Democratic Party Chairman Charles T. Manatt yesterday said he doesn't expect his party to nominate a black or a woman as a vice presidential candidate in 1984.
Manatt said that traditional considerations about balancing the ticket along regional lines will dominate the vice presidential selection next year, but that he expects to see a woman or a black on the Democratic ticket before the end of the century.
He also told a breakfast meeting of reporters that he wants his party's 1984 platform to be a shorter, more general document than in the past, with as little detail as possible, and wants the convention to be a "more managed" affair.
As part of this effort, Manatt said he will encourage Democratic governors to "show some leadership" and act as the heads of their state delegations to the convention. Big-city mayors, he said, will be asked to sponsor a series of issues conferences to discuss party positions.
His remarks reflect a continued movement away from the party overhauls of the last dozen years, which were enacted to encourage grass-roots participation in the party. Last summer, for example, the party set aside 561 delegate slots for elected officials and party leaders.
The remarks also put Manatt at odds with some party leaders.
Black leaders recently have been meeting to discuss backing a black presidential candidate and black agenda for the party. And last week New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo said it was no longer necessary for the party to balance its presidential ticket geographically.
"I don't know if you need a southerner to do well in the South anymore," Cuomo said.
Trying to restrict the platform also could cause trouble for party leaders. Every four years each of a wide variety of special-interest groups tries to get a sentence or two written into the platform putting the party on record on behalf of its special cause, whether aid for the handicapped, abortion or farm price supports.
Manatt, however, said he didn't believe in "300 special interest groups" having a piece of the platform, and said he hoped the convention would adopt "a 30-page rather than a 900-page platform." The platform committee's report to the 1980 Democratic National Convention was 130 pages.
Manatt said he still expects floor fights at the convention, which will be held in San Francisco, but that he hopes elected officials will take a more active role in deliberations than in recent years.
He said he is particularly interested in getting Democratic governors to lead their state delegations because they are usually the most influential political leaders in their states. There are 34 Democratic governors.
In 1980 only 16 of the 27 Democratic governors chaired state delegations at the convention. Four governors didn't even attend.
Manatt said the election of Rep. Harold Washington (D-Ill.) as the first black mayor of Chicago "takes away some of the pressure" for a black presidential candidacy, and such a bid is less likely now than before Washington's April 12 victory.
He said he expects Democrats to have a black or a woman on a presidential ticket before the end of the century, but this would be "less than likely in 1984."