The risk of not holding re-votes in Michigan and Florida

Two days after Florida nixed its plans to hold a do-over primary, Michigan appears close to doing the same, as even some of the state's Clinton supporters are admitting. It appeared just a few days ago that a June 3rd contest was probable, but there have been too many objections raised since then -- whether the vote can be organized, whether people who have voted in January 15th GOP primary [that saw a third of cross-over Democrats] could vote on June 3rd, who would pay -- for the Michigan legislature to have much hope of resolving them by their recess on Friday.

Obama never explicitly rejected the primary but most of these objections were raised by his campaign and by its Michigan co-manager Hunter; seeking to delay the decision and keep up a crowd of uncertainty, Obama appears close to his goal to avoid potentially dangerous revotes in the beginning of June. With Clinton on the upswing in Pennsylvania and hoping to ride momentum throughout May, it would have been very difficult for Obama to convince superdelegates if he had lost a string of contests including the final two in Florida and Michigan.

Now, Clinton is trying to force the hand of both the Michigan legislature and of the Obama campaign by ... holding today's first meeting in Detroit! This is meant to simultaneously pressure the Michigan legislature into taking action and to force the Obama campaign to openly oppose a revote plan rather than retreat in the objection-raising position they are in now. For remember that, whether or not we think that the FL and MI votes were unfair and should not count at the convention, Clinton had nothing to do with pushing those votes forward and she is justifiably frustrated that two states in which the demographics favor her will have no role to play in the nomination process.

If the Michigan revote is indeed nixed, the question will be whether any plan can be agreed to that would still allow for some delegates to be seated. There was a plan circulating last week that would seat Michigan 50-50 and Florida based on the January vote but giving delegates only half a vote -- though this does not give Michigan any voice in the process. And Barack Obama better find a way to make Florida and Michigan count in some way, for the more-than-ever probable nominee could pay dearly come the general election if the two states' Democrats are left angry by the process.

A new poll shows that a plurality of Florida Democrats want the January 29th to count and, more importantly, a full quarter of respondents (and these are Democrats) said they would be less likely to support the Democratic nominee in the fall if the Sunshine State is not included in the nomination process. And whether there is a direct linkage or not, PPP's new general election survey of Florida looks quite terrible for Democrats and the confusion in which the state's party is in right now can't be improving things:

  • McCain leads Hillary Clinton 47% to 44% but he crushes Obama 50% to 39%.
The difference is due to Obama significantly underperforming among his party's base: He trails by 9% among women (Clinton leads by 8%), and he only gets 60% of Democrats (Clinton gets 74%), the latter number a truly weak number. And those Democrats are saying they are McCain supporters (25% in a match-up against Obama) rather than going in the undecided camp. Among Hispanics, Clinton is tied with McCain at 47% while Obama trails by 11%. Clinton has her own problems as 51% of African-American are supporting her, though the rest is pronouncing itself "undecided" (35%) rather than McCain (13%).

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  • It is true Clinton had nothing to do with MI and FL moving their primaries up in contravention of the known rules. However she was such the inevitable candidate just a few months ago she should have won the nomination without these two states.
    Both MI and FL will be shown the love in November so it is not like they are being ignored and the Dems can win in November without FL - almost did it in 2000 (NH would have done it) and 2004 (OH would have done it).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 19 March, 2008 07:49  

  • I don't even think Florida is much of a swing state (especially with McCain on top of the ticket). I think resources are much better spent elsewhere.

    By Blogger ron, At 19 March, 2008 08:05  

  • Completely agree that FL is not a swing state anymore - Bush won pretty well in 2004. Democrats have many other states they can and should aim at - CO, VA, IA, OH, NV, NM as well as their weakly held states such as MI, OR, WI, PA, MN and WA.

    By Anonymous Guy, At 19 March, 2008 10:38  

  • Clinton did'nt change the dates but left her name on MI. ballot. Let them hold their breath or vote for McBush. sick of hearing the whining.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 19 March, 2008 17:33  

  • Agreed - if anyone in MI or FL will change their vote in November because of their primary not counting then they are missing the bigger picture.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 19 March, 2008 19:59  

  • If FL is no longer a swing state, then why should anyone pander to FL or MI? The Democrats blew it in FL and MI and thus are suffering the consequences for it. Lesson to be learned: Consensus between the party and the states is the way to go, not diktat.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 19 March, 2008 21:02  

  • Florida not a swing state? It's practically retired northeasterners transplanted to a warmer climate for retirement. That's a state in which Clinton really has a chance while Obama won't draw strong support outside the northern part and the panhandle.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 March, 2008 00:24  

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