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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Credentials Committee Explained

David Paul Kuhn at The Politico has a good, understandable explanation of how the Democratic Convention’s credientials committee functions. This is worth reading now that Hillary Clinton’s pledging (for the moment, at least0 to take a credentials challenge over the likely non-seating of the MI and FL delegations all the way to Denver.
The two takeaways from Kuhn’s piece are that (1) DNC Chairman Howard Dean controls the appointments to the Credentials Committee that will have the balance of power in a fight between Clinton and Obama, and (2) if HRC wants to take the fight to Denver, she certainly can, since it only takes 20% of the Credentials Committee to justify a minority report to the Convention itself, and a subsequent vote.
But a lot of this is murky.

Neither campaign tracks projections on Credentials Committee seats, according to aides charged with the arcane process of counting delegates. The DNC also does not track these totals but relies on state parties to report their totals as they are determined.
Adding to the confusion surrounding the Credentials Committee, a subject that has perplexed many party veterans, is the fact that Democrats have not found themselves studying the minutiae of convention rules since 1980. Since then, convention votes, including those in the Credentials Committee, have been pro forma.

Prior to 1980, credentials fights really used to be pretty common. We’re beginning to understand why a significant effort was undertaken to make them go away.

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