Jun 14, 2018 - Politics & Policy

Democrats are divided over superdelegates for 2020

Superdelegates overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

The Democratic National Committee is pushing to scale back superdelegates' power in the 2020 presidential election, per Politico.

Why it matters: Some Democratic lawmakers worry they'll effectively be shut out of helping select the party's 2020 presidential nominee. Others have privately complained that this is the DNC's way of appeasing Bernie Sanders' supporters after the 2016 election.

Democratic divide: Hill Democrats are divided on this issue, as some like the idea of limiting superdelegates' role. Sen. Tim Kaine supports it and Rep. Ro Khanna tweeted "voters not party insiders can select our nominee. ... DC insiders are the last people I would trust with the judgment of understanding what the American people want!"

  • All members of the DNC voted in favor of this amendment in March, the committee's spokesman Michael Tyler told Politico. “We'll continue to seek input from members of Congress who are integral to our efforts to strengthen the Democratic Party and ensure that our 2020 nominee sprints out of the gates ready to defeat Donald Trump."
  • Four House Democrats, including Reps. David Price, who helped create superdelegates in 1980 as executive director of the Hunt Commission; Grace Meng, the DNC vice chair; Gregory Meeks and Rosa DeLauro, met with DNC Chairman Tom Perez yesterday morning to talk about this issue.

The problem: Although Perez's proposal wouldn't completely eliminate superdelegates, it would restrict them from voting in the first round of the presidential roll-call vote in 2020. However, it likely would only take one round of roll-call votes for the party's presidential nominee to be selected, meaning superdelegates, which include governors, members of Congress and other “distinguished party leaders," wouldn't get to weigh in.

Go deeper: In 2016, superdelegates made up 15% of all the party's delegates, but a significant majority of them sided with Hillary Clinton over Sanders. Roll Call has a primer on the history of superdelegates.

What's next: June 30 is the deadline to submit any amendments to the DNC's charter, which will be voted on during a party meeting in August.

Go deeper