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An Open Letter to the DNC and Howard Dean: Opt for Fairness

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Message Nicholas Smith

Governor Dean,


I understand that there is a lot of rancor regarding the Democratic National Committee’s decision to strip Florida and Michigan of its delegates for violating DNC rules. Clearly, lawmakers in both states understood that moving their primaries to a date unauthorized by the DNC would bring about this result.


I fully empathize with their desire to give their respective states a larger role in determining who the nominee is. However, since they are officially affiliated with the DNC, your organization’s rules must be adhered to.


There are growing demands from Senator Clinton’s campaign to seat these delegates, regardless of the rule violation. They argue that not doing so would disenfranchise those voters. Let’s not only look at one side of the coin. Senators Obama and Clinton were well aware of the possibility that these states would lose delegates. They both agreed not to campaign in these states, as a result.


However, it is clear that the Clinton campaign decided long ago to try to seat these delegates and argue that not doing so is unfair. Therefore, she left her name on the ballot in both states.


Seating these delegates at the convention would actually disenfranchise millions of voters who would have voted for Obama, but did not do so because his campaign followed their word and did not campaign in those states.


The only solution is to have a do-over election (which I believe is possible, legally), or to not seat the delegates. Otherwise, you would punish a campaign that actually followed your rules, and reward a candidate who planned from “day one” to break them.


I personally prefer a do-over election, where both candidates' names are on the ballot and both can campaign to the best of their abilities in both states. However, if the delegates are not seated, the state legislators are to blame, not the DNC, as some are trying to do.


Opt for fairness.

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Nicholas Smith is a former Commissioner for the City of Berkeley, CA. He is currently a law student in New York City, and blogs about the day's headlines at www.smithonpolitics.com
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