Florida and Michigan will have half of their delegates seated at the convention. Their primaries were bogus anyway. Clinton was the only major candidate to leave her name on the Michigan ballot even though they all had agreed to remove them. In Florida, no one campaigned there and at the time, Obama was not well known. Clinton had huge name recognition. I doubt the numbers would have been so much in her favor had all the candidates been here campaigning. I doubt Obama would have received 0 votes in Michigan had he, like Clinton, hypocritically left his name on the ballot.
People are screaming that the Florida voters are being disenfranchised if they don’t get seated in full in Denver. So many people are spewing opinions but no one discusses the facts. The facts make it hard to permit the Florida and Michigan’s delegates from getting seated.
Michigan’s facts are easy. One candidate followed party rules and the pledge they signed and removed his name from the ballot. The other candidate also signed the pledge but left her name on the ballot and then stated that it didn’t matter that the votes won’t count anyway. Until she needed them.
Florida is a bit more complex.
Here are the facts about Florida:
Back in May, 2007, Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed a bill into law (CS/HB 537) that moved the Florida presidential primary from the second Tuesday in March to the last Tuesday in January. This bill, among other things, calls for a well needed paper ballot for Florida elections. In all previous iterations of this bill, the new date was to be the first Tuesday in February (so-called Super Tuesday). In a ‘compromise’ pushed by the Republican majority, it moved the date a week earlier. This bill passed 118-0 in the Florida House and 37-2 in the Florida Senate. Both houses have about a 2/3 Republican majority but there were only 2 people in both houses that voted against this bill. An amendment by the Democrats to change the date back to Super Tuesday failed. I didn’t hear one person jump and scream that this bill would disenfranchise the Florida voters. You would have thought that our elected representatives would have taken this to the people.
I recall liking this bill because we had always been a non-factor in primaries and now being moved to 1 week before Super Tuesday, we would play an integral role. Then we heard the threats of the Democratic National Committee stripping Florida’s delegates.
The DNC rules state that only 4 states shall have the honor of going before the first Tuesday in February; Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Even though Florida’s primary was scheduled after all 4 of these high-and-mighty states, it wasn’t good enough for the party. Even though it was clear that Florida’s date was set by the majority of the Republicans, well you get the idea.
To go further back, in 2004, Michigan attempted to move their primary earlier. Terry McAuliffe, the DNC head at the time, warned Michigan that if they moved their primaries the DNC would strip them of their delegates. Michigan complied and didn’t move their primary.
For the 2008 primaries, the states reshuffled their primaries in order to compete for relevance. All states were given the same warning as in 2004. Do not go before the 4 states. The earliest the other 46 states could go would be the first Tuesday in February. Florida and Michigan didn’t follow those rules. Rules McAuliffe had previously upheld. (We’ll get back to McAuliffe in a moment.)
Early in August, 2007, the Republican-led Florida Congress denied the request by Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman to move the primary to Super Tuesday. Shortly afterward, in August, the DNC voted to strip the Florida Democratic Party of its 210 national convention delegates.
By September, Florida Democrats realized that no compromise was possible, stated that the January 29th primary was meaningless. Florida rules prevented candidates from removing their names from the ballot as they did in Michigan (except for Hillary Clinton), but they agreed that they would not campaign in Florida.
I contacted the DNC, Howard Dean and the campaigns for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. I warned them of the disenfranchisement that was about to occur. I asked them how they would be able to come to Florida for the general election and ask for our support and our money if they refused to show their support for us in the primary. I didn’t receive one reply. Not a single one. They figured that it would never get this far.
Now, Terry McAuliffe, who can now be found on the Clinton campaign, cries that what happened in Florida and Michigan was not fair to the voters. I agree, but to address these issues now when your campaign refused to do anything about it when it mattered is hypocritical. That is unless, before the primaries, it didn’t matter. Clinton expected to win. It was, of course, her campaign to lose. It matters now, as she received more votes in Florida (where most people had not yet heard of Barack Obama) and Michigan (where Clinton was the only name on the ballot) and the delegate count and vote totals play into her argument that she is the most ‘electable’. Just remember that Obama received 0 votes in Michigan since he played by the DNC rules.
The facts are simple. Florida and Michigan were told the rules. Whether, their fault or not the states broke the rules. The time for compromise and solutions was prior to January 15th (Michigan’s primary date). Now is not the time to address these primaries.
Additionally, the delegate count will not alter the outcome. In every scenario, Obama sill holds a sizeable lead in delegates. To argue about it now only hurts the party and makes it harder to unite everyone afterward. The Clinton campaigns’ insistence to include these states now, when she was no where to be found when it mattered, is hypocritical and self-serving. It does nothing but help McCain and the Republicans as supporters of both Obama and Clinton have said that if their candidate isn’t the nominee, they’d either vote for McCain or stay home on Election Day.
With the decision this past Saturday to seat half the delegates, the Clinton campaign has riled up her campaign even further. We are still 5 months from the General Election. Let us hope it is enough time for the party to heal and all of us to unite behind the nominee. We can not afford 4 more years of McBush.
Our children depend on it.
The Supreme Court depends on it.
Our future depends on it.
Our nation depends on it.