Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Beat Goes On

The ever increasingly murky road to the Democratic Party's nomination for president took a detour over a big speed bump Saturday. The Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee spent the day trying to work out a reasonable compromise over the problems created by Michigan and Florida.

When those states moved up their primaries, they violated party rules and were stripped of their delegates to the national convention. Those primaries meant nothing. All the candidates were listed in Florida, but none campaigned there. All the candidates had their names taken off the ballot in Michigan except Hillary Clinton. Clinton won 54% of the vote in Michigan. 40% went to uncommitted delegates. In Florida, Clinton won with 50% to Obama's 33%. As Clinton's campaign has run out of options for her to win the nomination, she's become more determined to make the results of those two states mean something. Seating full delegations from the two states based on the results of their primaries would really cut into Obama's delegate lead. And the Democratic Party really can't afford to piss off voters in Michigan and Florida, two important swing states in the upcoming general election. A compromise is needed that is fair to both candidates.

Steven Colbert examines the problem in a segment called "Democralypse Now"...

On Saturday, the Rules and Bylaws Committee held a contentious meeting with much of the action going on behind closed doors. The public portion of the program was bad enough with a lot of carping and complaining after the committee came up with a "cut the baby in half" decision -- a decision to seat the delegations from both states at half strength. The committee voted unanimously to apportion Florida's delegates according to the results of the January 29 primary, then voted 19-8 to give Clinton 34.5 Michigan delegates to Obama's 29.5 based on that 54% Clinton, 40% uncommitted result in that state's primary. That decision was, by far, the more controversial one.

The decisions cut into Obama's delegate lead, but not nearly as much as the Clinton camp had hoped. The added delegates increase the number needed for the nomination to 2118. Obama is now 66 shy of that mark; Clinton still needs 240. Most of the carping over the decisions was done by the Clinton camp. Chants of "Denver, Denver, Denver" signal that this battle over Michigan and Florida will probably go all the way to the convention and a fight before the credentials committee. In fact, Harold Ickes, a top Clinton supporter on the committee was complaining about "hijacked" delegates and added, "Mrs. Clinton has instructed me to reserve her rights to take this to the credentials committee."

It's past the time for Clinton to bow out gracefully. This needs to come to a close soon, preferable immediately after the final primaries next week. She needs to stop trying to undermine Obama, stop trying to persuade superdelegates to overturn the will of the voters, stop this fight over the Michigan and Florida delegations, and start working to unify the party. Not only is this infighting seriously beginning to hurt Obama's prospects in the general election, it's also sucking up all the campaign dollars, hampering the prospects of Democrats running for lesser offices. If she won't end this gracefully, the remaining uncommitted superdelegates need to get off the fence and do it for her before the Democrats lose yet another sure victory.


Carly said...

Hi :)

It looks like there is very little hope that she will win the nomination, but I admire her determination all the same. I am losing patience with the notion that the democratic party will somehow be damaged by her staying in the race. There is NO proof of that. I don't hear it or see it. I see folks saying if they can't have their way they will vote for McCain, but I believe that is so much sour grapes and hot air. You watch, the closer we get to November, the more the tone will change. Bottom lining things, no one wants to endure another 8 years of dictatorship that is the Republicans. When all is said and done, Obama will be elected. Sometimes I think that we need to go to one nationwide primary in an election year. A lot less fuss, a lot whining. Putting myself in the shoes of those living in the two last states voting, I would be glad that I at least got to cast my vote for who I actually wanted, and not just who was on the ticket my default.

fdtate said...

I hope it is just sour grapes, that these people are not going to vote for McCain or stay home because their candidate didn't win. I think there are a lot of hard feelings on both sides of the nomination fight and it's going to take a real good concession speech and a lot of work on Clinton's part to unify the party.

The problem with a national primary is that the candidates start out having to compete in all 50 states. That knocks out anyone who doesn't have the money and name recognition right off the bat.

Carly said...

Hi :)

Thanks for the follow-up. Here is the thing. Among democratic voters that I know personally, and believe me, the list is extensive, I hear no one willing to just jump camp out of loyalty to their person. We pretty much know that it would be cutting one's nose off to spite one's face. I have not seen one single "man on the street" interview where someone has said they would jump ship, I have seen it in the odd poll here and there which I find a bit dubious because folks will say things in polls that they might not say or even mean. Shrug.

McCain will yield even further toward the DARK SIDE, and these cry baby demowhiners will see the light. Ok, as for the National Primary... now I ask you... when have you ever seen a poor candidate win an election? Now, do you know anyone personally who would vote for McCain should their person not win the nomination? I swear this is another manufactured election year fear, generated by poltical powers that be. If you listen, you will see that it is democratic big-wigs trying to end the fight between Clinton and Obama. Politics, more then in nature, is survival of the fittest, or rather financial fittest. Sad, but true.

Have a great week Nice Man ;)

Lisa :-] said...

I'm of two minds about the Hillary thing. On one hand, I think that she is making it obvious that the Democratic party is divided, and I think one thing of which "swing" voters are sick to death is divisiveness.

Would that everyone in the nation was either Democrat or Republican...but there are those who are neither (I, myself, am a registered independent.) And if John McCain demonstrates some kind of unifying vibes during the campaign, folks who may swing either way might swing his way.

On the other hand, Hillary hanging in so long has deprived the Republican Death Star of a single target. The less time they are allowed to focus their energy on one candidate, the better it will be.