The Rules and Bylaws Committee Meeting, a Primer

So, Jane and I are at the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting this morning, expecting to see a day of high tension and cranky moods. While we’re waiting to begin, I thought I’d explain what’s going on–and what to expect, both today and as we go forward.

As you no doubt know, MI had a clusterfuck (that is, a primary which only half the candidates attended) and FL had a primary in which neither candidate won. From the beginning, the stated rules said that neither state’s delegation would be seated. At the same time, the expectation has been that MI’s delegation would be seated, but in a way that it couldn’t affect the election.

So now we’re at the point where the party has to decide how to seat both delegations. But the problem is that the decision, arguably, could have an effect on the election–precisely what wasn’t supposed to happen.

The Two Plans

Today, a muckety muck from FL (Jon Ausman) and a muckety muck from MI (Mark Brewer) will present their proposal for how the delegations should be seated.

Ausman will argue the FL elected delegates should all be seated, but with half a vote each. He will argue that all the super-delegates should be seated with a full vote. There’s a technical reason for this seemingly arrogant stance: the DNC rules say that charter members shall (must) be seated, though Ausman expands the reading of the rules so as to argue that ALL the supers–and not just the DNC member supers–should be seated, where as the DNC rules say that only the DNC member supers, and not the elected official supers, shall be seated. In any case, Ausman’s proposal essentially boils down to halving the delegation.

Brewer will argue that MI elected delegation should consist of 69 Hillary supporters and 59 Obama supporters (currently, 55 Hillary supporters and 36 "uncommitted" supporters, most of whom are Obama supporters, have been selected). The 69-59 number is the halfway point between seating the delegates based on the results of the January 15 Clusterfuck and seating the delegates in a 50-50 split. But it also is just about what a number of other solutions would work out to be. In addition to the 69-59 split, he would seat all the super-delegates. Read more