The 15% Rule – Democratic Conventions

Known as the 15% rule. There’s a requirement in the Massachusetts Democratic Party that candidates for state wide office receive fifteen percent of the State party delegate vote at the State Convention to appear on the ballot for office.

Folks disagree with the rule, proclaiming the rule should be changed.

Dan Cohen on “15% rule promotes insiders, has to go: Mass. voters prefer CEOs, outsiders.”

Jerfold Duquette on “Party Matters Matter.

And in the article “Time to kill 15% Rule before it kills the Dem Party.”

Bargaining Chips

One view on the 15% rule for Democratic party politics here in Massachusetts. The rule means that its possible to encourage delegates to all vote the same way. Local party leaders secure the votes of the delegates to vote for one candidate. The leader will call in their chip with the candidate if they win the election.

The ability to negotiate delegate votes for favors puts value on continuing to hold caucuses. Over and above a DTC holding regular town committee meetings.

The 15% rule gives real power to local political committees, and elected delegates. What’s crucial to understand is that the requirement for voting at a caucus is that the voter be a registered Democrat.  Anyone can encourage, recruit, solicit, and amass a significant number of regular registered Democrats to vote for delegates at a caucus.

The ability of any registered Democrat to vote in a caucus is different from Democratic Town Committees, where the  members are restricted to a small pool of 35 elected members. DTC members have to be elected members to vote on executive committee decisions or for officers.