Friday, July 03, 2015

DNC kills Texas Two-Step to protect Clinton from being Obama'ed by Sanders

That's my premise, anyway.

Seven years after Barack Obama earned the majority of Texas' delegates despite losing the primary to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic National Committee has put an end to the state's hybrid presidential nominating process, saying it "had the potential to confuse voters."

Under the two-step process, two-thirds of a candidate's convention delegates are awarded on the basis of the primary election results. The remaining third are chosen at caucuses, which are held after the polls closed on primary night.

Now, at the direction of the national party, delegates will be based solely on the primary results, a shift some party members lamented Tuesday.

"It's not the way we would prefer to do it," said Harris County Democratic Party Chair Lane Lewis. "I still think that there is plenty of opportunity for individuals who want to participate in the delegate process to be able to participate."

The Frontloading blog agrees with me.

As a side note, it hard to resist viewing the denied waiver request as a signal of if not the Clinton campaign's pull on the Rules and Bylaws Committee, then the reality that there are folks on the committee (Harold Ickes comes to mind) that are or have in the past been aligned with the Clintons. That comment is not meant as some form of conspiracy theory. That is how the Democratic process has worked: Surrogates of the various campaigns get involved in the rules process. Given that Clinton folks were not fans of the two-step (and for arguably legitimate reasons) after 2008, it is not a real shock that it would meet its end now.

But why now and not four years ago? Parties holding the White House tend not to tinker as much with their delegate selection rules. And by extension, those in the White House at the head of their parties often prefer to maintain the same combination of rules that got them to the White House in the first place. The denied Texas request is as much about the DNC transitioning to life after Obama as it is about Clinton (and company) not liking the two-step because of 2008.

Back in Part One of my thesis on Bernie Sanders' even-more-difficult-than-you-may-think path to the Democratic nomination (Part Two is still under construction), I mentioned that Democratic muckety-mucks would start jamming Sanders if he began to get traction.  Well, he's been getting some serious traction, and sure enough, they're changing the rules to protect HRC and thwart him.

If you think this is not the case, I'd like to read your argument against it in the comments.

Update: Still don't think the insiders are working against him?

Richard Trumka has a message for state and local AFL-CIO leaders tempted to endorse Bernie Sanders: Don’t.

In a memo this week to state, central and area divisions of the labor federation, and obtained by POLITICO, the AFL-CIO chief reminded the groups that its bylaws don’t permit them to “endorse a presidential candidate” or “introduce, consider, debate, or pass resolutions or statements that indicate a preference for one candidate over another.” Even “‘personal’ statements” of candidate preference are verboten, Trumka said.

The memo comes amid signs of a growing split between national union leaders — mindful of the fact that Clinton remains the undisputed favorite for the nomination — and local officials and rank and file, who are increasingly drawn to the Democratic Party’s growing progressive wing, for whom Sanders is the latest standard-bearer.


His message wasn’t anything new for the federation’s state leaders: They know that endorsement decisions belong to the national leadership. Still, it was unusual for Trumka to call them out in a memo. “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one before like this,” said Jeff Johnson, the president of the AFL-CIO’s Washington state labor council.

Johnson agreed that it was important for the AFL-CIO to speak with a single voice. But “there’s a lot of anxiety out there in the labor movement,” he said, “and we’re desperately searching for a candidate that actually speaks to working-class values. The Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders camp is very, very attractive to many of our members and to many of us as leaders, because they’re talking about the things that need to happen in this country.”

Similarly, Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman said he agreed that Trumka had to lay down the law. More tellingly, though, he added: “Bernie Sanders has spent his life actually fighting for working people. He’s made no secret of it, and he’s used it as his mantra. And that I respect very much.” When asked about Clinton’s candidacy, Tolman was less effusive: “Who? Who? Please. I mean with all respect, huh?”

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