If Bernie Sanders can't even win over his own Senate caucus members in the Democratic party, it's a hard sell to imagine that he'd be able to influence House Democrats either. His quixotic antics and habit of stomping on others' toes has now won him the ire of the Congressional Black Caucus over the matter of super-delegates.
In a letter sent to both the Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns, the CBC is expressing its resolute opposition to two key reforms demanded by Sanders in the run-up to the Democratic convention: abolishing the party’s superdelegate system and opening Democratic primaries up to independents and Republicans.
"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," says the letter, which was obtained by POLITICO. "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 letter — which was also sent to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz — follows a Wednesday CBC meeting where members discussed for over an hour the impact of eliminating superdelegates on the African-American community, according to CBC Chairman Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.).
"We passed a resolution in our caucus that we would vehemently oppose any change in the superdelegate system because members of the CBC might want to participate in the Democratic convention as delegates but if we would have to run for the delegate slot at the county level or state level or district level, we would be running against our constituents and we're not going to do that,” said Butterfield. “But we want to participate as delegates and that's why this superdelegates system was created in the beginning, so members would not have to run against their own constituents."
The opposition to open primaries is based on the fear that allowing independent or Republican voters to participate in Democratic primaries would dilute minority voting strength in many places.
Now having said that, it's clear that the CBC is protecting its turf the way Bernie Sanders wants to protect his own interests, but it's clear that what Bernie wants to do is going to come at the expense of black voters. Open primaries that include independents and Republicans are a bad idea, period, and super-delegates do give people in the party more of a voice.
On the gripping hand, the entire Sanders campaign has been one long episode of "We really don't understand why you people aren't voting for him" and the Sanders side hasn't really made any effort at asking, other than saying black voters in the South "don't count" or "are really conservatives" or "aren't informed voters". It's annoying as hell.
So yes, expect the CBC to now be on the Bernie or Bust "corrupt establishment" list along with anyone else who is too impure to see the light of Saint Bernard.
(Also, good job Bernie, you made me defend the CBC, which actually is mildly obnoxious and only really concerned about its own political power.)