The 3-DSA Strategy Papers -Part 2 outlines an approach to the difficult but not insurmountable task of drafting Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to capture the Democrat Party presidential nomination in Chicago, in August 2024.
Grethen Whitmer has stated in no uncertain terms that she is not running for president. We have no doubt she will repeat that response even as the Draft Whitmer movement builds momentum. That's fine.
The Draft Whitmer project doesn't ask the governor to run for the Democrat Party nomination. Instead, the project asks her to honor the highest call to public service bestowed on any public official in the country: accepting the presidential nomination of the majority of delegates assembled at the Chicago convention pledging their votes to her. Under these extraordinary circumstances, we are confident Gretchen Whitmer will be compelled to answer history's call.
That said, we harbor no expectations that Whitmer will sign state declarations authorizing her name to be entered as a 'write-in' presidential candidate in the 2024 primaries. But not to worry; it gets worse.
For Black Democrats and their allies joining the Draft Whitmer insurgency, 'write in' voting without her written consent is only permitted in seven states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and New Jersey) with a total of 461 delegates. To win the Democratic nomination, a presidential candidate must receive 1,886 out of 3,770 votes to secure a majority of 'pledged delegates' on the first ballot.
As Whitmer winning the nomination on the first ballot is a mathematical impossibility, the 3-DSA Strategy adopts a two-track contingency plan for victory.
First Track -- Blocking Joe Biden on the 1st Ballot
Blocking Joe Biden from receiving 1,886 votes on the first ballot to win the nomination is the project's top priority. The critical components of the first track approach include the following elements.
-- Winning the maximum number of votes possible for Whitmer in the seven (7) states with no requirement for her to sign a declaration authorizing 'write in' ballots. Four (4) of these states also allow independents and Republicans to vote.
These votes are important for two reasons. First, to demonstrate Gretchen Whitmer's viability as the Democrats' presidential nominee. Second, to accumulate first-round ballot votes that contribute to blocking Biden's path to amassing 1,887 first-ballot votes.
-- Whitmer supporters can also bloc vote behind one or more declared candidates in the 43 states and five territories where votes cannot be cast for Gretchen Whitmer. These candidates would conceivably serve as proxy candidates, capable of winning 15% of the total vote in various states to qualify for allocation of convention delegates. The higher the percentage these proxy candidates win above the 15% threshold, the harder it becomes for Biden to hit the magic number of 1,887 votes on the first ballot.
The Draft Whitmer effort would also need to evaluate at any given moment if Democrat primary voters should be encouraged to support other Democrat hopefuls as proxy candidates. A candidate that can garner 15% of the total vote in any given state to qualify for allocation of convention delegates should be looked at by Whitmer supporters.
To game out a scenario of the First Track contingency, we can take a snapshot of the current race. This scenario assumes that Whitmer wins 50% of the 'write- in' votes in the seven (7) qualifying states.
Further, the scenario assumes that Robert Kennedy Jr., who has consistently polled at close to 20% of voter support since entering the Democrat primaries on April 19, 2024, wins a minimum of 15% in all 50 states and five territories.
Announced Democrat Candidates as of May 27, 2023
President Joe Biden
Robert Kennedy Jr.
Needed for Biden to win on 1st Ballot: 1,887
'Write in' vote estimate for Whitmer in 7 states: 230
Kennedy wins a minimum 15% in every state: 565
Williamson fails to reach 15% in any state: 0
Total votes for Whitmer and Kennedy 795
Additional votes to block Biden 1st ballot win 1,094
In the scenario above, Robert Kennedy and Marianne Williamson would remain as the only two challengers in the Democrat primaries. NBN's predictive model projects that Robert Kennedy would need to win an average of 43% of the vote in all 50 states and five territories combined with Gretchen Whitmer's 6% total of 'write-in' votes to block Joe Biden's 1st ballot nomination.
What the First Track scenario demonstrates is the intense ground game the Draft Whitmer insurgency must deploy to accrue votes for Whitmer in some states, while siphoning votes away from Biden in others.
Making the argument for Whitmer's 'write-in' votes in the seven (7) eligible states will not be easy. Nor will casting votes for proxies and secondarily encouraging Independents and Republicans to do so wherever possible. But the Biden campaign and the Democrat National Committee have been stacking the deck in his favor long before his April 2023 announcement.
New Black Nationalists believe Joe Biden's campaign will stagnate into a period of political stasis that it cannot extricate itself from. As other candidates wait on the sidelines for Biden to stumble or stagnate, NBN is fairly confident a candidate capable of winning 15% of the total vote in multiple states will jump in the race.
The net effect of another well-regarded candidate joining the race will increase the likelihood of delegates showing up in Chicago to a 'Contested Convention' with no candidate having won 1,887 votes to secure the nomination. What comes next it is a 'Brokered Convention', in which no one secures the nomination on the first ballot.
Second Track: The Brokered Convention
With Joe Biden blocked from securing a first ballot nomination, the Chicago Convention would enter into a 'Brokered Convention' phase. In addition to the 3,770 pledged delegates, 744 automatic delegates—more commonly known as superdelegates-- would enter the fray.
Most superdelegates will be permitted to vote for the candidate of their own choice. Pledged delegates bound to vote for a candidate on the first ballot would now be free to vote for the candidate of their personal choice.
In the second ballot format, the total number of convention delegates would rise to 4,514, with 2,258 votes required to win the majority and the presidential nomination.
Ideally, the seminal question before the convention should turn on which Democrat is best positioned to defeat the Republican nominee selected in Milwaukee in July 2024. On that basis, we believe Gretchen Whitmer is without question the strongest candidate to carry Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in the strategic Great Lakes Midwest.
NBN also believes she is the strongest candidate to attract women and young voters in the second-tier swing states of Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and Virginia. We believe she is the best candidate to attract swing voters, especially on the issue of gun safety and protecting reproductive rights, and LGBTQI rights.
That said, the art of politics still includes counting votes.
In the Brokered Convention phase, Biden's first priority would be leaning on VP Kamala Harris, South Carolina Representative James Clyburn, and House Minority Leader Hakim Jeffries, to keep Black delegates on-side.
The Superdelegates are largely elected Democrat House and Senate office holders, state, national, and local party apparatchiks, and assorted political operatives. As the party institutionalists, they will still be tied to Biden.
Another way of looking at a second ballot vote is reading the four largest states' delegations that collectively represent 1,278 delegates or 28.4% of the total delegate count (California, Texas, Florida, and New York). We give Whitmer the edge in New York and Texas. California would likely lean to Harris, but Whitmer could survive a 65-35 loss.
There is an intangible element at work here that weighs heavily on which way a Brokered Convention could break. We speak of expectations and a sense of inevitability. Since Biden's April 2023 announcement for re-election, he has been the presumptive nominee: his nomination was supposed to be inevitable. Biden's first ballot failure to win the nomination would pierce the sitting president's veil of invincibility.
NBN believes Biden's failure to win a first-ballot nomination in Chicago will cause Biden's candidacy to collapse like a house of cards. It also reinforces the importance of Whitmer's supporters going all out in the seven 'write-in' states to establish her electoral viability in different regions of the country.
For the Draft Whitmer insurgency, there is no better place to start with than the historically unpredictable New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucus. Both states allow write-in voting for Whitmer. Occurring at the top of the primary schedule, a surprise Whitmer 'write-in' showing would unsettle the Biden campaign and set the tone for the entire primary schedule.
When New Black Nationalists called on Black Democrats and the Black Commons to initiate a Draft Gretchen Whitmer for President 2024 effort, we were not unaware of the difficulties this endeavor would encounter to succeed.
The Draft Whitmer is not naive to the reality that its insurgency seeks to overturn the will and misadventure of the Democrat Party establishment that is firmly behind Biden. The Democrat Party establishment is indulging Biden's vanity and consciously or not deferring to the privileges of white hetero-patriarchy in overlooking his vulnerabilities.
This project must also subvert the logic that both Donald Trump and Ron Savonarola DeSantis are too extreme to be elected. It's an excuse to justify that returning to a Biden-led status quo ante is sufficient to win in 2024. It's not.
The Draft Whitmer insurgency is a project that like its candidate--Gretchen Whitmer---must outwork its opponents but do so with passion, subtlety, nuance, political sophistication, and the agility to embrace contingency as an asset.
To support this enterprise, New Black Nationalists authored a trilogy of papers that argued why Gretchen Whitman is the Democrat's strongest potential nominee, provided a general election strategy including a recommendation for Xavier Becerra as a vice-presidential consideration to capture 270 electoral college votes, and proposed a structure to orchestrate a sequence of events enabling Whitmer to capture the nomination in the fog of a Brokered Chicago Convention.
We are confident that an advanced detachment of Black Democrats can initiate this project and carry it through to its successful conclusion. The two keys to victory lay in recognizing this effort has innumerable allies that are just waiting for someone to take the lead, and that the project's greatest asset is Gretchen Whitmer, her record, and her charismatic persona.
See you in Chicago.
Democrat Primary Types and Convention Delegate Allocation
Open – Voters may vote in either party primary regardless of voter party registration but can choose only one primary to vote in.
Closed – Only voters registered in their respective party may vote in the party primary
Mixed – A semi-open or a semi-closed environment, unaffiliated voters can choose to vote in either primary or voters can switch registration the day of voting.
Democratic primary/caucus delegates are proportionally allocated to the candidates based on their percent share of the vote.
Proportional – Delegates are awarded based on the percentage of the vote received by candidates, or some formulation of dividing up the delegates.
For a presidential candidate to be awarded delegates on a proportional basis, the candidate must receive a minimum threshold of 15% of the total statewide (at-large) vote. Some states also award delegates to a candidate that meets the threshold of 15% percent of the total vote in a single congressional district.
Winner Take All – All delegates are given to the winner of the contest.
Winner Take Most – Some delegates are reserved for the winner, some may be divided proportionally
Democrat Party Pledged Delegates
Pledged delegates in the Democratic Party are required to express a preference for either one of the party’s presidential candidates or an uncommitted preference as a condition of their selection. Under current party rules, delegates pledged to a specific candidate are encouraged—but not required—to vote for the candidate they had been selected to support.
Democratic Party Unpledged or Superdelegates
Unpledged delegates in the Democratic Party are not required to pledge their support to any of the party’s presidential candidates. Often called “superdelegates,” unpledged delegates include members of the Democratic National Committee, Democratic members of Congress, Democratic governors, or distinguished party leaders, including former presidents and vice presidents. They are free to support any of the presidential candidates.