Thursday, May 29, 2008

May 31

Unless you have been hiding in a cave, or just plain ignoring the political season as much as possible (not really a bad idea), you know that this Saturday the DNC Rules Committee is meeting to discuss Florida and Michigan. Almost a year ago, the Committee ruled that any state that moved their primary elections before February 5, other than the four chosen early primary states, would lose all their delegates. The Florida and Michigan state legislatures didn't think they were serious and decided to start a game of political chicken. The head of the Florida state party went so far as to threaten the DNC with law suits and protests if they enforced these rules.

The state legislatures wound up moving the primaries forward, Florida's legislature voted 118 to 0 on the bill and Michigan, at the behest of Carl Levin, voted to move theirs up in a 67 to 34 vote (at least here 1/3 of the Dems voted against it). In order to prevent a complete collapse of the primary schedule, with the risk of some states holding primaries as early as November or December of 2007, the rules committee gave them an ultimatum to move their primaries back or lose all their delegates.

As late as March 6, Sen. Clinton opposed re-votes in both states, with a blanket opposition to any Florida re-vote, "I don't think that there should be any do-over or any kind of a second run in Florida." It wasn't until she was significantly behind in pledged delegate count in mid-March that she began calling for re-votes in both states.

The first proposals by Florida were mail in primaries similar to what is held in Oregon. However, according to Florida state law, mail in elections are illegal for nominations like this. Another thorn in the re-vote plan was that the Floridian representatives to Congress were against the plan. By the time Clinton supported a Michigan re-vote, it was nearly too late to set one up, and her plan was to disenfranchise anyone that voted in the Republican primary, a restriction made impossible by the fact that voter rolls aren't taken at the primaries and such a system would then be completely an honor system. Due to this, the respective legislatures were unable to pass new plans.

That brings us forward to May 31. At the committee meeting, Clinton wants all 368 delegates seated. This would add about 192 delegates to her total, and, depending on how the Michigan uncommitted delegates are divided, 70 to 132 delegates to Obama's total (with a few also going to Edwards in Florida). At best, this would give her 122 delegates to cut into her 199 delegate deficit. More likely it would get her 60 delegates. This would bring the current delegate counts to 1974 for Clinton and 2051 or 2113 for Obama. The new goal line would be about 2210. With only 280 delegates remaining available, Clinton would still need 85% of them. Obama would only need 56 - 35%.

Personally, I don't think they should be seated fully. At the very least, all of the super delegates from these states need to have their delegate status removed. These are the ones like Carl Levin and the Florida state chairwoman who said the DNC "wouldn't dare" remove their delegates. These short-sighted representatives caused this mess in the first place and they should not be rewarded for this attempted party-cide by being given exactly what they wanted. Further, I don't think the full pledged delegation should be seated. At most, half should be seated; it wasn't the voters' fault (beyond choosing bad representatives) so removing all state delegates may have been too hasty a decision. Also, the 40% uncommitted should be given to Obama (according to exit polls, most of the uncommitted voters were Obama supporters).

Any way you slice it though, Clinton has no mathematical path to victory. It is long past time for this divisive figure to stop praising the Republican candidate at the detriment of the eventual Democratic nominee. It is time for her to unify the party, not compare it to Mugabe, those against civil rights, or anti-suffragists. It is time for her to set aside her self-importance and join the fight against those who would roll back Roe v. Wade; those who are against the Lilly Ledbetter Act; those who support torture; those who would kill off Social Security; those who would continue the quagmire in Iraq.

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