The Democratic Party, scared shitless by the idea of another drawn-out primary process in 2020 (read: a genuine left wing challenge to an establishment pick), is moving its summer convention up by two weeks, making it the earliest convention in more than 20 years.
Although the location is still to be determined, eight cities are in the running, according to the network: Atlanta, Birmingham, Denver, Houston, Miami Beach, Milwaukee, New York City, and San Francisco.
But why the change, which will make it the earliest Dem convention since the party nominated Bill Clinton at its 1992 meeting? Because the top brass are expecting the presidential race to be crowded and get ugly, CNN reported (emphasis added):
Democratic National Committee officials, including chair Tom Perez and interim DNC CEO Mary Beth Cahill, have considered a series of factors in deciding to host their biggest political event earlier than normal, party operatives tell CNN. But a key reason for the decision is the expectation the 2020 primary could be a combative affair with more than two dozen Democrats running, making it essential that the party allow more time for tensions to cool after a nominee is officially selected.
“The Democratic Party is committed to organizing everywhere and holding the convention in mid-July allows us to continue our work doing exactly that,” Perez said in a statement. “My priority is to ensure that the 2020 nominating process is the most open, fair, transparent and inclusive in our party’s history.”
Perez went on to say that starting the process even earlier, before there’s a “full slate of candidates” competing for the party’s nomination, would “not only allow for a unified party but will ensure that our nominee is in the strongest position to take on Donald Trump or whoever the Republican nominee may be.”
“Unified party” is a benign-sounding phrase that translates to not like in 2016, as the conventional thinking within the party remains that—among myriad other reasons—Hillary Clinton emerged significantly damaged after Senator Bernie Sanders’ surprisingly strong challenge for the nomination. Had they succeeded in their plot to weed out Sanders (and probably Jill Stein, Democrats’ other favorite bogeyman) earlier, Clinton would’ve been a stronger candidate going into the general race, the story goes.
Of course, the decision also has a lot to do with money:
An earlier convention also allows the eventual nominee to spend general election funds earlier in the race. While candidates can raise money for both their primary and general election funds during the primary, they cannot spend the general election money until they secure the nomination, according to Federal Election Commission rules.
In 2016, a candidate could raise $2,700 for the primary and $2,700 for the general from the same donor, making $5,400 the max one donor can give to a candidate in both the primary and general. That number could change for the 2020 election.
Ideas not currently known to be on the table for the party’s consideration: picking a candidate without strong ties to Wall Street, not putting their finger on the scale yet again so that the voters can fully choose their nominee, and promoting a party platform that strongly backs Medicare for All and a $15 minimum wage. But sure, add two weeks to the general election cycle. That will fix everything.
As ever, this latest change proves the party thinks it can simply move around deck chairs—no need to do anything drastic!—for a better outcome in 2020. Judging by the mistakes of 2016, we can expect much more of the same to come.