The RBC reconvened this morning and addressed the remaining provisions of the draft delegate selection rules.
Rule 11 – Timing of the Delegate Selection Process – window for primaries/caucuses, allowed pre-window for IA, NH, SC, NV; all steps must be taken in election calendar year. The Rules set out specific dates. In 2008, however, states moved their dates up.
Change Commission recommended pre-window Feb 1, all other states first Tue in March; states encouraged (not required) to cluster, e.g., Potomac Primary, incentives to include bonus delegate. The RNC Temporary Delegate Selection Committee also recommended same calendar. Jeff Berman explained that the process was too frontloaded and compressed last time.
- It was clarified that the Change Commission did not recommend that IA, NH, SC, and NV be considered for the pre-window states – that decision is up to the RBC. Recommendation to set up process for states to request consideration for pre-window period and also encourage pre-window clustering.
- Response – clustering intended to group multiple states geographically – you don’t want to do that in the pre-window period. Also want to encourage retail campaigning – don’t want more than four states.
- As the RNC proposal has accepted our four states, now changing the process and inviting more states would now potentially confuse the process. We have a unique opportunity to work on the same path with the RNC. The RNC is reaching out to work with us – we don’t want to change. This is not set in stone for the future, but this is a good year to stick with the ones we have so we can work with a parallel path with the RNC.
- In SC, e.g., Democratic and Republican primaries were on different dates – it was a mess. State government will only pay for primary at one time.
- Question – why first Tuesday rather than march 1? We traditionally start on Tuesdays.
- March 1, 2012 is a Wednesday – if you move to first Tuesday, you allow primary on last Tuesday in February.
- Question – how many states constitute a cluster? RBC needs to define. The Potomac Primary was a success – it wasn’t first, but candidates came, candidates were able to use media economically. Want to encourage grouping on different dates.
- Question – what do we do re enforcement and sanctions of parties that go outside of the window, especially in light of how Florida and Michigan were resolved in 2008.
- Clustering needs to work on its own, without DNC encouragement.
- Tracking the GOP calendar will keep our activists active. Want to leave open possibility that another state can also join pre-window period. Don’t trust the Republicans.
- Suggest that we agree to the existing four states, and consider whether to add one or two.
- Big states might be viewed as clusters themselves – we should also award bonus points for moving back in the process.
- Our penalty is in writing, automatic, never enforced consistently.
- Discussion about RNC making rules, then states violating them. [If I recall correctly, however, the RNC did penalize the state for the violation.] Don’t want to follow the RNC.
- We are not following the RNC – they are following us. We are focusing on important issue of moving starting date back, we should not try to make significant changes in the pre-window period. This is not set in stone – can address additional changes in 2016 at that time.
- Co-Chair Roosevelt indicated that we have been talking to the GOP and essentially they are following our lead. Senator Levin from Michigan is okay with waiting until 2016 to address changes.
- Question – whether rule 3A addresses the Texas two step – primary/caucus process. It was not applied in 2008, but the RBC will evaluate the process. The Texas chair indicated that they are reconsidering the approach. The RBC will address the issue next meeting. There is a lot of discomfort with the bifurcated process.
- Motion to adopt change window, not yet decide on specific pre-window dates, retain current pre-window states, contact the RBC in connection with addition of other states in 2016. In 2008, SC and NV played an important role in bringing diversity to the process. It is too late in this cycle to make additional changes. Motion passes unanimously.
- Timing and bonus delegates will be addressed in July. Adoption of actual rule postponed until July.
VA DNC Member
I was proud to represent Virginia on the Democratic National Committee for 12 years. I am in DC now, but still active in voter protection and Democratic Party rules. More about me, click here.