March 25, 2008

Dem Superdelegate Mini-Convention To Precede Denver's Democratic National Convention?

Interesting, but unlikely in any format or scenario. Last week, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen proposed a mini-convention--a caucus of super-delegates--to resolve the Democrats' internecine nomination battle:
WE Democrats have a problem, but it’s one we can fix.

We are blessed with two fine candidates, but it’s entirely possible that when primary season ends on June 3, we will still lack a clear nominee. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton could each still believe that the nomination could be his or hers at the national convention in Denver in August.

In that situation, we would then face a long summer of brutal and unnecessary warfare. We would face a summer of growing polarization. And we would face a summer of lost opportunities — lost opportunities to heal the wounds of the primaries, to fill the party’s coffers, to offer unified Democratic ideas for America’s challenges.

If we do nothing, we’ll of course still have a nominee by Labor Day. But if he or she is the nominee of a party that is emotionally exhausted and divided with only two months to go before Election Day, it could be a Pyrrhic victory.

Here’s what our party should do: schedule a superdelegate primary. In early June, after the final primaries, the Democratic National Committee should call together our superdelegates in a public caucus.
Of course, Denver's MSM is a little slow on the uptake, and had this story today, obviously with the angle of the proposed June super-delegate caucus usurping Denver's role as host for the Democratic National Convention:
Talk is building in some Democratic circles that the party needs to hold a "mini-convention" of super-delegates shortly after the final caucuses and primaries in early June to settle on a nominee before a prolonged battle takes a politically fatal toll on the eventual nominee.
. . .
"I think what we should do is try to get the super-delegates together, once the primaries are over in June, and see if we can't come to some resolution as to who the nominee is, and then spend the summer not fighting each other," and preparing to elect a Democratic president, Bredesen said in an interview Tuesday.
. . .
Bredesen said such a meeting could not - for obvious reasons - take place in Illinois or New York, and might best be staged somewhere neutral with easy airport access, such as Dallas and Atlanta.

"I don't want in any way to take away form the convention in Denver. I really want to make it more successful," said Bredesen. "Obviously, the convention in Denver would have more drama if we were all fighting each other tooth and nail.

"But I'm much more interested in electing a president, than keeping all the reporters happy in Denver, with a dramatic fight going on."

Bredesen admitted that Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean is lukewarm to the idea. DNCC spokeswoman Natalie Wyeth, said organizers of the Aug. 25-28 Democratic National Convention in Denver are not taking Bredesen's idea seriously, and expect the lone gathering of suer-delegates will be the one long scheduled to take place on the floor of the Pepsi Center at the end of August.
Ann Althouse correctly diagnoses the problems with this plan:
It sounds like a very sensible idea, which is why my sense is that this won't happen. Think about why not. One candidate or the other stands to benefit from waiting until August, and that candidate and some number of her supporters will resist the caucus. How can it happen without widespread agreement?
. . .
If it's possible to do this, isn't it possible to line up the superdelegates behind the scenes and force them to make firm, public commitments? That would achieve the same result. Also, if you have this assembly when the nominee is still unknown, you're inviting strong partisans to a huge national stage — it will be far more dramatic than any political convention we've seen in our liftetime — and who knows what bloody chaos will play out?
Democratic National Convention chair Howard Dean has pretty much crushed the idea, but that isn't likely to quell calls for pre-DNC resolutions to the Democrats' nomination woes.

Who knew the road to Denver's Democratic National Convention would be so complicated--and oh so interesting?

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