By every measure we have, Hillary Clinton won the 2016 Democratic Nomination for President by a country mile. Current DNC Chairman Tom Perez supported her at that time, and got some mention as a potential running-mate for her. Clinton won the pledged delegate count cleanly, the overall delegate count clearly, and the popular vote by roughly 15%. Despite the cries of conspiracy nuts, there is no sign that the DNC took any clear or tangible act to support Clinton in her race against Bernie Sanders. Even the over zealous cries of a “rigged” primary by Donna Brazile and others had to be walked back when placed under the microscope of reality in the time since the conclusion of the 2016 Election.
Here’s the fact- the 2016 Democratic Primaries were totally fair, Hillary cleanly beat Bernie, the “superdelegates” have never tipped a Democratic nomination against the winner of the pledged delegate count, and the Democratic Party had absolutely no need to reform their process in selecting a Presidential nominee. Despite the complaints of backers of Bernie Sanders, he quite simply lost the vote to be the Democratic nominee. The voters did not want him. The DNC under Perez has chosen to “bend the knee” to an old man who lost clearly, and is not a member of our party. No one actually benefits here, except for potentially the GOP.
There was no pressing need to change the Democratic nomination rules. Never since the adoption of the modern Democratic Convention nomination rules have the delegates chosen to override the selection of the elected delegates to be our Presidential candidate. This includes the nominations of Hillary, Barack, Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Dukakis, Mondale, and Carter. There is no need to “return the nominating process to the grassroots,” because the will of the people has always been done.
Beyond that point though, the reforms being done will cut off more access for party activists, not improve it. More party and elected leaders are likely to run for pledged delegate slots to the national convention, given their inability to vote on the first ballot, cutting down the opportunity for most common voters to be a delegate. Given the probability of a large 2020 field, there is a high likelihood that those superdelegates that don’t run as pledged delegates will decide the nominee if the vote goes to a second ballot. In the search for a problem to solve, the DNC made their process less fair and likely to increase access to the grassroots, and probably created an unnecessary monster for 2020.
The Democratic Party made their Presidential nominating process worse for 2020. While “solving” false problems, they made it less likely we get a fair nominee. More importantly, they paid mere lip service to real problems of voter suppression. They didn’t force states outside of the “first four” to abandon caucuses (states after Iowa and Nevada don’t nearly get enough personalized attention from candidates and campaigns to justify highly restrictive caucus systems). They didn’t ban “open primaries” that encourage non-Democrats to run. They did nothing to empower the Democratic base in the process. They empowered loons and wackos, and made it harder to stop future unelectable, “McGovern style” nominees from getting nominated.
Tom Perez’s DNC should never have entertained suggestions to change the nomination process from the “Unity Reform Commission.” These folks set out to do damage, and their reforms do more harm than good.