Nothing anyone says to me will convince me that the fight to seat the delegates from Florida and Michigan (my home state) is nothing less than a fight for the voting rights of the 2.3 million people who turned out for their state primaries in January. The voters did not set the dates – and major efforts have been made to set things right when the states, the DNC and Hillary’s campaign tried to work out some sort of re-vote in each state.
There’s a great article on Politico today that offers up a solution to the questions that will be taken up by the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the DNC (RBC) on May 31st, and I think it’s worth a mention here. It might also be worth passing on to the members of the RBC – just in case they still have an open mind where my family’s voting rights are concerned.
The members of the RBC have a decision to make and it’s not just about the fate of these votes or the outcome of the primaries. It is about whether we’ll stand behind our most fundamental values as Democrats and as Americans. It’s about whether we’ll move forward as a team – as a party united in the fight to win Florida and Michigan (my home state) and win back the White House in November.
After all – elections are held to determine the will of the people right? Not a handful of folks lucky enough to be on the inside track within the party. How anyone on the RBC could think they have the right to dismiss the wishes of 2.3 million Americans… well it just doesn’t sound like something Democrats would do.
Check it out…
The legal principle supporting that solution is pretty simple. In U.S. contract law, the party breaching a contract usually has the right to “cure” the violation during the term of the contract. But if the other party stands in the way of that cure, the breaching party cannot be further sanctioned — and certainly, as a matter of fairness, the party preventing the cure should not stand to benefit.
That is, in fact, what happened in 2008 to Michigan and Florida. Those states violated the party rules when they scheduled their primaries before Feb. 5. But then in March, elected officials and party leaders in both states were willing to “cure” — i.e., to hold new primaries and raise the money privately to pay for them. In Michigan, Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Sen. Carl Levin proposed a “fire house” primary in June, in which voters could revote at local fire houses or libraries. In Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson and others supported a revote by mailed ballots and perhaps also offering the fire house alternative for those voters who preferred to vote in person.
Now you might recall that the proposals were backed by both Hillary and the DNC, and that Chairman Dean said the re-votes would bring the states back into compliance with the DNC rules that everyone’s so quick to point to when they argue for the disenfranchisement of 2.3 million voters. The only person standing in the way of that compliance was Sen. Obama. As much as Hillary might encourage Obama to get on board with these efforts, he dug in his heels and refused, knowing it would rob my family of their right to be heard at our party’s convention this summer. His only concern was in keeping Hillary from gaining additional delegates.
Now the Obama campaign would say that they neither objected nor approved; they just raised “concerns.” That is a fact. But here is an unavoidable inference from other undeniable political facts: Had Obama instructed those supporters in Michigan and Florida who were opposed to the revotes to support them, and joined with Clinton in endorsing the revotes, the new rounds of voting would have occurred.
Can anyone seriously argue against that inference? Or that the Obama campaign, by referring to vague concerns for weeks about the revote proposals without offering to sit down with Clinton campaign, Florida, and Michigan Democratic officials to work them out, was more intent on playing out the clock and killing the chance of any revotes than finding solutions to permit the revotes to occur?
They had the money to conduct the re-votes, so that wasn’t the issue. Still, here we are, faced with the chance that voters in those two key states will walk away from our nominee if they’re votes aren’t counted at 100% – their delegates seated at the convention – and our candidate respecting their voting rights just as he would any other American’s.
The article then goes on to offer up a possible solution, starting with looking at what the voters said they wanted (good idea in any civilized society – yeah?)…
In Michigan, Clinton received 55 percent of the vote. According to Thegreenpapers.com, she thus should receive 73 pledged delegates based on that percentage.
What about the 50 remaining uncommitted delegates, and 7 collectively cast for Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, who were also on the ballot?
The Rules Committee has several options. The fairest would be to allocate those 57 pledged delegates, to Clinton and Obama by the same ratio of their standing to one another in the average of the most recent Michigan statewide polls prior to the Jan. 15 primary. Or perhaps one Solomonic compromise, more generous to Obama than to Clinton, would be to divide the remaining delegates approximately 50-50 between the two of them, 28-27 (giving Clinton the extra delegate since she led in all the latest statewide polls prior to Jan. 15).
Florida’s compromise solution is even easier. Clinton won 50 percent of the vote, while Obama won 33 percent of the 1.7 million Democratic votes cast. According to Thegreenpapers.com, that would give Clinton 105 delegates and Obama 69 delegates. That leaves 11 elected John Edwards delegates yet to decide, as well as 13 still unpledged superdelegates. (Eight supers have already decided for Clinton and five have decided for Obama).
They then move on to why Florida and Michigan (my home state) will be crucial to our party’s chances of winning back the White House in November.
Practical politics: Winning the November election
Such solutions for the seating of Michigan and Florida, rooted as they are on neutral and long-standing principles of law and equity, are also required by practical political realities if the Democrats want to win the White House in 2008.
If more than 2.3 million Democrats in Michigan and Florida are told their votes didn’t count even though their party leaders were willing to revote, that could anger them, to put it mildly. If they blame Obama for not supporting the revote while still blocking a fair solution by the Rules Committee, essentially not permitting their January votes to count, they are likely to be angrier still — if, that is, he is the Democratic Party’s nominee. In a close election that could mean the difference between the Democratic candidate carrying or losing Michigan and Florida.
Do you really want to risk pissing off 2.3 million voters, along with the other Dems who’ll be so pissed at this blatant disregard for the wishes of the folks in Florida and Michigan (my home state) that they’ll stay home in November because they’re so pissed?
Are you so intent on disenfranchising your fellow voters – Americans – Democrats that you’d reject this fair and simple solution?
No way. There’s just too much at stake guys – starting with the Supreme Court and our right to choose.