Category Archives: Delegates

2020 Democratic Convention — Unity and Reform Commission — Part 2

One of the issues in the last several primary cycles — for both parties — have been the role of unpledged delegates.  There are several reasons why both parties designate certain party officials (and on the Democratic side, elected officials) as automatic delegates.  First, it removes these individuals from the competition for the “regular” delegate slots making it easier for grassroots activists to compete for a delegate slot.   Second, these individuals have a slightly different perspective than the voters.  While everyone wants the party to win the White House, state party officials are also responsible for winning as many down ballot races as possible.  Elected officials want to win their own races.  As such, in theory, if the leading candidate seems too extreme or flawed, the unpledged delegates could swing the nomination to the second-placed candidate.   Before 2016, the Republicans decided to bind their automatic delegates based on primary results in their state.  After 2016, some Republicans might regret that their automatic delegates no longer had that power given the continuing fiasco that is Donald Trump.  However, in neither party, the automatic delegates have ultimately supported the candidate that won the most delegates; so this theoretical power has never been used.

Even though this power has never been used to change the result, many Democrats have wanted to reduce the power of the automatic delegates.  The resolution that created the Unity and Reform Commission mandated that, while elected officials (Senators, Representatives, Governors) and distinguished party leaders (e.g., former presidents, former DNC chairs, former speakers/caucus leaders) would remain unpledged, DNC members would be pledged in accordance with the primary results.  The task for the Unity and Reform Commission was to make recommendations as to how to handle this process.  First, the recommendations distinguish between DNC members who represent the states (state party chairs and the DNC members elected by the state parties) and other DNC members (at-large members and those who represent groups of elected officials).  The “state” members will be bound based on the state results; and the “national” DNC members will be bound based on the national results.

On the issue of exactly how to bind these automatic delegates, the Commission did not reach a final recommendation but, instead, suggested two alternatives.   The first would just pool the delegate votes with no individual votes on the first ballot.  The second would create a mechanism for assigning the automatic delegates to specific candidates based on the delegates personal wishes with some random mechanism if the personal preferences do not line up with the required allocation.   Unlike regular delegates, however, the automatic delegates would be absolutely bound to these allocations. Continue Reading...

Also posted in Democratic Party, Superdelegates | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

2020 Democratic Convention — Unity and Reform Commission — Part 1

While, in one sense, it is very early to talk about who will be President of the United States on January 21, 2021, there are many people who think that process has a lot to do with results.  And the drafting of the rules for 2020 have already started.

On the Republican side, there is no public effort to re-write the rules.  Unlike the Democratic Party, the Republican party has the basic rules (which are less detailed than the Democratic Party rules) for allocating delegates to the national convention within the actual Rules of the Republican Party and require a supermajority of the Republican National Committee to change those Rules.

The Democrats, however, keep the rules for delegate selection separate from the party by-laws.  So every cycle, the rules and by-laws committee drafts those rules and submits them to the full Democratic National Committee for approval.  The starting point for these rules is the rules from the previous cycle.  However, because no rules are perfect, most contested campaigns lead to complaints about the rules.  These complaints in turn have, in most of these cycles, caused the party to appoint a commission to study whatever rules were seen as being a problem in the last cycle and make recommendations. Continue Reading...

Also posted in Democratic Party, DNC, Elections | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on 2020 Democratic Convention — Unity and Reform Commission — Part 1

Early Post-Mortem

This election is a bitter pill to swallow because everybody got it wrong.  Apparently even the internal polls of the RNC in the last week of the campaign showed Secretary Clinton ahead.  At the end of the day, President-elect Trump managed to avoid shooting himself in the foot just long enough during the last two weeks for Republicans who were telling pollsters that they were voting for Governor Johnson or were undecided to hold their noses and come back home.  Certainly, the polls with two weeks to go encouraged the Clinton campaign to dream about states that they could go into and help Democrats in down ballot races.  The perception that Clinton would win in some ways gave permission for Republicans to hold their noses and vote for Trump to keep the margin down and for Democrats to cast protest votes for third party candidates.

It’s also a bitter pill because the race got very personal.  Since the election, I have gotten e-mails from local activists about the issues that the party needs to address.  On most of the issues, there was a plan on that issue from the Clinton campaign.  The issues, however, never got aired as the campaign focused on the flaws of the two candidates.    I don’t think that the choice of the Democratic candidate mattered on this aspect of the campaign.  In the primary, Trump also ran a very personality based campaign, slandering his opponents and coming up with labels to characterize the rest of the Republican candidates.   Certain issues that were mentioned in the DNC WikiLeaks memos were not good issues for a Democratic primary but would have proven useful tools for the Trump campaign in the general election.  Trump was such a big personality and so uniquely “not ready” to be President, it is hard to see how any Democratic campaign could have avoided the temptation to focus on Trump’s flaws and gotten the media to focus on the issues rather than the personalities.

Given the closeness of this election what needs to change between now and 2020. Continue Reading...

Also posted in Democratic Party, Elections, Electoral College | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Meet the Delegates: Joe Smallhoover – Democrats Abroad

Joe SmallhooverJoe Smallhoover is the Chair of Democrats Abroad France. We tried unsuccessfully to find some time together during the convention, but finally a mutually workable time a few days afterwards.

While he lives in Paris now, Joe was born in Pittsburgh and raised in Upper St. Clair, PA. He attended Washington and Jefferson College and Duke University. He holds an MA in Germanic languages from the University of Virginia and did advanced studies in Europe on a Fullbright, as an exchange teacher before returning to the US to obtain a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He has lived in Paris since 1985, and has practiced law in France, Belgium and Germany.

DocJess: Where did you get your interest in politics? Continue Reading...

Also posted in DemsinPhilly | Comments Off on Meet the Delegates: Joe Smallhoover – Democrats Abroad

DNCC Announces Opening Night Program for Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA – The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) announced the program for the opening day of the Democratic National Convention being held in Philadelphia from July 25 to July 28. Additional speakers will continue to be announced throughout the convention. In Philadelphia, Democrats are preparing to lay out the clear stakes in this election – a choice between building walls and tearing people down or an optimistic unifying vision where everyone has a role to play in building our future.

Monday will focus on putting the future of American families front and center and how we’re stronger together when we build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top and when everyone has a chance to live up to their God-given potential.

The program is listed below: Continue Reading...

Also posted in Bernie Sanders, DNC, Hillary Clinton, Music, Philadelphia, PHLDNC2016 | Tagged , | Comments Off on DNCC Announces Opening Night Program for Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

Meet the #DNC Delegates: Jordyn Tannenbaum

Jordyn Tannenbaum2Jordyn Tannenbaum is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in economics. Jordyn is an elected delegate from CD 8 who lives on campus with roommates and hails from Bucks County.

DocJess: How did you decide to become a delegate?

Jordyn Tannenbaum: I became involved with Bernie Sanders’ campaign shortly after it launched. This will be my first time voting in a presidential election, and I wanted to do everything I could to get him on the ballot in November. While working with the campaign, I came across an invitation to apply to become a delegate. Although I didn’t know much about what that meant, I thought it might be an exciting thing to do. It turned out to be a great idea. Continue Reading...

Also posted in DNC, PHLDNC2016 | Comments Off on Meet the #DNC Delegates: Jordyn Tannenbaum

Meet the #DNCC Protesters: Hugh Brownstone

Hugh Brownstone2In the interest of full disclosure, I met Hugh when he ran to be a Bernie Sanders delegate earlier this year.

Hugh Brownstone will be attending the protests around the convention. Hugh is a screenwriter and blogger. He lives in Willistown, Chester County, with his fiancé, her son and a dog. He is the father of two grown daughters, one living in Denver, and the other living in Seattle.

DocJess: You ran to be a delegate, what was that like? Continue Reading...

Also posted in DNC, PHLDNC2016 | Tagged | Comments Off on Meet the #DNCC Protesters: Hugh Brownstone

Meet the #DNCC Delegates: Rachel Gonzalez

Rachel GonzalezRachel Gonzalez is a 17 year old high school student from Independence, MO, the home of Harry Truman. Rachel is an elected delegate for Hillary Clinton. She lives with her parents and two dogs. She has older siblings who live with their spouses and children.

DocJess: I was told that you are the youngest delegate attending the convention.

Rachel Gonzalez: I know that I’m Hillary Clinton’s youngest delegate, but I don’t know if there are any younger delegates. You need to turn 18 by Election Day to be a delegate, and my birthday is in October, so I don’t know that there will be anyone younger. Continue Reading...

Also posted in Philadelphia, PHLDNC2016, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Meet the #DNCC Delegates: Rachel Gonzalez

Meet the #DNCC Delegates: Anna Payne

Anna PayneAnna Payne is an elected delegate for Bernie Sanders from the 8th CD. She works for a credit union. Anna lives in Middletown Township, Bucks County with her mom and stepdad, a dog and a cat.

DocJess: When did you decide you wanted to be a delegate?

Anna Payne: Back in 2012, I watched the DNC in Charlotte, and thought it was very interesting and cool, and I was curious about the people on the floor and the roles they played. I thought that to get there, you’d have to know someone. I was in college majoring in Political Science, and one of my courses had a class about delegates, what they do and what the different processes were in various states to become a delegate. I learned that most of the delegates are pledged to a candidate. I started doing research on how the process works here in Pennsylvania. It’s a long process, but I knew I was up to the challenge! Continue Reading...

Also posted in PHLDNC2016, Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off on Meet the #DNCC Delegates: Anna Payne

Meet the #DNC Delegates: Chuck Pennacchio

CHUCK PENNACCHIOIn the interest of full disclosure, Chuck and I have worked on a number of issues together over the past decade, and met through Healthcare4AllPA.

Chuck Pennacchio is an elected delegate for Bernie Sanders from the 8th CD, having received the most votes in the April 26 primary. He is a lifelong political activist, educator, and filmmaker. He lives in Plumsteadville, Bucks County, with his wife and two children.

DocJess: When did you decide to support Bernie? Continue Reading...

Also posted in DNC | Tagged | Comments Off on Meet the #DNC Delegates: Chuck Pennacchio