The undersigned organizations hope that all Democrats agree that the will of the voters should be decisive in determining the Democratic nominees for the country’s highest offices.
We therefore urge the Democratic Party – via action at this month’s Democratic National Convention – to eliminate the concept of so-called “superdelegates.” This change would not impact the ongoing nomination proceedings, but would take effect for all future national nominee selection processes and conventions.
The superdelegate system is unrepresentative, contradicts the purported values of the party and its members, and reduces the party’s moral authority.
- The system undermines representative democracy and means that the electorate is not necessarily decisive in determining who will be the Democratic nominees for president and vice president and dilutes the voters’ say over the party’s platform and the rules under which it operates. Astonishingly, these unelected delegates have essentially as much weight as do the pledged delegates from the District of Columbia, 4 territories, and 24 states combined.
- The system undermines the Democratic Party's commitment to gender equity. While the party’s charter rightfully mandates that equal numbers of pledged delegates be male and female, a near super-majority of superdelegates are men.
- The Democratic Party prides itself on its commitment to racial justice and the racial diversity of its ranks. Yet the superdegelates system appears to skew the party away from appropriate representation of communities of color: Proportionately, approximately 20% fewer of this year’s superdelegates hail from communities of color than was true of the 2008 and 2012 pledged delegate cohorts, or of the voters who supported President Obama in those years’ general elections.
- In recent cycles America’s younger voters have overwhelmingly supported Democrats. Yet while the median Obama voter was 44 years old and the average Democrat is 47 years old, the average superdelegate is approximately 60 years old.
In fact, Article 2, Section 4 of the party’s charter lays out broad, noble principles – including fair representation and gender equity – to which the delegate selection process would ideally adhere, and then intentionally allows for violation of these principles through the instantiation of the superdelegate regime.
In light of the above considerations, we propose that, moving forward, the total number of delegates should be equal to at least the current number of pledged delegates and superdelegates combined (4,770) but that all delegates should be allotted to states, territories, and Democrats abroad through the rubric that currently governs pledged delegate allotments – and all delegates should be selected through popular primary and/or caucus processes.
We urge members of the Rules Committee to introduce, demand a vote on, and support language to such an effect – and if needed, issue a minority report in support of such measures to be taken to the floor of the convention. We encourage all delegates who believe that the will of the electorate should reign supreme to support these efforts.
- Center for Popular Democracy
- Courage Campaign
- Daily Kos
- Demand Progress/Rootstrikers
- Democracy for America
- National Nurses United
- The Other 98%
- Progressive Change Campaign Committee
- Progressive Democrats of America
- Reform the DNC
- Social Security Works
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Statistics cited herein are primarily drawn from these sources: