I have been a lifelong Democrat and am exceedingly proud of that fact. I also like to brag that I have never missed voting in any kind of election since I turned 21 (I guess that makes me among the "older" generation). In addition, I like to lay claim to the fact that I am among the millions in the progressive wing of the party who are greatly responsible for moving so many programs forward through our rallies, demonstrations, letter-writing and other campaigns, delegations to lawmakers, and (perhaps, most important of all) through voter registration and the vote!
As happy as I am to be part of this centuries-old Party, I am not one to wear blinders. Thus, I do understand that changes need to be made as to how the Party is run. One option is modifying the process for selecting our nominees at various levels, but especially for President. Another is becoming more democratic in the way the Party Platform is formulated.
This season's electoral process has demonstrated all too clearly that change is imperative to alleviate any semblance of unfairness and inequity. And we must do this if we don't want to lose a generation of millennials, many of whom have just registered and are voting for the first time.
Bernie Sanders has caused countless prospective voters to be enthusiastic about his campaign and we cannot afford to lose that energy. We want them (and all voting citizens) to "keep the faith" in the process, but that process must change--it must keep up with the demands of the newer generation in particular and of the 21st century in general. We cannot stand by to witness voters throw away their franchise because they perceive the process to be a "rigged" system.
The Party's carefully considered Platform must never be commandeered by its Super Delegates whose own thinking may not always align with constituent attitudes and opinions--especially as they pertain to both policy and candidate selection.
The Super Delegate aspect of nominating a presidential leader has only been in effect in the Democratic Party since around the 1970s. There have been several iterations of this complex program, but it eventually evolved to make sure the outcome at the National Convention would conform with who the Party wanted for its candidate (in case the rank-and-file did not have the good sense to vote for a person who could best represent the Party philosophy and also have the best chance of winning in the General Election).
It is a fact that had there not been Super Delegates (made up of Party leaders across the nation), our current President, Barack Obama, likely would not have been the Party's designee and Hillary would have carried that mantle instead. Sometimes, things work out for the best despite our intentions :).
On the other hand, the fact remains that utilizing the Super Delegates as it now stands is less than democratic. And that lack of fairness applies to the primary/caucus method. A few hundred votes during a Caucus meeting ought not to determine a state's delegates to the National Convention. Similarly, there needs to be greater regularity within the Primary system. As it stands, California allows non-affiliated voters to vote in Democratic primaries (California Republicans do not) but other states have closed primaries [open only to registered Democrats (or Republicans as the case may be)]. Some states have open primaries during which anyone can vote for any candidate (so that a Republican might vote for a Democrat in an effort to select someone whom the Republican winner can more easily beat).
Primary voters can number in the thousands or even millions so that a state's primary winner can boast huge numbers behind the win. Thus, when Hillary Clinton claimed that she has millions more voters than Sanders, that is a true statement but had caucus states had primaries instead, perhaps his numbers might have been closer or even surpassing hers.
I believe we must push for greater consistency. Personally, I would love to see a General Primary--a single day across the nation to nominate a candidate for each party. Following such a Primary would be an abridged campaign, costing far fewer dollars and eliminating voter fatigue which comes from our being inundated for months with nauseatingly repetitive television, radio, and mailer ads.
Furthermore, it would be even better if our candidates and lawmakers would not have to spend an inordinate amount of time campaigning not just on issues (as it should be) but for money (as it should not be). It is a travesty that our Congressmembers are "forced" to raise a certain sum of money each and every week (from the time they are elected) to raise money for themselves and other party members--or else face wretched results affecting their political careers. As perhaps an unintended consequence, then, consider how little time members can devote to their real duties of legislating good laws.
Another significant issue that must be addressed is the Platform. For the current election cycle, it is important that the greater part of Bernie Sanders' policies be incorporated into the Party Platform alongside Hillary's positions. The Platform is not merely a pro forma action but is intended (from Convention to Convention) that Party leaders use it as a foundation for introducing its planks at the legislative level and getting them passed into law.
Such matters this go-round (reflective of Sander's policies) would include single-payer healthcare for all; free public college (I remember when all we had to do was pay registration and books at the UC, CU, and Junior College systems); energy-efficiency (getting entirely off coal, blocking Keystone and tar-sand development; encouraging wind and solar, and so forth); recognition of global warming; a pathway to citizenship (and in the meantime, exceptions for DACA youth and DAPA parents and guardians); $15 an hour living wage including earned paid sick leave (the former to be increased based upon COLA after the $15 is implemented); LGBTQI protections; efficient voter registration for all who are eligible (including the formerly incarcerated who have served their time). The list goes on, but none of the points are unreasonable.
The Democratic Platform generally does reflect the opinions and attitudes of involved Democrats as well as the diligence and dedication exerted by Platform Committee members who draft it. Thus, the Party's carefully considered Platform must never be commandeered by its Super Delegates whose own thinking may not always align with constituent attitudes and opinions--especially as they pertain to both policy and candidate selection. The constituting of the Platform must be a product of a truly democratic process that will have taken at least a year to develop and formulate--from the first declaration of candidacy to the first primary to the National Convention.
In the end (as a way of echoing Thomas Jefferson who said that a nation needs to create a new Constitution every 20 years to keep up with changing times), we must also be willing to make the kind of changes that best fulfill and contribute to the interests of the electorate.