politico | Retaining some kind of superdelegate system has been a high priority
for CBC members, said Democratic strategist Doug Thornell, formerly the
group’s communications director.
"Sanders did a lot of things right in this campaign, he did a lot
better than expected. At the same time he seemed to have a lack of
understanding or lack of relationships with black leaders that you saw
ultimately hurt him in South Carolina and other states with big black
electorates," Thornell said. "And this is something that the CBC is
going to be very passionate and push back against. This is a way that
African-American officials can represent their district and have a say
in the process. They're not going to go along with this at all."
Multiple CBC members conceded that the superdelegate system has its
flaws, but also argued it's not worth scrapping. "I've been listening to
both sides, all sides of the debate and I think both sides have made
persuasive arguments," said one CBC member, who asked to not be named.
"The superdelegate system is not perfect but it has worked for us
quite well over the years and frankly the superdelegates have never
needed to cast any superdelegate votes to alter what the voters did
during the primary elections," said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver. "Never. That's
not the case this year either. The concern many of us have, of course,
is that our numbers would shrink in terms of having influence over and
involvement with what happens at the convention."
Cleaver added that the CBC would not be swayed on the superdelegate issue.
"The black caucus is immovable on this subject because our number one
concern is going to be an always be the highest level of minority
participation as possible at the convention," Cleaver said. "You're
going to see the same thing with the Hispanic Congressional Caucus. Mr.
Sanders, if he had met with either or what's called the tri-caucus, he
would have found out there is no flexibility."