FL and MI: Its About Democracy

It’s not about Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. It’s not about rules. It’s not even just about the Democrats winning this November. It’s the next election and the one after that, and the one after that. It’s about democracy.

When you can make up rules that result in the disenfranchisement of innocent voters, whatever the goals of those rules may be, you abandon any pretext of being a democratic institution. Hiding behind “the rules” does not change that.

Not to be alarmist, but I’m pretty sure that there will be no functional Democratic Party after 2008 if Florida and Michigan votes are not counted before the nominee is determined–Before! If you don’t think the first elections were valid, then you should have revotes. It really is that simple. But the flippant disregard for democracy among people who envision themselves as the liberal/Democratic intellectuals makes it worth repeating. It’s not just absurd. It’s dangerous.

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9 Responses to FL and MI: Its About Democracy

  1. Janis says:

    Gilbert, I can’t say WORD enough. You have hit the nail on the head so hard that it’s sticking up out of the carpet in some guy’s living room floor in CHINA.

    There will never be another (relatively) straight election again in this nation’s history if we do not slap the Dems down HARD on this. If they succeed, this will be thr turning point that historians will point to as “when the old United States finally came unglued.” It’s not even a matter of getting the nom for HRC anymore. It’s gone way beyond that.

    WORD MY GOOD MAN WORD WORD WORD. Historically, the most dangerous time in a nation’s lifespan is not when the tyrant takes over, it’s immediately after his departure.

  2. Gilbert Martinez says:


    It is a little tragic to see Animal Farm playing out right in front of our eyes within the progressive movement and parts of the Democratic Party.

    I care about the country and I care about the Democratic Party. I think the fact that having the FL and MI votes count as is or having revotes is controversial at all is hurting the Democratic Party. In fact, I hear as much from folks who don’t get too involved in politics. The Dems are really close to passing a point where it won’t matter who the nominee is.

  3. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the rule being railed against was promulgated long before the circumstances arose under which it has started to work an injustice.

    I’m just saying!

  4. Darrell

    I have to agree with Gilbert – the “rules” as they stand are very screwed up. I felt it was screwed up when the DNC first did this and I think it even more now. It’s about something much larger than just the delegates — it’s about the voter’s votes being counted and worth what they should be.

  5. John P says:

    can we count all the stupid rules that our party uses? i agree wholeheartedly that there is lots of room for improvement in how our party operates. some of us just feel that to push this issue now–when it clearly benefits one candidate–vs. earlier, say maybe BEFORE those states voted–would have been much preferred. regardless of your or anyone elses motives to seat the MI and FL delegates, it smacks of pure politics to many.

  6. Janis says:

    Actually Darrell, I’d say that the general clusterfuck of “rules” according to which the Dems pick a nominee has caused a ton of problems before now. They aren’t picking noms based on the same playbook that the general election uses. The Repubs are, so they are fielding people who can win according to the “winner take all” playbook.

    The Dems have fielded weak candidates because they have been picking people who can succeed in a proportional strategy and then sending them into an election that works differently, and expecting them to prevail. Ain’t gonna happen. As I said earlier, they are picking people based on how well they can throw a baseball and then sending them into a chess tournament.

    This is only the first time that the process has been revealed ITSELF as a failure, as opposed to simply producing failures. 😛

    I wonder how long the Dems have had a proportional delegate playbook and the Repubs have had a winner-take-all one … Pamela? Gilbert? Any advice for finding that out? I have to wonder if the string of losers they’ve cranked out from Walter Mondale to Dukakis to Kerry (and now presumably to the game-playing and unwinnable Obama) isn’t to be laid at the feet of this piss-poor playbook.

    He’s perfect for winning according to gameable, bendable rules; the GE has no such rule to game or bend, so he’s gonna be left in the cold. In a way, it reminds me of the strategy for winning a videogame, possibly much loved by his supposedly more youthful cohort. If you can find the Easter Eggs and code flaws in the game and make them work for you, you can pump your score up as high as you want, and it “counts.”

    Problem is, you can’t train yourself to compete in a pool game by doing this. Pool is real-world. No code flaws, no wiggle-room. Sink the balls or lose. (And if you try to whine or wheedle your way into winning on a technicality or find rule-based shortcuts, you’re likely to wind up with a bloody nose and a pool cue stuck up happyland.)

    It also means that the Dems can’t blame the media for their troubles, if this is the case. The separate playbooks have caused this and enabled the Repubs to get entrenched, and that has allowed the media to get bought by them lock, stock, and barrel. The media’s love affair with the right wing hasn’t CAUSED the election problems, it’s been caused BY them.

    I wish I knew the histories of the parties. If this does stretch back, I’d say that it bears at least half and possibly more of the blame than even the execrable southern strategy, which may only have gotten entrenched due to the playbook mismatch.

    Again, I’d need dates first before this analysis proceeds any further.

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  8. Gilbert Martinez says:

    The “death penalty” rule was an extra effort. As TalkLeft and others have already discussed, known Obama supporter Donna Brazile was heavily involved in changing the original rule to the death penalty rule.

    Can anyone name what the original DNC rule was? If you guessed a 50% reduction in # of delegates, just like the GOP, you’d be correct. Iowa, NH, SC and NV, in addition to FL and MI, violated the “rules”. In FL, there were important propositions on the ballot that Democrats in the state wanted to vote on, so they kept the early date in large part for that reason. Florida legislators, and even most current Obama blog boyz supporters, were going around saying that FL would count in the end. Fl had record turnout. If you think all of that doesn’t matter that’s fine. But why not have revotes instead of thwarting them, as Obama did? The rules were changed once, to make the “death penalty” rule. Why not change them again to allow revotes if the original votes are not perceived to be valid?

    This is the arbitrariness and selective rule following that I find abhorrent.

  9. “Not to be alarmist, but I’m pretty sure that there will be no functional Democratic Party after 2008 if Florida and Michigan votes are not counted before the nominee is determined–Before!”

    The only way that Obama gets chosen to be the banner carrier before the convention is if the superdelegates intervene to end the process. Their ability to do so (as abhorent as I find the prospect) exists solely on the basis of a rule that was adopted long before most Obama voters were even born. That’s what I mean about a long standing rule.

    The rest of the game playing is not unlike the situation where the minimum wage is $5.75/hr until one day when Congress says that it’s now more than that. Many people had plenty invested in the old way of doing things, and, still, none of them have a legtimate right to bitch about the fact that life moves on.

    As for how the nominee gets selected, I’d feel comfortable about the popular vote winner, the pledged delegate winner, or even the one that takes a consensual coin toss between the two of them. What I would not like is an outcome where people like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Donna Brazille, Howard Dean, etc. end up having more of a direct say in the outcome than, for example, the folks voicing their opinions on this site.