Brewing up a storm
Fans of Hannity’s Fox News show are upset over Keurig’s decision to stop advertising.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who declined to engage in the fracas over former Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile’s tell-all book on 2016, is pushing for the DNC to adopt reforms to its primary process or risk losing credibility with progressive voters.
“Do you believe in open primaries, or do you not?” Sanders said in an interview at his Senate office.
“Do you believe in transparency or not? Do you believe in keeping 700-plus superdelegates or not? Do you believe in letting people vote in caucuses who currently cannot? Those are the issues. There are some people thinking politically, giving all kinds of reasons (why not) — but those are the issues.”
The focus of Sanders’s campaign is on the DNC’s Unity and Reform Commission, created after the 2016 primaries — but before Hillary Clinton’s surprise defeat in the general election — to ease tensions between supporters of the two candidates.
On Dec. 8 and 9, the commission will meet for the last time and present recommendations to the full DNC. Sanders’s goal is twofold: to highlight the reforms he wants most and to prevent the issue from fading when the full DNC meets again.
“This will invigorate the party,” Sanders said. “How are you a serious national party when in half the states, there’s no serious Democratic presence?”
Sander’s priorities for reform have not changed much since the summer of 2016, when he began attacking the presence of “superdelegates” — unbound delegates to the party’s convention, whose number has increased every cycle — for giving Clinton an insurmountable lead.
Clinton ended up defeating Sanders in most primaries and would have secured the nomination had superdelegates not existed. But the bitterness surrounding the primary has endured.
The release of Brazile’s book “Hacks,” in which she revealed a favorable joint fundraising agreement ahead of the general election, introduced a whole new reason for Democrats to squabble. Sanders, who has monitored the Unity Commission’s work, argued that its recommendations should include new budget transparency, ending the mystery, for state Democratic activists, about where their money was going and where it might be used to help candidates.
In the interview, and in an article published last week by his grass-roots organization Our Revolution, Sanders did not specify how transparent the DNC needed to be. Inside the Unity Commission, Sanders-appointed members have argued for at least DNC members to get access to the budget, a request that became more popular after the release of Brazile’s book.
Sanders was more specific about his other reforms.
One: He favored “dramatically reducing the number of superdelegates,” though not abolishing them. Inside the Unity Commission, ideas for reducing that number run from eliminating delegate status for DNC members (while leaving it for elected members of Congress and governors), to allowing delegates to vote if they reflected primaries.
Two: Sanders argued for Democrats to open all of their primaries, to whatever extent possible. That’s been a tricky issue for the Unity Commission, which spent its fourth meeting, in Las Vegas, listening to ideas for how states with strict registration rules could be forced to change if the party acted. The worst offender, Sanders said, was New York, where he discovered that voters who had not registered as Democrats before October 2015 could not vote in April 2016.
“We need to declare, as a party, that structures like the one in New York are unacceptable,” said Nina Turner, president of Our Revolution, at the commission meeting last month. “I can’t tell you how many times Republicans threw New York up in my face when I talked about voter suppression.”
“It’s a total incumbentprotection process,” Sanders said.
Three: Sanders, who won all but one of the 2016 race’s caucuses, called for them to be opened up to people who could not physically attend.
“I like caucuses,” he said. “I like them because I like democracy; I like town halls in Vermont. But the pitfall comes if there’s a Saturday night caucus, you have a job, or you can’t leave the house. We’ve got to make it so people who can’t attend can vote.” the results of
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., says open primaries and more transparency would help invigorate the Democratic Party.