A recent BMG posting by gubernatorial contender Joe Avellone should have raised serious questions for all Democratic party insiders. He pointed out how the convention 15% rule in its current form (15% on 1st ballot or out) was detrimental to the Party and certainly not small “d” democratic.
As a former State Committee member who can remember back when the original 15% rule was adopted, I would have to agree with Avellone’s contention. If the “15%-on-1st” were operating back then, John Kerry would have been shown the door in the Lt. Gov. race, he never would have been Lt. Gov. or had the platform to jump to US Senator.
I get that the 15% rule was adopted to cut down on fringe candidates…if someone could not achieve 15% of delegates within two ballots, they were dropped off…but, to raise the bar to just one ballot when the field is crowded with good, qualified candidates seems overly restrictive and makes the party look anything but inclusive. We are not a party for the favored few, but it increasingly gives that public impression.
Also, the convention requirement forces candidates to spend enormous amounts of money courting delegates and paying for convention expenses, paraphenalia and nonsense. This money could be far better spent courting regular Dems and Unenrolled voters across the state. There was a time when the media actually covered the state conventions in a big way…there were tv booths and crowded press sections…that made the expense somewhat defendable with “free” media results. That is not so today…it’s a one story barely and forgotten.
It is not a small effort to get 10,000 certified signatures in this state. Any candidate who can accomplish that deserves to get on the ballot. Using the funds and time wasted on conventions, a candidate would be able to focus on the electorate and do some real Party-building rather than just cow-towing around the state sucking up to the same old same old group of Party insiders (State Comm. and delegates and members of shrinking town committees) to get their votes.
We should use our convention to show off our candidates and introduce them to the Party regulars who can help them going forward. We should not have them competing against each other for a convention nomination that means little or nothing in the long run. We have 5 very good candidates running for Governor. Every one of them will get 10,000 signatures certified to get on the ballot. We should applaud them and support their efforts, not make it harder and more expensive for them.
Candidates have already crossed the 10,000 signature certification requirement before the convention…the people have approved them…so to have the convention of insiders try to undo that approval seems politically unjust (ie. Charlie Baker’s allies paring the field at the GOP confab)
“15%-on-1st” is not fair, inclusive or democratic. I would do away with it altogether, but in lieu of that would return to its original form where any candidate needed to prove 15% support within 2 ballots.
Next time you run into Sec of State John Kerry, ask him if he thinks 15%-on-1st-or-out” is good for the Party! He would know best.