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Friday, May 30, 2008

Fixing Florida and Michigan

(Editor's note: With the much anticipated Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting tomorrow afternoon, this would be a good time to re-run part of my March 7 article on the Florida and Michigan dilemma. In the last three months, no arguments have changed, despite the networks still claiming that Hillary Clinton's change of the metrics is news. Look for Clinton to get about a 60-40 split of halved delegates from the two felonious states, which will actually make a Clinton comeback less likely, as the percentage of pledged delegates and superdelegates that she'll need to win for the balance of the process will increase. Also, prepare for the famous 2,025 delegates majority mark to be pushed back to close to 2,200, though Obama will still be in position to clear that majority with the conclusion of the primary process. Long story short: Obama is the nominee within a few days of the June 3rd primaries.)

So Florida and Michigan want their votes counted. What a shock. They are upset that their influence has been stripped, but they seem confused as to whom they should focus their ire. It is not Howard Dean and the Democratic National Committee's fault. Florida and Michigan have only one place to point their finger, and that is at their own state parties.

Both parties of both states were forbidden to push their primary in front of February 5th. If they proceeded, sanctions would be imposed. The motivations behind the national committees imposing such strict laws were clear and simple. If any state was allowed to push up their primary in order to gain more influence in the primary process, then eventually all states would leapfrog each other until the primary season began months earlier than usual. Order and civility were necessary and penalizing rule-breakers was the only way to maintain them.

So, Florida and Michigan were warned, but their state parties insisted on pushing up their primaries to January. The Republican National Committee penalized the two states half of their delegates to the Republican Convention. The DNC stripped all of the Florida and Michigan delegates from the Democratic Convention.

The Republican candidates continued to campaign in the states, as even half of Michigan and Florida's delegates were still greater than smaller states at full value. The Democratic candidates, however, were instructed not to campaign in the penalized states. Some even went as far as to take their names off the ballot in Michigan (though Hillary Clinton did not do so). Mike Gravel was the only candidate to campaign in Florida, while Dennis Kucinich was the only one to campaign on Michigan.

Thus Michigan and Florida were ignored by Democrats, a long-term implication addressed in yesterday's post. As promised, their delegates were stripped. And now the governors of the two states, Republican Charlie Crist of Florida and Democrat Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, are predictably demanding that their delegates be seated. It is important to note that they did not fight the move into January. In fact, they championed the idea. The two governors are partly responsible for their states' predicaments.

Yet, once the promised consequences were delivered, they complained about the consequences. Simply, they called a bluff and lost and then complained about it.

But did they lose? Now, it seems, it behooves the Democratic National Committee to somehow count votes from the two states, so as to not alienate the Michigan and Florida voters. Since counting the unsanctioned January primaries is out of the question, despite Hillary Clinton's pleas, there is a chance that the states will revote either in primary or caucus form. If they do this, they would have more influence on the election than they possibly could have dreamed of when they moved up. Ironically, in this election, it is now the later primaries that are holding the most influence of all, and Florida and Michigan are going to get the best of both worlds.

All for breaking the rules.

10 comments:

Jon said...

I don't even know how they CONSIDER re-instating these states' delegates after the fact. What was the point of the rules?

Anonymous said...

Leave the rules as they are. Then the whole thing will be over this Tuesday and the Party can unite and move on to the more important issue- November

William said...

How can they even consider giving Michigan's primary any consideration after all major candidates but Hillary pulled their name off the ballot?

Anonymous said...

As a Florida resident and lifelong Democrat, I resent the way Floridians are being treated by the DNC, and I believe they are giving away Florida in the general election. I will vote Democratic because I'm not sure the country can survive another four years of a Republican presidency, but I know a lot of Democrats who are too proud to vote for a party that has cheated them out of a voice in choosing the candidate. They will either not vote or will vote for someone other than the Democratic candidate.
We were cheated by the Republicans in 2000 and 2004; now our own party has said, essentially, that our vote doesn't count.
And don't tell me about our "breaking" the rules. Our Republican governor and his rubberstamp legislature broke the rules. What were the voters supposed to do, hold our own primary?
I know what the lawyers say. Somehow, it is illegal for half of our votes to count. If that's the way the Democratic party operates, then I guess it won't be shocked when Florida goes in the Republican column in November. Republicans know how to count votes, even if they have to cheat to get enough to win.

Catherine Morgan said...

Florida's primary was moved up because the Republican majority leadership in FL decided to move it up. It seems odd to me that the Dems are the ones being punished in Florida because of something the Republicans are responsible for.

People need to see the bigger picture here. If the Dems lose Florida in November...they most likely lose the election. Is holding onto the precious rules more important that winning the election?

Of all the states for the DNC (Dean) to through their weight around with...and to let this go on without being resolved this long is totally foolish. If Dems lose the White House again, it will be because of this stupid "rule" and Howard Dean.

Broken rule or not, the punishment did not fit the crime (punish the people responsible for the crime, not the millions of voters).

And, all of the early primary states had to "at one time" break the rule, otherwise they wouldn't be one of the early voting states I just hope this doesn't end up costing the dems the election, but I fear it may.

rj from mich said...

Wesley Clark, among others, has stated that the primary in Michigan must be counted because the principle of counting every vote must be maintained. He is correct to a certain extent. Every vote must be counted in a legitimately held voting procedure. Unfortunately, that is not the case in Michigan. I am from Michigan and our primary was most definitely not legitimate. Before the primary was held, the entire country was notified that the results would not count. I voted even though I knew my vote would not count. However, that is not the case with all people. When I have asked others if they voted, I have often been told “why should I drive several miles to the voting site and stand in line for 10 minutes just to cast a vote that doesn’t count anyway?” I know of a number of people who did not vote because of this. We have a situation where we were told that the primary did not count which resulted in people not voting, candidates not campaigning and candidates leaving their names off the ballot. Obviously the announcement prior to the primary affected the results. This clearly makes the results illegitimate. This “ipso facto” primary cannot be construed as fair using any objective logic. To validate this fraudulent primary is to lie to and manipulate the voters in Michigan in a grossly unfair manner. You must not do this to us! We deserve better.

The Dude said...

This situation would be mute if Senator Clinton was a uniter, not a divider. Is there a more polarizing figure in America next to Kobe Bryant?

I think it all comes down to the Eastern Conference Finals. If the Pistons win, then Michigan's delegates are counted. Lets get the upper midwest to put its freedom where its (Rasheed’s) mouth is...Its the Connecticut Compromise 2: The quest for more freedom…...

Dean said...

Hillary discussing the Michigan primary back in Oct 2007, when asked why she was not pulling out of it.

Anonymous said...

The question is begging to be asked today is "how many Obama supporters will vote for HRC if she gets the nomination the same way Bush got elected in 2000?

I am Obama supporter that say Yes I will vote for Hillary, but that was when I assumed she would have won fair and square. I do not think I will vote for her under the current circumstances.

Anonymous said...

What is the point of having rules if they are so easily ignored. It is clear who is the party leader and if a Clinton was not on the ballet would we even be having this conversation?

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