(CNN)Over the weekend, Democrats made what they wanted you to believe was a Very Big Change. In the wake of the 2016 Democratic primary fight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the Democratic National Committee prohibited superdelegates -- elected officials and party leaders -- from voting on the first ballot at the party's convention if none of the candidates have received a majority of pledged delegates. Which is less than revolutionary.
Democrats just handed Bernie Sanders a largely symbolic victory for what happened in 2016
We chatted -- via email -- about the DNC's move, the momentum factor and what it all means for 2020. Our conversation, lightly edited for grammar and spelling (because Chris is a terrible typer) is below.
Chris Cillizza: Harry!
Superdelegates are gone! Our long national nightmare is over! Bernie Sanders is president! Wait, what's that you say?
OK, on a serious note, the Democratic National Committee did significantly alter the way in which superdelegates -- the éminence grise of the Democratic Party -- factor into the nominating process over the weekend. Superdelegates are no longer able to vote on the first ballot at the party's nominating convention unless one of the candidates has already secured a majority of the pledged delegates through the primary process. Which means, in real terms, that superdelegates can't hand the nomination to someone who hasn't won it outright through actual votes.
The changes also mean that a candidate can't count superdelegate supporters as part of his or her overall delegate count as the primary process plays out -- a major gripe of the Sanders' folks related to how Clinton used her massive superdelegate edge to portray herself as all-but-inevitable from the start of the process.
Soo........do these changes actually change all that much? Should the Sanders people celebrate?
Harry Enten: Shalom Christoph(er),
You know I do enjoy a little make-believe, but it's important to know when we're in the real world ... and when we're in fantasyland.
It is 100% true that Clinton jumped out to a huge lead in endorsements, and therefore superdelegates, in 2016. The question is whether that made too much of a difference in the outcome of the primary. Yes, it's true that endorsements tend to be correlated with primary outcomes, though, as Donald Trump taught us, history doesn't always hold.
But the question is, were people watching the superdelegate counts and thereby deciding on Clinton? I'd argue that they probably weren't. Remember, Clinton had a large superdelegate lead in 2008 as well. Ultimately, though, it didn't affect the outcome. Barack Obama ultimately came from behind and beat Clinton in pledged delegates, and the superdelegates followed in his direction.
This brings me to the key point: pledged delegates decided 2016 like they did 2008. Clinton got more votes than Sanders and won the nomination that way.
How does not allowing superdelegates to vote on the first ballot ultimately change very much? They can still endorse and influence the primary that way. They can still vote on the second ballot and influence the result that way.
Did you know that superdelegates, because they aren't pledged, can change their mind?
Do I sound skeptical?
Cillizza: This felt like an olive twig rather than an olive branch to the Sanders people when I first read of the deal -- and, having read your thoughts, it feels even more like one.
It seems to me that the DNC knew it had a major problem with the Sanders wing of the party in the last election -- as symbolized by the fact that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was run off as Democratic National Committee chair in the opening moments of the 2016 convention because of emailed released by WikiLeaks that showed her with a clear thumb on the scale for Clinton.
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Given that outrage, the DNC had to do something to show a) they were listening and b) Sanders' fight hadn't been in vain. So, they came up with this idea of no superde