News Release

50 Years After Chicago Convention, a Crossroads for Democrats

The Democratic National Committee will convene in Chicago later this week, 50 years after the gavel fell at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in that city. On the DNC’s agenda is a decisive vote on what to do about the party’s “superdelegates.”

In an article for HuffPost, “Democrats Should Finally Put Superdelegates Behind Them,” Norman Solomon writes: “The schedulers for this coming week’s Democratic National Committee meeting either have a sly sense of irony or a touch of historical amnesia. Why else would they set the DNC’s most important vote in many years for Chicago on the day before the 50th anniversary of the start of the party’s disastrous convention in that city?”

Solomon notes that “much of the mayhem in the streets and the angry dissent inside the amphitheater a half-century ago stemmed from the well-grounded belief that the Democratic establishment had rigged the nominating process for its candidate, Vice President Hubert Humphrey.”

Drawing a parallel with present-day concerns about unfairness in the party’s presidential nominating process, Solomon writes: “Widely unpopular at the grassroots, the superdelegate system remains a burr in the donkey’s saddle, threatening to further undermine party unity in the quest to regain the White House.”

NORMAN SOLOMON, solomonprogressive at gmail.com
Solomon co-founded RootsAction.org, which is coordinating an informational picket line outside of the DNC meeting in Chicago, August 23-25. He was a coauthor of “Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis.” He will be in Chicago from Wednesday morning through Saturday.

Solomon writes in his HuffPost piece that despite support for superdelegate reform from grassroots Democrats and DNC Chair Tom Perez, “significant pushback is underway from sectors of the party establishment. Some Democrats in Congress and a number of officials in state parties are now vocally making clear that they do not want to lose their superdelegate voting privileges.

“A historic showdown is again looming in Chicago. And for the long term, the stakes could turn out to be just as momentous as they were in August 1968. Fifty years later, the national Democratic Party can take a big step toward becoming worthy of its name.”

Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.