAS, these reforms helped inspire the largest and most diverse field in our Party’s history to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for President;

WHEREAS, the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the DNC (“RBC”) was instrumental in adopting and implementing the reforms that made the 2020 presidential nominating process the most dynamic and successful in our Party’s history;

WHEREAS, the Democratic Party needs to continue to build off the successes of the 2020 primary reforms in creating the rules of the 2024 primary process and Democratic National Convention;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the RBC must protect and continue the work started in 2017 to make improvements to the 2024 nominating process and Democratic National Convention and build on the successes achieved this cycle. With the purpose and the goals of continuing to further accessibility, transparency, and inclusion in our Party, the RBC shall conduct a comprehensive and structured review of the presidential nominating reforms adopted by the DNC for the 2020 primaries to evaluate where even further reforms are needed, while maintaining the advances that have been made. This review should include considerations of the successes of each of the reforms adopted in 2018 in achieving the DNC’s goals, empowering rank and file Democrats, and strengthening and unifying the Democratic Party in the lead up to the general election. In conducting this review, the RBC should take steps to ensure public and stakeholder engagement in the process, including at least one public hearing and an opportunity to submit comments. This review and accounting should be completed by March 31, 2021."

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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Democrats Delay National Convention by Five Weeks

The Democratic National Committee on Thursday, April 2 opted to push back the start of the national convention in Milwaukee from July 13 to August 17 amid increasing time constraints, not to mention public health issues, place on the party over the coronavirus pandemic.

Now the Democratic convention will begin just a week before the Republican National Convention in Charlotte. That reverts the convention timing to the model that has been in place since the 2008 cycle.  2020 was to be a break in that one-week-apart model and a return to the month-apart model for national convention timing that had dominated the post-reform era. However, the coronavirus has changed those plans.

The five week delay in the convention is consistent with the movement of primaries that has occurred on the state level in the wake of the outbreak. Among the states that have shifted delegate selection events back, they have moved on average almost 38 days, a little more than five weeks. The nearly equivalent move by the national convention will allow those states and others stuck between a rock and a hard place in completing their delegate selection in a timely and efficient manner ahead of the new convention's commencement.

What this leaves unanswered is how the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee will handle states that have moved beyond the June 9 deadline by which states are to have held their primaries and caucuses under DNC rules. The rules call for a 50 percent reduction in a state's delegation as a penalty. But the convention move signals even more that the party is more likely than not to grant some latitude to state parties on this front.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

2016 Democratic National Convention Presidential Nomination Roll Call Tally

Roll Call Tally from Day Two of the 2016 Democratic National Convention (7/26/16)

Announced totals at the conclusion of the Roll Call of States
Due to Senator Sanders' motion to suspend the rules at the end of the roll call, there was no total announced by the chair of the convention, Marcia Fudge (D-OH, 11th). However, that total is reflected in the above spreadsheet.

NOTE: With regard to the non-votes, FHQ is making a distinction between expressed abstentions -- of which there were only three (3) -- and votes not accounted for in a delegation's reported tally. There were 53 votes in 17 states that were unaccounted for. More precisely, the convention secretary would call out the total number of delegates in a given state delegation, and the subsequent reported delegation vote did not sum to that total. Although convention secretary, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, cast one such vote -- one from Alabama -- as an abstention, that vote better fits the "not voting" category described above.

State tallies that differed from the results of the primaries or caucuses
The following six states were states won by Sanders during primary season, but that ended up casting more delegate votes for Clinton during the roll call of the states:
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming
This outcome is a function of the votes of superdelegates in those states formally casting their votes. The six states represent a little more than a quarter of the total number of states won by Sanders (highlighted in light blue in the spreadsheet).

Roll Call of States Sequence
As is the case at Republican conventions, the roll call of states proceeds in alphabetical order. The only break in that in Philadelphia was Vermont. When the sequence got to the Green Mountain state, its delegation passed. When the process came back to Vermont at the end, the delegation reported its tally and deferred to Senator Sanders. Sanders then made a motion -- similar to then-Senator Clinton's in 2008 -- to suspend the rules, record all of the votes and for the convention to nominate Clinton. Different from Clinton eight years ago, Sanders failed to call for that nomination by acclamation. While Sanders' motion did not include a specific mention of "acclamation," the convention chair reported the motion as such to the convention when calling for a voice vote. That voice vote passed, the roll call concluded and Clinton was formally nominated.

Though it was not heralded in the sequence, Clinton crossed over the majority 2382 delegate threshold following the South Dakota delegation's report to the secretary. There was no attempt as there was in Cleveland and has traditionally been the custom at national conventions (regardless of party) to yield to the home state of the candidate. New York did not put Clinton over the top as it did for Trump at the Republican National Convention.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

A Brief Note on 2016 Democratic Nomination Rules

Unlike Tampa, there is not much going on in Charlotte regarding the rules governing the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. The Rules and Bylaws Committee met in Charlotte on Saturday, completed their business and will make their report presentation to the convention tomorrow. But the bottom line is that the real work on 2016 will take place on the Democratic side next year and into 2014. The RBC report will likely involve the creation of a commission to examine the rules procedures, which will in turn make any recommendations for changes to the system to the Rules and Bylaws Committee. That will happen in 2013 and the RBC will act -- if any changes are to be made -- the following year.

I was fortunate enough to have run into RBC co-chair Jim Roosevelt in the Charlotte Convention Center yesterday while picking up my media credentials for the convention. He confirmed that the RBC report was done and would be presented on Tuesday at the convention. I also asked him for his thoughts on the rules changes the Republican Party seems to have made. He, too, had not seen the final language on the rules that was passed in Tampa (thus limiting either his or my ability to do anything other than speculate on what has been reported), but agreed with me that the proposed stiffer penalties represented a hopeful step toward calendar order in 2016.

FHQ will have more on this from the convention tomorrow when the RBC gives its report.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

FHQ Credentialed for Both Major Party Conventions

Word on credentials decisions seemingly [finally1] trickled out via email from the Democratic National Convention Committee to the blogger class yesterday. FHQ was among the lucky ones to nab credentials to the Charlotte convention, meaning we'll be on the ground at both conventions later this summer.

Big news. I'm excited to see (and share) what happens at both conventions in terms of the 2016 rules.

...among a great deal of other things.

1 The RNC notified me of FHQ's credentials to the Tampa convention at the end of June.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama is the J.K. Rowling of Politics?

You have to love the call-in portion after C-SPAN's coverage. A caller just linked Obama's brand of politics to the "in one ear and out the other" -- the caller's words, not mine, Rowling fans -- literature from the author of the Harry Potter series.

Seriously, though, thoughts on the speech? Assertive and directed right at McCain and the Republicans. The GOP will certainly have an answer next week, but Obama made it more difficult for them to some extent. But there were some openings for them as well. In the same way that the Democrats made the "McSame" argument all week, the convention in St. Paul next week will most likely attempt to paint Obama as the typical big government, tax-and-spend Democrat. What is the price tag on the hope Obama is selling?

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Democratic Convention Roll Call

Rob brought this issue up in the comments to last night's convention post, but the traffic has likely shifted from there and the roll call is certainly worth its own place. Here are a few things I've been able to dig up regarding the process.

1) DemConWatch has it that the floor vote will be a truncated affair. The voting will take place beforehand.

2) In fact, jack-of-all-trades, Seth Masket, who is a delegate, a blogger and a political scientist confirms that the Colorado delegation voted this morning at the delegation breakfast.

What we'll see tonight is a part of the deal hammered out between the Clinton and Obama teams. We'll get a limited number of states announcing their results and then they'll move on. I'd guess the New York delegation plays a prominent role.

Regardless, the roll call will take place between 5 and 7pm ET, so C-SPAN will be where I'll be able to catch it. I don't know what the cable news outlets have been doing (gavel-to-gavel coverage?). Bill Clinton is on at 9pm and Biden follows during the latter half of the 10pm hour.

[See the full schedule of the night here.]

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Some Good One-Liners Tonight at the Democratic Convention

You have to do something to break up this "tension," right?

Fmr. Virginia Governor and Current Senate candidate, Mark Warner, on McCain voting with Bush 90% of the time:
"That's not a maverick; that's a sidekick."

Ohio Governor, Ted Strickland on what the surplus Bush inherited in 2001:
"George Bush took office on third base and stole second."
This is the type of stuff that I recall from four years the GOP convention. One cut at Kerry and the Democrats after another. It is the type of playful mocking the Democrats were hesitant to use in the post-9-11 environment. Having said that, mocking is an equal opportunity employer; the Republicans will have their fair share next week. 2008 isn't 2004 and it is more fun that way.

I've been sidetracked all day, so I've missed the opportunity to ask, but what are everyone's thoughts thus far (pre-Clinton address).

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