Monday, June 20, 2016

Congressional Black Caucus and Bernie Sanders at odds over open primaries

In a letter sent to both the Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns, the Congressional Black Caucus expressed e opposition to two key reforms demanded by Sanders. Those reforms being abolishing the party’s superdelegate system and especially opening Democratic primaries up to independents and Republicans. The CBC feels that would dilute minority voting strength.  Read that letter below.

June 18, 2016 

An Open Letter to our Democratic Colleagues and Party Leaders 

To: Secretary Hillary Clinton 
Senator Bernie Sanders 
Hon. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, Chair, 
DNC Hon. Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader 
Senator Harry Reid, Senate Democratic Leader 

To Whom It May Concern: The Democratic Members of the Congressional Black Caucus recently voted unanimously to oppose any suggestion or idea to eliminate the category of Unpledged Delegate to the Democratic National Convention (aka Super Delegates) and the creation of uniform open primaries in all states. 

The Democratic Party benefits from the current system of unpledged delegates to the National Convention by virtue of rules that allow members of the House and Senate to be seated as a delegate without the burdensome necessity of competing against constituents for the honor of representing the state during the nominating process. 

The origin of the unpledged delegate selection process authored by Congressman James E. Clyburn, DSC is attached to this letter. It accurately chronicles the use of the unpledged delegate system and sets out with particularity the reasons why this system was enacted many years ago. The system of allowing members of Congress to serve as unpledged delegates has worked quite well. There is no need to succumb to the pressure of a few individuals to make this change. We oppose any change to the current delegate selection process for members of Congress. 

The CBC is opposed to any state nominating system that would allow independent or Republican voters to participate in a Democratic Primary. The Democratic Party primary is the process used by the party to allow political aspirants to compete for their party’s nomination. Allowing independent or Republican voters to participate in the Democratic primary would dilute minority voting strength in many districts across the country. 

Finally, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus respectfully request that we be included in any discussion that will change the system of unpledged delegates. In addition, we should be included in any discussion that would seek to change the nominating rules to open primaries. These are significant issues that directly affects our ability to effectively participate in the political process. 

Thank you. 
Sincerely, G.K. Butterfield 
G. K. Butterfield, Chairman 
Democratic Caucus of the Congressional Black Caucus

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