A small group of Democratic National Committee members are privately plotting a strategy to stop Bernie Sanders from winning their party’s nomination, according to a report from Politico.
“In conversations on the sidelines of a DNC executive committee meeting and in telephone calls and texts in recent days, about a half-dozen members have discussed the possibility of a policy reversal to ensure that so-called superdelegates can vote on the first ballot at the party’s national convention,” the report says. “Such a move would increase the influence of DNC members, members of Congress and other top party officials, who now must wait until the second ballot to have their say if the convention is contested.”
Bernie Sanders’s surge ahead of the Iowa caucuses has many in the party nervous since he is not seen as a viable candidate for the general election. In 2004, John Kerry’s victory in the Iowa caucuses propelled him to the nomination in a primary dominated by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean.
If Sanders wins the Iowa caucuses on Monday and continues to gain momentum, it is possible he could arrive at the convention with the most delegates — but without enough to win the nomination on the first ballot. It is also possible that he and Elizabeth Warren, a fellow progressive, could arrive at the convention in second and third place, but with more delegates combined than the frontrunner.
If, on the second ballot, superdelegates were to throw their support to someone else, tipping the scales, many moderate Democrats fear the upheaval that would cause could weaken the eventual nominee.
Conversations about a potential rules change picked up as Sanders ascended in the primary, but they have not gained traction to this point within the DNC.
The DNC received a lot of flak for their nominating process in 2016, which many argued was designed to give the nomination to Hillary Clinton. Donna Brazile, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee, wrote in her 2017 book Hacks that she promised Bernie Sanders that when she “took the helm of the Democratic National Committee after the convention” that she would “get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process.”
“By September 7, the day I called Bernie, I had found my proof and it broke my heart,” she wrote.
It doesn’t appear that this proposed rule-change has any momentum. “Even proponents of the change acknowledge it is all but certain not to gain enough support to move past these initial conversations. But the talks reveal the extent of angst that many establishment Democrats are feeling on the eve of the Iowa caucuses.”
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis