Disenfranchisement Is More Than Regrettable, Governor

Per Mark Halperin, Governor Napolitano claims that the MI and FL situation is “regrettable”. Are you kidding me? An elected governor claiming that ignoring the voters of MI and FL for the doings of their legislators is only “regrettable”? Wow!

Sorry, Governor. That’s morally bankrupt. Rules are rules, of course. But this is no game of marbles. As important as “getting a Democrat into the White House” is, basic tenets of democracy are much more important to me. This is not about sour grapes, rules or whatever. This is about Democracy in the Democratic Party. Barack Obama had a chance to clear this up with revotes–which I didn’t think were warranted, but willing to support to settle things–but he chose to disenfranchise the will of the voters in MI and FL. That is not Democracy, Senator. And that is more than “regrettable”, Governor.

What is happening to the Democratic Party? I understand the bullying to try to get Hillary to concede so that Obama can win, but when our leaders are saying that disenfranchisement of Democratic voters is merely “regrettable”, something has gone seriously wrong. Seriously, seriously wrong. The voters of MI and FL didn’t chose the date of their primaries, it was forced upon them. Punishing them is not something I ever expected to come from the Democratic Party and the downplaying of it by our so-called leaders makes it just that much worse.

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25 Responses to Disenfranchisement Is More Than Regrettable, Governor

  1. Mark says:

    Thank you, Gilbert, for nailing Napolitano to the Neanderthal DNC political wall!

    I agree completely. The DNC is a shambles, and Howard Dean needs to be sent far, far away. The RNC does a much better job at democracy during primaries than the DNC and what WILL tear the DNC apart is NOT the contest between Obama and Clinton, but the DNC’s authoritarian “old school” politics. Clearly, caucuses are NOT even close to one-person, one-vote.

    If you look at the results in states who had both caucuses and primaries, Clinton won the primaries or it was very, very close, and she lost the caucuses in those same states by wide margins. Caucuses, on that prima facie evidence alone, are proved to have no credibility in the primary election process. They should be ditched completely in the future, period.

    If Michigan and Florida are NOT seated as is (and their votes can be seen as being at least as credible as any caucus results), I personally will change my party affiliation. I may still vote for the Democratic nominee, but I will not be a democrat. I think, in such an instance, Florida Democrats should seriously think about establishing a third party — the Woman’s Party of America, and work hard to have a democratic primary for their party (nationwide, one-day primary).

    I don’t have a big problem with unelected superdelegates at this point in time. It is not much different than our “wonderful” Electoral College. It think they both serve the same kind of purpose, a check and balance on voters — we don’t live in a democracy. The founders of our country distrusted the rule of the majority and wanted some kind of system where there are checks and balances for the two big factors in governing — dictatorships and what can be seen as the potential ruthless rule of majorities (given the opportunity) at the expense of minorities.

    Seat Michigan and Florida now. Give uncommitteds to Obama.

  2. alrudder says:

    Cutting to the chase, I feel like a divorce judge in a he said-she said- somebody’s lying about cheating case. I throw up my hands. Split it 50-50.

    That said, the facts about what happened in Florida’s Republican legislature are murky. Supposedly there were amendments offered. But they should have had a re-vote.

    As for Michigan, they made a calculated risk and put their own delegation at stake. Granholm and Levin (who I both have had the pleasure of meeting) gambled that the primary season would be settled on Feb 5 and the convention is just an infomercial with the delegates serving as extras. Strawmen really, therefore they decided they wanted the candidates campaigning in their state in a one month primary season and that would be worth more than seating delegates.

    It didn’t happen that way. Tough.

    I was just in a discussion at a bar with a GOP leaner, and he said “McCain will say Democrats disenfranchised MI and FL voters.” I replied “if it’s so important, the state should find the money to pay for it.”

  3. gqmartinez says:

    A 50-50 split is disenfranchising the voters and there is absolutely no question about that. Why not just do 50-50 in every state? That is absurd, that’s why. No one would accept Hillary stealing Obama’s votes but anti-Hillary folks seem happy to let Obama steal Hillary’s votes. Do people really believe that not “campaigning” in MI and FL means that voters didn’t know what was going on? If so, there are some states that Obama won which shouldn’t be counted either.

    The truth is, the Clinton camp was willing to dish out the money for revotes and the DNC was fine with that but Obama declined. The disenfranchisement in solely on his hands.

    The voters didn’t decide to move up the date and they came out in record numbers, just like everywhere else. But hey, if you’re happy to let politicians arbitrarily determine who’s vote gets to count and who’s doesn’t, then by all means just come out and say so. There are a lot of nations who do that sort of thing all the time. I just didn’t think the Democratic Party would be happy to follow suit.

  4. Borrow the American Idle system for taking votes, set up an advertising campaign to let Fl. and Mi. people know about a three hour window to access the system, and let the chips fall where they may. Don’t let the votes show up in the popular vote column but divide the delegates up accordingly.

  5. Eakarach says:

    I think Howard Dean should be fire from his job rightnow for being dump ass like bush. I don’t see any other way 2 settle this thing other then count the vote or have a new primary where Hillary and Obama can make their case 2 the voter in MI and FL and let the voter decide who should b the nominee.

  6. alrudder says:

    Gilbert,
    I wanted a re-vote funded by either the state or the party. I wouldn’t have minded a re-vote “sponsored by Hillary supporters using soft money”. Apparently it is not administratively feasible and/or the state and the party does not value its voters enough to vote in a primary. 50-50 is the least bad of the options now. That’s my response to you.

    You have artfully avoided the following:
    1. Giving your opinion of Howard Dean’s performance in the matter.
    2. Giving your opinion on the culpability of Michigan officials for this
    3. Describing how a candidate not on the ballot is responsible for this mess, and cleaning up the mess.

  7. Gilbert Martinez says:

    Let me say it explicitly again: the voters should not be stripped of their vote because of their officials. The fundamental problem is that voters are being disenfranchised. That’s it. That’s the whole story. It doesn’t matter if legislator X changed the date of the primary or chairman Y removed the delegates. The voters are being disenfranchised. A 50-50 split ignores the will of the voters and is disenfranchisement. In fact, it’s worse. It’s blatant vote rigging. Proportioning delegates but not counting votes, American Idol or otherwise, is just ignoring the voters.

    Regarding MI and Obama not being on the ballot, two things always seem to be omitted by Obama supporters. Obama was already on the ballot. He and others took their names off the ballot specifically to deligitimize the vote and give them a reason to disenfranchise voters. Obama, Edwards, Richardson, Biden. They all willingly contributed to a scheme to disenfranchise MI voters. Also, Obama surrogates actually ran a vigorous “uncommitted” GOTV campaign while Hillary did no campaigning.

    It’s more than a bit ludicrous to imply that the two campaigns reimbursing the states to run their primaries over is in anyway sinister. They would have been state-run elections.

    They twists and turns by so many Democrats to deliberately disenfranchise voters to inluence an election has been eye opening. There is no justification. Obama could have ended all the controversy with a revote. He chose not to.

  8. Peace Out For Unity says:

    Supreme Court has the situation and think we will see all responsible held accountable! Count the votes or re-do it !

  9. alrudder says:

    Gilbert,

    1. Howard Dean and the DNC set rules. Most candidates took their names off the ballot to comply with the spirit of the rules ie let the candidates compete in retail politics without competition from big states. The other candidates complied with the spirit of the rules.
    So publicly criticize Howard Dean who is upholding rules and the integrity of the process.

    2. Publicly criticize the Michigan officials for not going into their state coffers, medicaid & schools be damned, for not supporting an internal election for a private organization (the Democratic Party). They knowingly broke the rules, and if Hillary had won in a cakewalk on Feb 5, we would not care that their own officials put them in jeopardy.

    3. It is not the responsibility of a campaign to pay for an election, whether the state provides the resources or the party. Exactly how did Obama tell the Michigan Legislature or the Florida Party, to not hold an election. He complied with Howard Dean’s rules every step of the process.

  10. TLE says:

    altrudder:

    1) MOST candidates did not take their names off the Michigan primary ballot: one-half of them did.

    2) Michigan has Dem officials and leaders with guts. I don’t see anything to criticize them for. In a normal election cycle, they would be seen as taking a stand against allowing one red state and one independent state to determine who the rest of us have to swallow as a candidate. The delegates would have been seated, kiss-kiss, make-up, now let’s talk about changing this moronic tradition. Unfortunately, this did not end up being a normal election cycle. Okay, Carl and Jennifer, shame on you for not having ESP.

    3) Yes, sir, that’s right: Obama has done everything Dean has told him to do all the way down the line. Obama is Dean’s man. He is the preferred candidate of the old-line party powers. I wonder why? I wonder what they expect in return? The one thing I don’t wonder about is whether or not he will deliver on their expectations: he has proven that he most certainly will. Dean says “jump,” Obama doesn’t pause to ask “how high?” — he just starts jumping.

  11. alrudder says:

    1. Gilbert I stand corrected, HRC did in fact have competition from Gravel, Dodd, and Kucinich.
    Obama, Richardson, Edwards, and Biden did leave for the reason I mentioned above: following rules that were put in there for a reason I.
    2. As for point number two, when a gamble backfires, you are accountable for the consequences. Even without ESP. Thus Granholm and Levin are to be held to account for their voters.
    3. And number three, as for Obama being the candidate of the old line, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. “Jumping” as a metaphor for following the rules will have to be debated by the public.

  12. Erica Leigh says:

    I read that Obama, Richardson, Biden, and Edwards all removed their names from the Michigan ballot on the last day it was possible to do so, even though there had been weeks in which ballot changes could take place.

    That sounds really orchestrated to me. And one has to wonder what the ultimate goal was. All the (potentially electable) guys pull their names at the last minute, leaving one lone woman on the ballot. Sure is a nice set up if you plan to cry “unfair” later on.

    The disenfranchisement of millions of Americans voters in Florida and Michigan is a travesty of such immense proportion, that if it is not rectified, I will forever hang my head in shame when we “promote democracy” around the world.

    Just saying.

  13. Jessica says:

    I’ve linked to the article below before on this site and it seems appropriate for this discussion as well.

    http://www.sptimes.com/2007/10/07/State/Florida_faces_a_prima.shtml

    It is a fair assessment of Florida and how a combination of republican opportunism and democratic state pride put Florida voters in this situation. The republicans in Florida used their position to screw over democrats–slimy, but legal as far as I know.

    The DNC is taking a lot of hits on this issue because some people are unsatisfied with its leadership. Maybe it would be better if Terry McAuliffe, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, was still running things at the DNC. Here’s what he had to say about the importance of rules when Michigan tried to move up their primary in 2004, “I will not let you break this entire nominating process for one state. The rules are the rules”

    True, elections are not a game of marbles but when rules are broken, a lack of consequences has the same effect–ask anyone who has ever made or broken a rule–the rule becomes meaningless. What happens in the next election when California, New York or other big states decide to break the rules? Because let’s be honest, if we were talking about small states here, we wouldn’t talking about this at all. Are democrats hungering for a system that disproportionately benefits large states and marginalizes small states?

  14. Jessica

    Circumstances are different in this election from the last so you can repeatedly quote McAuliffe all you like it doesn’t mean his statement in ’04 is neccessarily applicable to this election.

  15. gqmartinez says:

    Jessica. The small states are disproportionately given more weight than large states. In Alaska 8,800 voters participated and Obama netted 5 pledged delegates. In Texas, Hillary won by over 100,000 (over 10 times the number of people who voted in Alaska) and she only netted 5 pledged delegates.

    You can talk about rules all you want. But in the end, you are saying its A-OK to disenfranchise voters for what their legislators do. I stick by my position and maintain that the disenfranchisement of voters is antithetical to democracy. In the end, the SDs are going to decide this so it’s almost a moot point about FL and MI. But their votes should still count. Its more than “regrettable”. Its a travesty.

  16. Kevin says:

    Comparing net delegate takes out of a state is mathematically misleading. The real comparison to make to illustrate the alleged disproportionate weight given to small states would be in total delegates that could be won from the state. I suspect that doing that would provide a more honest assessment of the weighting applied to smaller states and probably shed some light on why the DNC set up their primaries the way they did.

    (Hint: they were likely attempting to keep voters in small states from being disenfranchised due to the mathematics of the large states’ delegate counts making the race a foregone conclusion long before any of the little guys had a chance to weigh in…)

  17. Not meaning to be rude, but I could give a shit about small states, and I live in one. I’m also on record on this site as rooting for Obama, but that still don’t change what is right. People count. Votes count. That’s democracy. Anything else is one inexcusable version or another of game playing.

    Motivating people is the strength of Obama. Let him succeed or fail on the strength of it. I hope that the numbers are with me on this, but if they’re not, so be it.

  18. Eakarach says:

    If Howard Dean doesn’t want MI and FL vote to be count or have a new primary? I think he should be fire by now.

  19. Mark says:

    Hi All: Great discussion. Yesterday, I resigned from my membership in my district’s Democrat Party organization, in which I was very active. I was ashamed to continue being a Democrat with the rampant “old school” politics manifested in this primary season. I am an Independent now and will stay that way until the DNC gets its act together, and validates the Michigan and Florida results as is (uncommiteds to Obama).

    I don’t want to take up more space with my argument in favor of seating Florida and Michigan as is, so visit my site if you want to read more. I have linked to this article by Gilbert as one of the resources for my post. The title of my post is “Today, I Begin my Independence from the Demcratic Party!”

    I am also going to focus heavily on primary reform after November and will start up a website called PrimaryReform.com

    The “dirtiest” thing that is happening in this primary is disenfranchisement on many levels in many states.

    Along with a few other bloggers, I am thinking even further about a third party that would be a resurrection of the National Woman’s Party or a new party named Women’s Party of America if the DNC keeps going the way it has for the last 8 or more years.

    Keep the faith.

  20. Kendall A. Johnson says:

    Darrel,

    I appriciate your courage to insist that the votes should count, even if the result means your guy falls. That is big of you. Thank you for being fair minded on this.

  21. Kendall A. Johnson says:

    What a mess!!! Howard Dean will know the damage he has caused due to his lack of leadership when his loser ass is kicked back to Vermont!!!!

    Every one in the democratic party is watching him and how this plays out. Will they disenfranchise voters in a sexist effort to deny Clinton the nomination?

    We will organize as we already are. We will fight this even if the party gets ripped apart!!!!! You don’t fuck your voters or you core constituancy without paying a price!!!!! The governor, a back stabber will be remembered. The freedom that she enjoys as a female governor was borne off the backs of women like Hillary Clinton. We will remember her and how she thought it was o.k. to dienfranchise two large swing states encompassing more that 26 million people!!!!!!! Shame on you Governor, Shame on you!!!!!!!! You are not a democrat!!!!!!

  22. Kendall A. Johnson says:

    If they f*ck Clinton out of the nomination by disenfranchising the Florida and Michigan voters, she should run as an independent!!!! She would probably win!!! It worked for Lieberman and Bloomburg.

  23. Kendall Johnson says:

    People like the governor of Arizona don’t want to bother to count the Fl. and MI votes or to do revotes. She is also a superdelegate, and can you guess who she endorsed? You know superdelegates have a very important role, but that role does not include supporting, with all their power and influance within the party and the DNC, the disenfranchisement of millions of voters in a calculated effort to secure the nominee of their personal chioce.

    That is not democratic at all!!! This is something the republicans would rig!!!!!! This is nothing more that politicions stealing the voting power of the people to get their personal desired result.

    You know, where do you go from here? The people can’t win for losing!!!!!!Dean better wake up and quick!!!! He has to be an idiot if he doesn’t know already that the math that counts, is with Clinton. And, if they disenfranchise those states, we will definately lose Florida if Obama is the nominee. And then we go to Ohio!!! A weak before the election, FOX news starts playing another anti-white pastor Wright clip with Obama and family front and Center!!!!!! Ohio goes to McCain too!!!!!!!! Too much of this stuff and those working class whites, the Reagen democrats, will run to McCain. They will stay with Clinton in larger numbers, particularly the women. She will loose with white men, but she will win with everyone else including latinos and blacks. Clinton is the only choice!!!!! We can’t win without the blue collar voter!!!!

  24. Kendall Johnson says:

    Jessica,

    You obvioiusly miss the point. There should not be rules that disenfranchise voters!!!!!!! Rules that are designed to disenfranchize voters are or should be unconstitutional!!!!! Howard Dean can shove his rules!!!!

    It’s the voters who are supposed to count!!!! Polititions have no right to strip voters of their vote!!!! For there to be a popular vote, you must count the votes!!!!!!All of them. If their are questions, do revotres!!!!!!!

    The vote does not belong to the candidates or any other politition within the party or the DNC. The franchise belongs to each citizen. Rules that disqualify votes for no other reason than for politions to seize the opportunity to manipuate the outcome has to be unconstitutional!!!! The citizans have the right to vote and for their votes to count!!!!!! Democrats are making a huge mistake if they disenfranchise voters.