Michigan and Florida Revisted

I haven’t had a chance to comment here on the mess with Michigan and Florida and the controversy over whether there should be re-do primaries — or just what the heck to do with the delegates.

My instinct all along is that the DNC never should have said these delegates would not count. The Obama camp of course does not see it that way. And as Jeralyn points out on Talk Left, there seems to be a “fundamental misunderstanding on what the candidates promised and didn’t promise regarding the outcomes of the Florida and Michigan primaries.”

Here is a PDF of the four state pledge, which says “nothing about which delegates will count or not count in Florida and Michigan.”

It says nothing about whether a state’s primary will count or not.

The candidates merely pledged not to campaign in any states holding a primary or caucus before Super Tuesday, other than Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

The four state pledge prohibited “only campaigning” and “fundraising was allowed.”

The exclusion of Michigan and Florida was a penalty imposed by the DNC.  

Which brings us to this question posed by Jeralyn today: Why Did Obama Withdraw From the Michigan Primary?

Read Jeralyn’s full post which lays some reasoning on why Obama withdrew from the ballot in Michigan and concludes:

It was Obama’s choice to remove himself from the Michigan ballot. Did he do it for strategic reasons because Hillary was leading by large margins in the polls (Here’s one from October 5 to 7, right before the drop out deadline, showing Hillary 42%, Obama 26%)? If so, why should there be a revote?

I think the DNC should remove the penalty from Michigan and Florida and seat the delegates. In Michigan’s case, Hillary should get the delegates according to her vote total. The other delegates should remain “uncommitted” and vote how they want when they get to the convention.

Obama is making an issue out of this because those delegates from Michigan and Florida help Hillary and hurt him. Maybe he and his campaign should have thought harder about Michigan before withdrawing from the ballot. It’s a mess. Not just for the candidates but for the voters as well. The DNC, Howard Dean and Barack Obama all need to suck it up and seat the damn delegates.

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11 Responses to Michigan and Florida Revisted

  1. Pingback: Barack Obama Chronicles » Archive » Michigan and Florida Revisted

  2. gqmartinez says:

    I personally don’t blame Dean for being hesitant. If he takes a strong position either way he will be seen as trying to help one of the candidates. I’m happy with a revote because Hillary will likely come out with similar margins as the first vote. But I don’t think Hillary should come to the bargaining table that way so early. The Obama campaign is trying to make it look like the Hillary campaign is cheaters–fair enough, its a campaign and thats what they are supposed to do. But talking to many people who thought Hillary was “cheating” based off press reports and Obama talking points, its clear that they come to a different conclusion once they learn the details. And once you hammer home the fact that it was the legislatures, not the candidates, who changed the primary dates it becomes hard for even the hard core Obama supporter.to justify ignoring those voters–the ones that do come off bad.

    Obama deserved what he got in MI and Hillary’s supporters should bring up the fact that it was a deliberate plan to make Hillary look bad in Iowa.

    I guess its because I think a re-vote in MI and FL will yield similar results, but I’m against a revote. it’s a waste of money and it really forces us to reevaluate the Iowa and NH supremacy in the processes. That is long overdue.

  3. T S says:

    How could this get so screwed up? The delegates weren’t supposed to count so they shouldn’t. I think it was a stupid decision in the first place to ignore them but you can’t change the rules this late in the game. They should’ve counted from the beginning but since the decision was made to not count them, they need to stick by that. It blows my mind how these liberals can take something so simple and completely screw it up.


  4. T S (something as offensive as that screen name I wouldn’t touch with a 10″ pole): Which liberals would you be referring to?

  5. proseandpromise says:

    I think we should be careful about putting the political motivation simply in Obama’s mouth. Certainly his position is favorable to him politically, but remember, this became a debate after Clinton raised the issue when the race got close. All signs seemed to indicate before that that candidates knew what they were getting in to. I remember coverage at that time being quite clear. No one was shocked the day after the MI and FL primaries to hear that the delegates wouldn’t be seated. I think any solution other than standing by the initial decision would be politically charged and disruptive.

    Therefore, I think that the Obama camp should not push a caucus for the re-vote, or a re-vote at all, and I think the Clinton camp should stop its petitioning and its rhetoric about all votes counting. The heat around this issue is going to boil over and hurt whichever one ends up as the nominee in the fall.

  6. red says:

    Overall these primaries are a little odd. But if states would have complete freedom, it would be a calendar race. Hard to tell what the best solution is but DNC stepped in and drew a line. FL and MI party officials crossed that line. The idea that the voters in FL and MI are being punished is absurd. They knew that their vote didn’t count, they just wanted to make a statement. A re-vote is a concession to these two states. Let’s face it, DNC wants FL and MI back in the game because they are Purple states.

    The idea that Obama withdrew his name from MI ballot to avoid a poor show is even more absurd. First, he wasn’t the only one to do so. Most of the candidates did that. Furthermore Obama, Edwards, and others would have done the same in FL but the rules there didn’t allow the ballot to be changed.

    On the other hand Hillary Clinton chose to stay on the ballot to coax the MI and FL voters in order to score some PR points and to counter her not so good performance in early states. So, speaking of trying to mask one’s weakness is amazing to see how her backers try to spin this around and frame Obama as the person who’s playing games when the exact opposite is true.


  7. Red

    Overall — if Obama won those primaries he would want to seat the delegates. Common sense.

  8. Helen says:

    I thought in FL the Republican legislature and governor controlled the primary date, so it seems unfair to penalize the voters who went to the polls despite the lack of candidate campaigning. I know less about Michigan. I also think someone should post the relative electoral votes of the states won by each candidate, because Democrats can’t win without the states Clinton won, and in the swing states, she’s more likely to prevail over McCain if the demographics are examined. Democrats won’t lose the young and well-educated Obama voters (assuming a decent get-out-the-vote effort), but they could lose some of the states Clinton won to McCain without Clinton at the head of the ticket. We need Clinton to ensure a Democratic victory.

  9. proseandpromise says:

    I have a couple of concerns with your argument. First, let’s be honest, the re-vote thing came up ONLY after Clinton was close to Obama and is now especially big b/c Obama is up considerably in the delegate count. This has everything to do with Obama’s feet-dragging and Hillary’s sudden interest in protecting the will of the voter. To pretend like this is about democracy is like pretending Iraq was about freedom.

    Secondly, just because Clinton won big Dem states doesn’t mean Obama won’t in the general. This argument actually works against you. The blowouts have been bigger when Obama wins a big Dem state. Are we to suppose that Clinton in the general will lose Illinois, Missouri, etc.? It just doesn’t make sense. As for crossing back over to McCain 1) I think Hillary is creating that phenomenon by praising McCain which shows she is willing to undermine Obama’s general run, and I don’t know how you excuse that and 2) I think that young voters will probably just drop out if Obama loses. Now, granted, it won’t be all of them, but a lot will. They didn’t believe in government before, and I’m not sure they will later. Now, I don’t htink they’ll crossover, so that won’t hurt Hillary as badly, but it’s still there.

    So ultimately I think we need to just make our cases about the candidates themselves and let the voters decide. Making decisions on future hypotheticals is not a good way to pick a president.

  10. Helen

    You are correct, the “Republican legislature and governor controlled the primary date” in Florida. Dems there did not want to srt a separate date due to the extra expense. All the candidates remained on the ballot. To not seat FL delegates is perhaps more absurd than not seating Michigan delegates at this point.

  11. proseandpromise

    Hillary Clinton has been saying since the Michigan and Florida primaries that she would work to seat those delegates. At onepoint Obama had also intimated that he would as well. Then as his delegate margin grew, he backed off on that sentiment.

    Perhaps you are unaware that Clinton was an original sponsor of the Count Every Vote Act in 2005. She’s well aware there are problems with the system and has been vocal about it for some time.

    Clinton, FYI is not praising McCain but pointing out what McCain’s team will hit Obama with in the General Election.