Brew­ing up a storm

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By David Weigel The Wash­ing­ton Post

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.

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