Friday, April 6, 2012

Florida Democratic Party Presidential Selection Caucuses: Special Guest: Rick Boylan

As we sought to understand delegate counts, delegate selection, what happens at national nominating conventions, we heard from long-time DNC staffer RICK BOYLAN.

Boylan was the first to computerize the delegate tracking system, back in 1984 (before that, records were kept on index cards). Back in those days, a mainframe computer took up a whole room!

He helped students understand the history behind some of the important rule changes (the credentials challenge in 1964, the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago) and the reasoning behind the sequential primaries/caucuses and why the national parties want to stop states from frontloading their primaries.

In the last 2 presidential election cycles, Florida violated the rules of the RNC and the DNC. Both parties penalized Florida in 2008 for violating the rules. In 2012, with the Democratic nominee assured, the Florida Democratic Party was able to come up with a new system for selecting delegates that would comply with party rules. This time, instead of being penalized, Florida actually received "bonus" delegates.

Boylan is heading up the effort to create the FDP Delegate Selection Caucuses (and 3 students in RTWH are interning with him).

Students had lots of great questions, not only about the 2012 Democratic Caucuses in Florida but also about differences between the Democratic and Republican delegate selection processes, drafting the Party platform, and what happens at the conventions.

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