Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tim Kaine Announces the Democratic Change Commission

Although it might seem like an eternity ago in the world of politics, there were a lot of complaints about the primary process that is used to select the presidential nominees of the two political parties. It appears as though the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Virginia’s own Tim Kaine, realizes the importance of setting up a process that establishes public trust in the system as well as selects the best possible candidate. In a statement that was released earlier today, Kaine announced that he has established a 37 member “Democratic Change Commission” which will be co-chaired by Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina and Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.
“This Commission will focus on reform that improves the presidential nominating process to put voters first and ensure that as many people as possible can participate,” said Kaine. “I want to thank all the members of the Commission who have agreed to serve, including Congressman Clyburn and Senator McCaskill who have graciously agreed to serve as co-chairs.”

The Democratic Change Commission will address three issues: 1) changing the window of time during which primaries and caucuses may be held 2) reducing the number of superdelegates and 3) improving the caucus system. A copy of the convention resolution establishing the Commission is below. The Commission must issue its report and recommendations to the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee no later than January 1, 2010.
After quickly looking through the list of commission members and the goals of the group, this appears to be a step in the right direction. At the same time, I think we must make sure that the resulting process truly does represent the best interests of Democratic primary voters. One of the best ways this could be done is for the commission to be very transparent in its work and continuously provide updates to the general public. Perhaps it could even have a website set up to allow people to weigh in on what’s being discussed. In the end this will not only create a more democratic (small d) nominating process but will also likely strengthen the Democratic Party’s position in the general elections.

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