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Michigan and Florida: What Happened; Who's Responsible?

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There seem to be two arguments for seating the Michigan and Florida delegations in the Dem convention: CLINTON: We stole it fair and square, or MI/FLA DEM POLITICIANS: you better, or our people will vote for Nader or just go fishing. With all the spin, fog, and bull around this, we need to return to some clear facts.

1) The Democratic National Committee outlawed both primaries (and for good reason). They had every right to do so.

2)The Michigan and Florida Democratic Committees were bound to respect the judgments of the National committee. They did not.

3)All candidates knew the primary results would be void before the election. Clinton stayed in anyway. (Hmm. What did she expect to do with her outlawed wins?)

4)The primaries were no real test of voter preferences, because some candidates were not on the ballot, and so large constituencies of those candidates stayed away.

Now Clinton is shocked, shocked! that the good voters of Michigan and Florida will not have their say – because the results of these half-crippled elections just happened to favor her. (Hillary's got a paid listing on Google proclaiming "Count Michigan and Florida.") The state Democratic committees are indignant! that their illegal primaries are not being declared legal after the fact. So now there are proposals to remedy this truly unforseen and unacceptable situation. They include:

1) Seat the delegations as chosen by the illegal elections, or,

2) Divide up the delegations however somebody [?] sees fit, as in Michigan's proposed 69 for Clinton, 59 for Obama. (The impeccable statistical procedure for determining this ratio was evidently to stick a wet finger up into the wind . Which finger, you may imagine for yourself.) or,

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3) Hold new primaries, funded by the Democrats. Oh, right; but which Democrats? Hillary's close to broke, except for eleven million dollars of her own loose change, Obama's thousands of under-$200 contributors would take a dim view indeed, and the Republicans would just chortle at the prospect of draining the Democratic National Committee's war chest (one estimate: $4 million for Florida alone) or,

4) Choose delegates through caucuses. Both state parties have said they're unwilling to do this. Oh.

So welcome back to square one. Whatever solution you may favor, don't make the mistake of thinking that the good Democrats of Florida and Michigan were "disenfranchised" by a set of regrettable but unforeseeable circumstances. Their elections were screwed up by Republican-dominated legislatures who set primary dates in order to beat out other states and by Democratic state committees who went along with them. Everybody knew the consequences but now everybody's insisting on nullifying them, not for fair play but for political advantage.

And whatever you do, don't make the DNC take the rap, as some seem determined to do. This egregious situation did not come about because of arbitrary and unjustifiable decrees. The DNC had every reason to prohibit promiscuous early primaries and every right to enforce their ruling. Don't forget that strategists for the regressive party are delighted with anything that weakens the power, credibility, and coffers of the DNC - the central organizing force of their progressive opponents.

(For good background on this, check out the Wikipedia articles, "Florida Democratic Primary, 2008," and "Michigan Democratic Primary, 2008.")

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jimstinson.com

A career writer and media maven, Jim Stinson is the author of four mystery novels and a college textbook, Video: Digital Communication and Production. His newest novel, Tassy Morgan's Bluff, will be out from Penguin Books in June 2011. He lives with (more...)
 

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I live in Michigan.  I had no say in this dec... by beccy on Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 7:59:56 PM
If this is true stop claiming Bush “stole&rd... by Gallaher on Monday, May 12, 2008 at 12:14:01 AM
I didn't say Florida and Michigan don't co... by Jim Stinson on Monday, May 12, 2008 at 2:15:44 PM
In the Florida primary, voters were given a ballot... by Darryl on Monday, May 12, 2008 at 9:01:33 PM