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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Florida and Michigan Disasters

As we all know, Florida and Michigan decided to move up their primaries in defiance of the rules of the Democratic National Committee. Thus, their delegates are currently not being seated at the Convention in August.

In a contest with a clear preference, such as the Republican primary (which McCain has already clinched), this would not matter so much. But since the votes were held anyway, and hundreds of delegates would be awarded to the winner, and about 100 delegates currently separate Obama and Clinton...those delegates are suddenly very important.

It appeared yesterday that Florida was settling on a mail-in re-vote solution. But the Obama camp has said that they are worried about the mechanics, and the Florida Democratic House members have suddenly taken a strong stance against it.

I just don't know what the best solution would be. Clearly the Michigan delegates should not be seated, since not all the candidates were on the ballot there. But in Florida - millions of voters showed a marked preference for Hillary, and all the candidates were on the ballot. In addition, Florida is run by Republics. Since when do Republics get to decide how Democrats vote?

Howard Dean is in a real bind here. As Democrats, the last thing we want to do is disenfranchise anyone. That's the Republic way. But he also wants to show that the states must defer to the national party as to when their primaries are held.

I just feel like the best thing to do is for Dr. Dean to get the candidates together, say "Guess what? It's clear that America wants you both. We've had many caucuses and primaries already, and you've won almost exactly the same number of delegates and votes. Get over yourselves, flip a coin and decide who's on the top of the ticket, then shake hands and be friends." Then, the Michigan/Florida delegates won't be seated, but it won't matter.

It's either that, or a brokered convention. Because no matter how hard the campaigns spin, the math does not allow either candidate to win enough delegates to clinch the nomination. If Hillary loses PA, that would be a big boost for Obama's narrative; however, she currently holds a double-digit lead there, according to Survey USA (the only pollsters who have been correct during this whole crazy season).

Of course, Al Gore did say that if the convention was brokered AND he was drafted, he would serve. But considering that no one voted for him in the primaries, I'm not sure how Democrats would feel about it. His campaign might be tarred with the brush of illegitimacy from the start. (I'd personally be thrilled, since I believe he is by far the best possibility out there, but I can't speak for the tens of millions of other voters out there!)

Hmmmmm....very, very interesting. Only the Democrats could make this slam-dunk year such a nail-biter. As Will Rogers said,

"I am not a member of any organized political party.

I'm a Democrat."

2 comments:

Timmy B said...

I don't think Dean can risk setting a precedent with a do over. He has to maintain national discpline. I agree, to have the Florida gov talking about disenfranchising is a hypocritical joke. I'm wondering if Obama gets close enough, then real pressure from on high gets placed on Clintons super delegates to cross over.

madamab said...

timmy b,

whoever gets close enough will probably get the nomination. I hope the superdelegates will vote the way their constituents voted.

ohhhhhhhmmmmmmmm.....