Democratic members of Congress are starting to accept that they may lose parts, if not all, of their status as superdelegates to the Democratic National Convention in 2020 when the party votes for its nominee for president.
Reps. David Price, Gregory Meeks, Rosa DeLauro and Grace Meng — a Democratic National Committee vice chair — met Wednesday with Chairman Tom Perez, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, to discuss the superdelegate proposals required to be passed by the end of the month.
Congressional Democrats — all of whom are designated superdelegates, automatic unleashed delegates who can vote for any nominee — have been meeting with Perez about proposals to strip away that status for the 2020 convention. Other superdelegates include former Democratic presidents, governors, senators and DNC members.
During a meeting with Perez last week, many members were angry about proposals to rid the party of superdelegates completely.
According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, members of Congress want to maintain their status but “understand the political dynamics at play.”
Grass-roots activists have been working to get the DNC to eliminate superdelegates, claiming such delegates gave Hillary Clinton an advantage over her fellow candidates, like Sen. Bernie Sanders, during the 2016 primary process. A unity commission was formed to propose changes for the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee to pass by the end of this month.
At Wednesday’s meeting, first reported by Politico, the members felt “heard” and seemed to be more pliable to the changes, according to the source.
“We had a good, open discussion in which we were able to voice our views and have them taken seriously,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro said in a statement to CNN.
CNN has reached out to Meeks, Meng and Price for comment.
Rules committee members met in Rhode Island last Friday to discuss new proposals. Weingarten, a member of the committee, proposed keeping some superdelegates with all rights except voting for the party’s nominee on the first ballot at their convention. The “third way” plan (as it was called) was supported by Perez.
Some committee members, including many who represent minority communities, argued excluding superdelegates on the first ballot was tantamount to voter disenfranchisement. As a compromise, members seemed to agree in principle with Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin’s proposal to find a way to keep superdelegates on the first ballot so long as they don’t affect the outcome of the vote — known as the “third way plus” plan.
Both plans were discussed at Wednesday’s meeting. Only one plan was proposed by the members, according to the source, but it did not conform with the unity commission’s requirements to reduce the number of superdelegates by two-thirds.
Rules committee members will vote on a final proposal by the end of the month, which will need a full DNC vote at its August meeting in Chicago.