PHILADELPHIA — Bernie Sanders’ forces are claiming victory after pressuring the Democratic National Convention Rules Committee to change the rules regarding superdelegates.
Superdelegates are the party honchos and elected officials who automatically get a vote on the Democratic presidential nominee. Because of Hillary Clinton’s long connections, she was able to get a running start toward the nomination because she early on nailed down most of the superdelegates and helped her mount an early lead over Sanders.
On Saturday, after a lengthy debate during the Democratic Party’s rules committee — as Occupy protesters marched outside — the Sanders and Clinton delegates agreed to create a “unity” commission. The commission will be charged with developing rules that would reduce the number of superdelegates by two-thirds. It will also give Sanders, Clinton and the Democratic National Committee each the responsibility of picking members for the commission.
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“This is a tremendous victory for Senator Sanders’ fight to democratize the Democratic Party and reform the Democratic nominating process,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, said in a statement. “We were pleased to work with the Clinton campaign to enact this historic commission.”
Sanders and his team argued that the superdelegates should be bound by popular votes. The Sanders camp contended throughout the primary season that superdelgates are an example of the “rigged” system, even though Sanders was not a member of the Democratic Party until he launched his presidential campaign.
Addressing this sore point with Sanders followers is an attempt by the Clinton forces to smooth over and repair and unify the Democratic family in advance of the kickoff opening of the convention on Monday, where Sanders is scheduled to give a keynote address.
Sanders’ furor at the Democratic Party was not only for the superdelegate issue but over the allegations throughout the primary season that the party and its chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., were not neutral. Hacked Democratic National Committee emails – showing staffers plotting against Sanders – sparked a controversy that may spill over to the opening session on Monday.