5.31.2008

After wild day, R & B committee seats Florida and Michigan... kind of

Who could have predicted that obscure intra-party rules would lead to such an entertaining political spectacle and cause such over-the-top protests and audience hissing? It took the DNC's Rules & Bylaws Committee more than 9 hours to go through the dispute over Florida and Michigan before they voted to seat the entire delegations from both states, giving every delegate half-a-vote. As a result, Clinton nets 24 pledged delegates and the DNC hopes to have finally turned the page, but today's decisions (particularly that regarding Michigan) is undoubtedly a blow to the Clinton campaign .

Early in the meeting, it became obvious that the committee was ready to embrace a compromise on the issue of Florida and cut the delegation's power in half. Despite some tense back-and-forth, in particular when Rep. Wexler took the stand on behalf of Obama and Sen. Nelson on behalf of Clinton, the main issue appeared to be whether the delegation would be split in half before the allocation or whether all delegates would be seated and then granted half-a-vote.

This might seem a trivial dispute but the margin of delegate between the two candidates would be drastically different in the two cases, +19 for Clinton if the latter and +6 if the former. [This is due to the way in which delegates are allocated by district, something we have had ample opportunity to puzzle over in the past few months. For instance, in one of the 4 delegates districts in which Clinton netted 3 delegates and Obama 1, the post-punishment allocation would be 1.5-0.5 if every delegate is given half-a-vote. But if the split occurs as if the votes were not yet known, this district would only have 2 delegates and the two candidates would get one each.

The Obama campaign, being quasi-assured of the nomination, could afford to be generous. After all, its main preoccupation at this point is to avoid party disunity to move on to the general election. Through Wexler, it indicated that it would not oppose the model that would give Clinton a net margin of 19 delegates out of Florida, calling the move a "concession." Harold Ickles was irked by the use of that word.

Naturally, the more complex question concerned Michigan's delegation since only Clinton's name appeared on the ballot and questions lingered as to whether it is appropriate to pretend that the 40% obtained by "uncommitted" was a vote for Obama. The discussion was tense and no consensus emerged, as the Obama campaign insisted that the delegation ought to be split equally between the two candidates and the Clinton campaign insisted that the full delegation ought to be seated without transferring uncommitted over to Obama. In his impassioned defense of Michigan, Senator Levin endorsed the proposal to allocate the delegation 69-59, mid-way between the January 15th vote and a tie (this compromise has been circulating for a while but not that it has no basis in the rules).

After a long lunch period which extended in private conversations between the committee members, two motions were put on the table and approved by the committee. The first, approved 27-0, sits Florida's full delegation and gives each member (including superdelegates) half-a-vote. That gives Clinton a net gain of 19 out of Florida: 52.5 to 33.5 (it also gives 6.5 delegates to Edwards).

Then, the committee somewhat surprisingly approved a motion regarding Michigan, sitting a delegation made up of 69 Clinton delegates and 59 Obama delegates, each with half a vote. This gives Clinton a net gain of 5 delegates out of Michigan. The new magic number to reach a majority: 2,117 delegates.

The crowd was mostly subdued in the morning, occasionally applauding. But the Clinton supporters were very noisy in the evening session, as they booed and hissed the motions that did not grant the Clinton camp its full wish in either state. Even Clinton supporter Alice Hauffman was heckled for supporting the Florida motion. But it is during Michigan's debate that the room became most chaotic, as the crowd was chanting "Denver, Denver, Denver!" implying that Hillary should go all the way to the convention to make her case.

On the floor, Clinton adviser and RBC member Harold Ickes was protesting, "I rise in opposition. I find it inexplicable that this body that is supposedly devoted to rules is going to fly in the face of other than for our affirmative action rules the single most fundamental rule in the delegate selection process, that is, fair reflection." He later added, "Mrs. Clinton has reserved her right to take this to the credentials committee." And in a strong statement, he declared that, "Hijacking 4 delegates is not a good way to start down the path of party unity."

The day succeeded in resolving much of the issues on the table with the Florida and Michigan delegations, as it is now likely that most Democratic Party figures (including many high profile Clinton supporters like RBC member Dan Fowler) will consider this issue resolved. This means that the Obama campaign crossing the magic majority number (most everyone believe this will happen sometime next week) will be treated with more legitimacy than if the Michigan and Florida questions were still on the table.

But the Clinton campaign has laid the grounds to argue that they ought to continue their fight to the convention. First, there is the popular vote question as they will now argue that this decision legitimizes using the totals in FL and MI to calculate the popular vote results. The Obama campaign will then insist that the uncommitted votes be counted for Obama in Michigan, which would put their campaign ahead -- though Clinton is hoping to reverse that if she gets a big win in Puerto Rico tomorrow.

Second, the Clinton campaign has not accepted the legitimacy of today's resolution. Ickes's complaints at the end of the meeting were meant to protest
the allocation of the Michigan delegation. For the Clinton campaign, it is a travesty that the uncommitted delegates be granted to Obama when he willfully took his name off the ballot and that Clinton delegates be taken away on top of that. Somewhat surprisingly, the Clinton campaign seems to have renounced its objections to the delegations being given only half-a-vote as the vote on Florida's motion was unanimous and as the Clinton campaign's statement tonight declares victory on the Florida front -- choosing to continue the battle only over Michigan:

The decision by the Rules and Bylaws Committee honors the votes that were cast by the people of Florida and allocates the delegates accordingly.

We strongly object to the Committee’s decision to undercut its own rules in seating Michigan’s delegates without reflecting the votes of the people of Michigan.

The Committee awarded to Senator Obama not only the delegates won by Uncommitted, but four of the delegates won by Senator Clinton. This decision violates the bedrock principles of our democracy and our Party.

We reserve the right to challenge this decision before the Credentials Committee and appeal for a fair allocation of Michigan’s delegates that actually reflect the votes as they were cast.


If the Clinton campaign intends to somehow stay in the game past next week and if the superdelegate tsunami does not overwhelm them, its new fight will be a quest to get the credentials committee to change the Michigan allocation (and apparently not to sit the full delegations in FL and MI?). But considering the way in which Dan Fowler distanced himself from Ickes today and considering that undeclared supers like Donna Brazile are barely containing their allegiance at this point, this would certainly be a very lonely fight for Clinton. As far as even some of her high profile supporters are concerned, the Democratic primary will be over next week.

Perhaps the most stunning spectacle today occurred outside of the meeting hall, as protesters were gathered on the street to register their complaints about the way the Michigan and Florida delegations were being treated. TNR's Eve Fairbanks summarizes the scene of what she describes as an alternative dimension, in which one could see signs like "At least slaves were counted as 3/5ths a Citizen" and in which Larry Sinclair was welcomed as a hero for distributing tracts about Obama's drug use and gay sex escapades... Inside the meeting, some cries of McCain were heard from the audience at the end of the meeting.

Yet, despite the signs of lingering hard feelings, the DNC took a big step towards turning the page of the delegate dispute and settling the Democratic nomination. Unless Clinton somehow manages to prevent Obama from surpassing 2,117 delegates by next week, it is difficult to see her staying in the race. By mostly removing Florida and Michigan from the realm of the contestable, the RBC meeting took a big step towards launching the general election.

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24 Comments:

  • At this point, it seems obvious that the dispute's going to go on until the bitter end. Will someone convince Hillary to let it go? I don't know!

    By OpenID st-ranger, At 31 May, 2008 21:48  

  • Icke's' behavior was particularly unpalatable, since he was on the committee when it approved the original sanctions, and voted in favor. He was called on it by Everett Ward, who clearly had no stomach for his bs. He seemed to get under everyone's skin, as the consensus around the table was that this had to be resolved one way or the other.

    As far as the boors in the audience are concerned,I've been a loyal Dem for almost 50 years, and I've had enough of them. They constantly complain of being 'cheated', although of what and what their original entitlement was, no-one seems able to state coherently. Their defense of FL and MI seems rather hollow, since they certainly weren't up on the ramparts back in late Deceember, when Clinton looked like a walk-over.

    At this point, I'd rather risk losing the election if it meant we could get rid of this bunch and reform a new and viable coalition.

    By Anonymous zxoot, At 31 May, 2008 22:10  

  • I don't know if Clinton will really go through and go to the creditionals commitee in July. If she wasn't able to get what she wanted today, then she will definitely lose in the creditionals commitee which will be even more pro Obama and have more of Dean's "The primary ended in june" people on it.

    St-ranger I'm not sure if this disupte is really going to go to the end. If sometime late next week masses of SDs go for Obama, lets say about 60% or more, then Clinton will likely fold her campaign. Yes, she could contine to go on and jepordize Democratic chances in the Presidential election especially since so many of her anti-Obama supporters are just regular. But if she does decide to go to the creditionals commitee and then to Denver, she will pay a heavy price for costing Obama the election, which is the end of her own career. She would never come even close in the 2012 prez primaries and she would lose her seat in Senate either in the primary or the general election. A price that as ambitious she may be I don't think she may be willing to do.

    However, if Obama only narrowly get a majority of all of the delegates, then she may decide its worth it to take it all the way to the convention because it would signal that there is alot of nervousness among Obama, nervousnes that she would exploit. Of course, if Clinton supporters are upset now, it is nothing compared to the feeling that Obama supporters, (especially African Americans) would have if Plegeded delegate leader is overturned. Not only would Clinton in a sense become "unelectable" because so many blacks would refuse to support her, but down ballot losses would happen as well, something that is unlikely to happen if Obama was to lose the GE.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 31 May, 2008 22:54  

  • I don't know if Clinton will really go through and go to the creditionals commitee in July.

    I agree that the chances of Clinton contesting the resolution of MI at the convention are slim. It's very likely that Obama will get enough overall delegates so that he'd still be the nominee even if Clinton got her way on Michigan, in which case continuing to contest the result would be pointless.

    Why then would Ickes make his statement? I think it was to placate Clinton's base who would be furious if she didn't do all she could to win. But when Obama has a large enough lead, as will probably happen, she can then look magnanimous and explain to her supporters that it really is over without having them place any blame on her for not fighting it out.

    I just don't see bringing the issue all the way to Denver as a viable option. If she doesn't support Obama when he has enough delegates to secure the nomination with or without Michigan, then she'll get no party support for any future run and she'll be a pariah in the Senate. If she wants some future shot at the top slot, I don't see how that nuclear option would make any sense for her.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 31 May, 2008 23:26  

  • I am utterly sick of Harold Ickles (or is his real name Icky?). He speaks and represents for the greediest politicians imaginable in my generation. His complaints are illogical and only reflect an egotistic desire to have his favorite political character winning the presidency as if the Democratic nominating process were all but a horse race.
    Hillary's supporters are being very impulsive. Logic should be the way to address the issues at hand, not childish bickering. If the Michigan allocation wasn't fair for them, then they'd better wish they had elected a dictator. After all, Obama's name was not on the ballot and that a huge number of voters voted "uncommitted," making the primary more of an undemocratic one.
    Someone either needs to put down Larry Sinclair or sue him for libel because of all the psychotic acts he has committed -- he is a utterly sick, ignorant child.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 01 June, 2008 00:49  

  • Exact update statistics are here to read.

    Obama: 2,053
    Clinton: 1,876.5

    Margin: Obama + 177

    New goalpost for absolute majority to clinch the nomination: 2,118

    Obama is 65 delegates from the nomination. Most likely, after PR, MT and SD, he will be 24 delegates from the nomination, and I am not including the possible 12.5 Edwards delegates who are more than likely to re-declare for Obama.

    At the latest, next Friday, I predict that Obama will go over 2,118. Way over.

    By Blogger Mark, At 01 June, 2008 06:45  

  • It's my understanding that Obama's name was put on the MI. ballot agaisnt his will. And Taniel, it's a TRAVESTY that Clinton refused to remove hers, as she agreed to the sanctions. 3rd world dictators run elections like MI. and Ickes and Co. should be ashamed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 01 June, 2008 08:01  

  • "Uncommitted" is a legitimate standing and it is a violation of party rules to allocate them to Obama against the will of the voters. Further, it's an abomination to strip one candidate of pledged delegates to give to another. The 55 uncommitted and the 4 stolen ones will not be honored in the end so deduct 59 from Obama's count. Quitting the house of bigotry will not put to rest 20 years of racist hate mongering that plagues Obama and he cannot be coronated unless he overtakes 2,118 by more than those 59 and keeps them until August. I highly doubt it. It's still a long way to go. Expect another heated dispute for public consumption in July. If Obama still hasn't imploded or been indicted, that is.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 01 June, 2008 08:05  

  • Anonymous (8:05) - the flaw in your reasoning is the tacit assumption that MI was a full-blown election that met the minimal criteria both under the Rules and under logical standards. It wasn't.

    There was no campaigning; there was universal understanding at that point that no effect would be given to the election, which was at best a bastardized straw poll; Obama removed his name from the ballot, consistent with the party view of the election; Clinton had originally taken the position that the vote was meaningless (and Ickes, her emissary, had voted for the sanctions;)and even the MI representatives yesterday agreed that whatever was done was flawed. It is not as if the RBC stepped into an election that met all relevant criteria. Right or wrong, the party had created an environment that changed the basic dynamics, and all candidates with the exception of HRC had stepped away from it.

    The RBC was then faced with the task of constructing a relatively equitable solution. They wanted to give some recognition to the fact that they had discouraged many likely voters from participating. Technically, they could have stuck to their guns and left MI out in the cold, but that was politically unacceptable. They did the best they could, but they were not dealing with a normal situation, and if they wound up using tools that deviated from normal standards for normal elections, they did so in the context of straightening out an election that was not normal.

    By Anonymous zoot, At 01 June, 2008 09:08  

  • "First there is the popular vote question"
    There is no popular vote question. It doesn't matter if Clinton leads by 5,000,000 popular votes, she still loses if she doesn't have the most delegates. The same goes for electability. When Obama crosses the 2118 line next week he wins. These are red herring issues put forth by a losing campaign.

    By Anonymous fritz, At 01 June, 2008 09:10  

  • "Uncommitted" is a legitimate standing and it is a violation of party rules to allocate them to Obama against the will of the voters. Further, it's an abomination to strip one candidate of pledged delegates to give to another.

    I think it's an abomination to recognize the results of an election where the process is so flawed that no reasonable person can view the results as representing the will of the eligible voting public. There are no delegates to "strip" when the process by which they were acquired wasn't legitimate to begin with.

    In Michigan, many Democrats and eligible independents voted in the Republican primary because they were told (by Clinton herself back in October) that the Democratic primary wasn't going to count. And we don't know how many people stayed home; voting "uncommitted" is not an adequate substitute for voting for one's preferred candidate because it does not designate a vote for a specific person. The Clinton campaign's "popular vote" calculation of hundreds of thousands of votes for her and zero for just about everyone else only demonstrates how flawed the Michigan primary was.

    Given the invalidity of the process, the RBC had to do something. And given the problems above, the compromise may have been generous to Clinton. And the proposal was provided by the Michigan Democratic party itself. So I don't think the Clinton campaign has strong grounds for complaint.

    Nevertheless, I suspect that the numbers will be moot after the voting is done and superdelegates have committed.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 01 June, 2008 09:55  

  • Anyone arguing that the "uncommitted" votes should not have been allocated for Obama is simply a political novice and have no knowledge of the way our democracy and our political system are supposed to work. In fact, the uncommitted votes could well have meant for Obama, as polls have shown him to be leading Hillary at one point during the Mich. re-vote battle.
    Whether you agree or not, the RBC's decisions over both FL. and Mich. reflect the fairness of their views. I would have wanted for them to harshly punish these two rogue, childish states and teach them a lesson.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 01 June, 2008 15:57  

  • anonymous @ 15:57 -- You're simply wrong. You can't judge voter intent by postulating, however reasonably, the way people might have voted under different circumstances. Nor can you judge it based on exit polls (especially as they have proven so unreliable this year), or "do-over" polls, or any other metric. You can only judge voter intent by votes cast. Anything else isn't democratic.

    I remind you about the 2000 election in Florida, when thousands of people who intended to vote for Al Gore misread the ballot and voted for Pat Buchanan instead. Their intent could be reasonably inferred...indeed, Buchanan himself admitted it was unlikely that most of those votes were meant for him. But the votes of those citizens were cast and counted, as they should have been, for the candidate they marked--even though a few hundred of those votes would literally have changed the outcome of a race with a hundred million ballots cast. That's how we do things under a democratic system. If you screwed up your ballot, it doesn't matter...you still had your chance to vote.

    Now, on to Michigan. Barack Obama, John Edwards, Joe Biden, and Bill Richardson all voluntarily withdrew their names from the ballot. Even though very few of those votes would have gone to Biden and Richardson, you can't tell me some wouldn't have...and Edwards was still very much a factor in the race at the time. Surely some of those votes would have gone to him. To give all those votes, and their delegates, to Obama is therefore absurd. I am positive he would have gotten the majority of those votes; I am equally positive he would not have gotten anywhere close to all.

    The fact remains, though, that NONE of the votes for "Uncommitted" were actually cast for Barack Obama. "Uncommitted" is a legitimate presidential preference in Michigan, and those delegates should have been seated at the convention as such. By saying that they should have been awarded to Obama, you display your deep ignorance of the rules by which we conduct our elections...an ignorance that is unfortunately matched by the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the party that likes to think of itself as democratic, and has now shown itself to be anything but.

    To those arguing that the primary was inherently flawed: if so, it had a great deal to do with the indefensible decision by the DNC to strip Michigan and Florida of all their delegates. This disenfranchisement of two of our country's largest states could not be allowed to stand if the Democrats wanted to win in the fall...sooner or later, those delegates were coming back in with half-votes. Hillary Clinton knew this, and positioned herself accordingly. She won 73 of Michigan's 128 delegates, and should therefore have had 36.5 votes at the convention. Uncommitted, meanwhile, should have had the other

    Barack Obama (along with other candidates) withdrew his name from the ballot as a political stunt, when no one was forcing him to. The fact that only three preferences were available to Michigan voters is therefore partly his fault. He won 0 delegates, yet has somehow been awarded 29.5 votes at the convention, including four half-votes that should have been Clinton's, which he did nothing to earn. In what I admit is an exceedingly rare instance, I find myself agreeing with Harold Ickes...Clinton was smart enough to position herself to win some delegates, and then got jobbed when her own party, anxious to rid itself of her candidacy, changed the rules in mid-game.

    So what do we have here? A bad decision to over-penalize states, followed by a bad decision to reallocate delegates (which, I remind you, should be based on votes) based on polling, conjecture, and other mumbo-jumbo. Apparently for most members of the RBC, and for most Obama supporters, two wrongs do indeed make a right.

    By Anonymous Mr. Rational, At 01 June, 2008 17:48  

  • Anonymous (17:48) - you seem to concede that the MI primary was a real dog's breakfast, yet you persist in treating it as if it were a bona fide primary that the RBC corrupted. You treat the withdrawal as a 'political stunt' but cite nothing except your own opinion. Why wasn't it a political stunt for HRC to stay on the ballot when everyone else but Dodd withdrew? This is just politics, not some Manichean conflict, despite your attempt to infuse morality into it.

    What it comes down to is that this was one of the very few times that the Clinton campaign snookered Obama, and since you feel free to speculate, I'll also speculate - that a lot of the high dudgeon and moral indignation emanating from the Clinton camp is nothing more than resentment at not retaining the fruits of her gambit. In the final analysis, Obama snookered her, because he was in a firm enough position to take the moral high ground, leaving nothing for Clinton but a maximalist position that even the state delegation conceded was inappropriate.

    By Anonymous zoot, At 01 June, 2008 20:20  

  • To those arguing that the primary was inherently flawed: if so, it had a great deal to do with the indefensible decision by the DNC to strip Michigan and Florida of all their delegates.

    Perhaps. But the cause doesn't affect the conclusion that the results are inherently flawed and cannot be considered anywhere near a valid representation of the will of the voters. The Clinton campaign's insistence on counting zero votes for just about everyone except herself undermines her claim that the numbers represent the will of the people.

    It's not defensible to allocate delegates on the basis of a vote which is nowhere close to a representation of the voters' collective desires, regardless of the reason that came about.

    Barack Obama (along with other candidates) withdrew his name from the ballot as a political stunt, when no one was forcing him to.

    Clinton's stated reason for staying on the Michigan ballot wasn't to stand in solidarity with Michigan voters; it was to smooth things over for November when she assumed she'd be the nominee. The Clinton campaign was all for sanctions until they were against them. See the Slate article "Fair-Weather Wolverine."
    http://www.slate.com/id/2188985/

    By Blogger dsimon, At 01 June, 2008 22:40  

  • zoot: I treat the Michigan primary as a real primary because it was the closest thing to one that there was. The RBC was wrong to overturn it for some half-baked combination of exit polls and preference polls, which are NOT VOTES of ANY kind. When given a choice between a less-than-perfect outcome and breaking the rules to suit some committee's conception of fairness, I'll go for the former every time.

    Of course my statement about Obama's withdrawal is my opinion. Anytime you express a view that can't be supported by factual citation, you are expressing an opinion. Let me go into more depth for you: Obama knew he was going to lose in the state, and so decided to cash in his chips for maximum political advantage at the time. It was a smart decision given the circumstances, but that doesn't mean he should get 59 delegates from it later.

    You are, however, apparently of the belief that calling my opinion an opinion is a way to dismiss it. Hardly. It is both reasonable and shared, and therefore not so easily dismissed. Sources from CNN and Talk Left that share my opinion are below:

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/09/michigan.primary/index.html
    http://www.talkleft.com/story/2008/3/9/211753/2995

    As for Clinton, had you read what I said, you would have noticed my comment that she was clearly positioning herself for best advantage later on. I make no moral claim on her behalf, nor am I trying to "infuse morality" into anything here; both she and Obama did what they did for political reasons. Further, I think you're right that most of the Clinton camp's posturing is based on their not getting what they wanted.

    But their motives are not relevant to the point at issue. The fact is, Clinton is right to argue that Obama shouldn't get any delegates out of Michigan, because the Michigan Delegate Selection Plan makes it clear that he shouldn't have. These rules, which were agreed on before this whole mess even started, were regarded as fair by everyone. They were then changed in midplay to Obama's advantage, in part to make up for a dunderheaded decision by the DNC. You seem to regard this as fair. It is not, any more than the common sports practice of calling a bad penalty on one team to make up for a bad penalty on the other.

    dsimon: Again, I point to Florida 2000, where a case can be made that the final results weren't representative of the will of the voters either. Yet those results were counted, as they should have been--because that was the system. Rule systems of all types (political, judicial, etc.) are designed for a purpose. Sometimes they will fail. That is no excuse for changing the rules while the contest is still going on. You seem to disagree. Fine. Try arbitrarily changing the rules of chess the next time you play, in midgame, and see whether your opponent agrees with you.

    As for saying my position is indefensible, you're on very shaky ground. I have an actual vote count, however flawed, supporting my position; you have preference polls, the political equivalent of sunshine and moonbeams. What is truly indefensible is the position you seem to support--that it is okay to allocate delegates on the basis of conjecture about how things might have gone under other circumstances. Look to the log in thine own eye, and so forth.

    Also, I specifically stated in my post that Clinton left her name on the ballot so she could get in good with Michigan. (Though I said it was to get votes at the convention, while your November speculation is actually more reasonable.) The point is, I said nothing about her making any show of solidarity. Yet you seem to think that by decrying Clinton's motives, you've scored a point off me by saying, "Well, she ain't better than Obama." You haven't. This is an issue of rules, not motives.

    If anyone else is thinking of taking issue with my comments, let me make one thing clear--because these last two criticisms seem to contain the unspoken assumption that only balls-to-the-wall Clinton supporters would take up her case. I am not a Hillary Clinton supporter. I did not vote for her in my state primary--indeed, I couldn't have, since I'm not a registered Democrat. Nor would I vote for her in November. In fact, I have an intense dislike for her as a person. None of that changes the fact that under the rules, she is right and the RBC is wrong. I can put aside my feelings for that; you should too.

    By Anonymous Mr. Rational, At 02 June, 2008 03:17  

  • dsimon: Again, I point to Florida 2000, where a case can be made that the final results weren't representative of the will of the voters either.

    Sure one can make the case. The will of the people was that it was very, very close. The FL vote in 2000 reflected that. There is disagreement over how the votes were actually counted (do 10 recounts of millions of votes and you'll get 10 different results), but the process yielded a fair reflection of the populace; the problem in FL was that all the electoral votes turned on a miniscule number of contested votes, not that the votes overall didn't generally reflect the will of the electorate.

    But I don't see how "counting" Michigan as over 300,000 votes for Clinton and zero for all other major candidates can be considered anywhere near reflective of the will of the Michigan electorate. Really, no one gets votes attributed to them except Clinton? I'm generally reluctant to say that something can't be taken seriously, but, really?

    And if the outcome isn't enough to invalidate the results, the circumstances should be. Everyone was told the election wasn't going to matter. Many eligible voters crossed over to the Republican primary because they were told the Democratic primary wasn't going to matter. Voting "uncommitted" is not an adequate substitute for voting for one's preferred candidate because it does not attribute that vote for the candidate, which almost certainly affected turnout for the various candidates.

    If we can't say the election was fairly contested--not perfectly contested, but fairly contested--then I don't see how one can just assert that just because people voted, therefore the vote count should stand. (Florida has a better argument because everyone's name was on the ballot, and there was no concurrent open primary. The results were flawed, but perhaps not seriously enough to disregard the result. No election is perfect.)

    I have an actual vote count, however flawed, supporting my position

    Your position seems to be that if votes were cast, they should be recognized regardless of the circumstances. In that case, the Soviet Union was a fine, healthy, democratic system. And leaders in North Korea have vote counts supporting their position. That's why vote counts are not enough. When a voting process is sufficiently flawed, we do more justice to democratic principles by stating it was invalid than by recognizing the results.

    And this argument is not based on favoring one candidate or another. It's based on process. The DNC was faced with an election result that could not be upheld as valid because of the tremendously flawed process. They had to do something. Perhaps the best thing they could have done was throw it all out, but they didn't want to have a convention of 49 states. They could have split the delegation 50-50 so that Michigan would be represented at the convention but would have no effect on the outcome. Instead, they gave more delegates to Clinton, which was arguably more to her benefit than the situation deserved.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 02 June, 2008 10:37  

  • You guy, how often must I write: "Don't feed the trolls!!"

    "Anonymous" writers without enough balls to leave an identity and a return email address are not worth responding to. They are not serious. Ignore them.

    By Blogger Mark, At 03 June, 2008 08:01  

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