It’s been fairly clear to this point that Senator Bernie Sanders has not been the favorite child of the powers that be in the Democratic National Committee. As the primary has dragged on, the feud between party establishment favorite Hillary Clinton and Senator Sanders has escalated. A controversial point for Democratic grassroots activists is the existence of superdelegates, who are prominent party members elevated above regular party activists with a special vote in the nomination process.
Maine Democratic activists, under the leadership of Portland State Representative Diane Russell, stood up and rejected superdelegates at the State Convention. Representative Russell introduced an amendment, which passed overwhelmingly, to eliminate superdelegates in 2020.
Why wouldn’t they? Democrats want a fair vote in the process and to be heard just as much as anyone else. But this isn’t happening.
Huffington Post wrote an article breaking down the superdelegate mess and the changing narrative coming from the Democratic National Committee. The superdelegates, which overwhelmingly support one candidate over another, have been vigorously defended by the top.
Now is it wrong if someone wants to support Hillary Clinton? It’s their individual preference and they have a vote in the process. But why should one person’s vote be elevated above the rest? Because they’re elected to office? Democrats didn’t elect Congresswomen or other elected representatives so they could have more of a voice in the party than they do. That’s undemocratic.
The DNC knows this and now the Vice Chairman is stepping up the anti-Maine rhetoric. Vice Chairman Raymond Buckley has ignited a public battle with Representative Russell over her amendment to make the Democratic Party’s nomination process more democratic.
Vice Chairman Buckley specifically told Representative Russell that her amendment was not valid because the State Parties have no control over the superdelegates, stating it was a function of the DNC. Representative Russell then responded openly about wanting to sit down with the Rules Committee, of which the Vice Chairman is a member of.
This could’ve stopped here with an agreement that Representative Russell could represent Maine and the anti-superdelegate Democrats before the Rules Committee, expressing a concern that is by no means a minority opinion in the party.
But instead of diplomacy, Vice Chairman Buckley responded with a condescending comment on the Facebook post, detailing his career credentials and belittling a Maine legislator who simply wanted to make the process more democratic. Essentially, it was an explanation as to why his opinions are more qualified by his established status.
Does the amendment introduced by Representative Russell and passed overwhelmingly by Maine Democrats actually have any power at the DNC level? Maybe, maybe not. But even if it doesn’t, people like Vice Chairman Buckley should be listening and perhaps even accommodating by inviting Representative Russell to speak before the Rules Committee. That would go a long way to resolving some of the drama going on.
Instead, we have a social media war against a legislator who essentially is the leader of a push that Maine Democrats support. What does this say about the view of the Democratic National Committee towards Maine Democrats?
It doesn’t matter if the amendment is binding or not, because this is clearly what Democrats want. Good leaders listen. Listen and invite people like Representative Russell to be apart of the process. Many Democrats don’t like superdelegates because they feel like it makes the process less democratic.
Why feed this perception?
By the conduct of the Vice Chairman, it does appear the Democratic National Committee doesn’t care. It looks as if those at the top have no concern for everyday Democrats. If you’re not anointed by the DNC, you’re not important. Many Democrats have voiced these concerns for months and a Maine legislator took the lead in being a voice in the process for them. Maine Democrats came together and stood up.
This doesn’t matter, at least not to the Democratic National Committee. This should be alarming for registered Democrats not only in Maine, but across America. Something is very wrong here.