What Howard Dean, the Democratic party and most of all Barack Obama was hoping wouldn't be the case is going to be the case. It cant be avoided any longer. There are 3 million 800 pound gorillas in the room and they are the voters of Florida and Michigan.
Like it or not,its all going to come down to Florida and Michigan. Howard Dean, uncscrupulously is still hoping the super delegates will bail him out. But if super delegates hand Obama a nomination he would have lost if Florida and Michigan were counted not only will it hand McCain a landslide victory in November it will divide the democratic party so badly ( one of the only things Obama has actually demonstrated he knows how to do) it will take years for the Democrats to come together as a party again just as it did in 1968. And Obama will end up persona non grata in the democratic party probably for life as the central cause of the divide.
This is the nightmare scenario the Democrats are looking at by not counting Florida and Michigan. A guaranteed landslide loss to McCain, losing congress and losing all influence in the affairs of the nation. And over what? a scheduling conflict that amounted to nothing more than a parking violation?
Howard Dean made a mistake and he knows it. He threatened to punish both states if they moved their primaries up, but who in the end is being punished? There were other things he could have done. He could have threatened to fine the parties in both states. Or suspend their leadership. Maybe even ban them from the convention. But does it make a shred of sense to punish 3 million people, 14 million Clinton voters and the entire democratic process for something the voters had absolutely nothing to do with?
Does the Democratic party really want to punish 3 million voters in Florida and Michigan and 14 million Clinton voters for what the Republican Florida governor and legislature decided? After what happened in the 2000 Presidential election, Is this how the Democratic party wants to choose their nominee for President? Many people have been waiting for Al Gore to weigh in. I have no idea what he is thinking but if I had to guess it would be that he of all people would never stomach the Democrats sending out a nominee who is there only because votes weren't counted in Florida.
And what of Michigan? Remember why Michigan wanted to move up their primary? The state was (and is) going through tremendous economic distress, more than many other states. The party wanted to move the primary up for one reason -- to get the national spotlight on Michigan and their problems at a time when they felt it would matter to the candidates and the country.
They were concerned that the nomination would be decided by the time Michigan's turn came and that the problems of the people of Michigan wouldn't get the attention it deserved, the same problems that Michael Moore threw under the proverbial bus in his letter to Pa voters, almost gleefully telling Pa voters that his Michigan vote isn't going to count because Michigan isnt going to count and to vote for Obama. The old Michael Moore would have been fighting like a man possessed to get the voters and voices of his beloved Michigan to count. He would have been incensed and would be railing at the injustice of silencing them, disenfranchising people who needed to be heard, and would have been outraged that inside party politics would take away the voices of people in need. He would have been offended at Obama and Howard Dean telling them their voices wont be counted over something as trivial as a scheduling conflict. But that would have been the old Michael Moore. The new one has been lying face down in the Kool Aid punch bowl with his cap floating on the surface for a long time now along with other members of the mainstream media.
Negating Florida and Michigan over a parking violation would be the equivalent of giving a life sentence for stealing a loaf of bread and then locking up the guy's family too..It is punishing 3 million innocent people for a decision in which they had no say and in which they did not participate. In the case of Michigan, there were noble motives for wanting to do it.
There were and are better ways to handle it and Ive mentioned them before. Fine the party. Fine the party leaders. Ban the leaders from the convention. Let Dean stand up and say he made a mistake, a horrible mistake, let him say why ( I'll volunteer to write it for him) and then do the right thing and resign.
The reason we have higher courts is to overturn wrong and unjust decisions made by lower courts judges. In this case we have many higher courts not the least of which is the court of public opinion and at least half the Democratic party and all of Florida and Michigan which will turn their back on the Democratic party if Florida and Michigan are not counted.And any Obama nomination that is obtained by not counting Florida and Michigan will be, not just in perception but in reality, a farce.
There are also two other courts. The Democratic Rules Committee and super delegates.Super delegates know how to add. And if they cant Im sure they have aides who can. And there is only one question to decide. After what happened in 2000 is the Democratic party really going to send out a nominee who is there only because votes werent counted in Florida? And Michigan as well? What of Obama supporters? Are they really content with getting their candidate in through the back door and seeing the nomination handed to him that he didn't win at the ballot box? Are they really Democrats? Members of the same party who went door to door to register African American voters in the 60's?
There are five primaries left. Super delegates need to wait till the last primary is over and then factor in the popular vote and delegate count including Florida and Michigan regardless of what the Democratic party as decided up to that point. Voters should start insisting that, until this is resolved, media outlets include the Florida and Michigan totals along with the non Florida and Michigan totals so we see where things really stand. You can't count on the news media who has treated Clinton like she was the black candidate and they were an all white jury in Mississippi in 1952, ( so much for Reverend Wright and how Clinton never had a cab pass her by -- as good a reason as any not to vote for her) but that shouldn't stop people from writing,calling or emailing media outlets insisting the Florida and Michigan totals be there side by side.If you're not sure how to do it and you know a Republican, ask them. They know how.
With regards to Michigan, since we know taking his name off the ballot was just a ploy ( see the article in the Iowa Independent) and everyone who voted knew Obama and Edwards were represented by the "uncommitted:" line which drew 39% of the vote, lets be generous to Obama and give him 30% of the uncommitted line. That is incredibly generous since Edwards had been consistently getting 14-15% of the vote and more and its inconceivable that a populist like Edwards would have gotten only 9% of the vote in Michigan. But lets bend over backwards and have the Obama campaign agree to 30% of the popular vote and 30% of the delegates.
With five primaries left, counting Florida and Michigan, Clinton is behind by approximately 80 delegates. That can be overtaken or closed to a statistically insignificant number which would then require the super delegates to vote based on other factors and what they feel is best for the party's chances in the fall since the result of the primaries will be that close.Or they can vote for the delegate and popular vote leader regardless of how small the lead. Its up to them. But either way everyone would feel honest about it and the air would be cleared.
Whatever the outcome, the delegate and popular vote lead has to be decided at the ballot box. Obama cant be sent out as the nominee based on a delegate and popular vote lead he didn't win and didn't earn, only because Howard Dean made a mistake in judgement. The will of the people has to be the will of the people, not the will of a biased press, or Obama supporters willing to stifle the voices of 3 million voters in Florida and Michigan, or Obama himself who publicly says "voices must be heard" and "every vote counts" but who seems very willing to keep the voters of Florida and Michigan from being counted simply.to further his own political ambitions., The Democrats cant send out a candidate who is walking around with an asterisk on his back.
It comes down to only one thing for the Democratic party. The nominee wins honestly or not at all. All the votes have to be counted. That Obama is willing for them not to be counted tells as much as about who and what he really is as any speech he has ever given. This the candidate who is trying to tell (and sell ) people that he is a "new" politician "rejecting the divisive politics of the past".If so then let him prove it.Or prove that he's not what he says he is. And super delegates can take that into consideration too.
There cant be any slipping in through the back door. Its up to the higher courts to right the wrong, whether its the Democratic Rules Committee, super delegates, public opinion or Dean himself. We wont hold our breath that Mr.Every Vote Should Count will stand up and demand they be seated on principle. After all, what's principle when your personal ambition is at stake?
Dean and many weak kneed super delegates are probably worrying that if they allow Florida and Michigan to be seated Obama and his crew will start screaming that the party is playing politics and trying to "give" the nomination to Clinton. The answer to that is, who knew that when Obama said he was rejecting the poltics of the past he was talking about elections?
The other thing super delegates and Dean might be worrying about is that Obama himself and other surrogates might scream racism in a crowded convention center. How ironic for the first credible African American candidate for the nomination for President would start screaming racism because people's votes were being counted.
To listen to the surrogates of Obama's campaign ( not to mention Obama himself) it doesn't bother them at the moment that they are trying themselves to be given the nomination by not counting votes. They have no second thoughts about trying to steal the nomination the way Obama tried to steal delegates he didn't win and didn't earn and ignore the will of the people by floating the idea that he be given 50% of the delegates of Florida and Michigan in one of the most brazenly dishonest and self serving moments of the primary season.
There is only one thing the Democrats can do and that is the right thing and that is to count Florida and Michigan.If they dont its going to be 1968 all over again for the Democrats. The November election will be a landside for McCain and the Republicans since Clinton voters as a whole and Florida and Michigan specifically will never support a nominee who is there only because votes weren't counted in Florida and Michigan. Super delegates trying to get Dean off the hook by declaring for Obama and then letting Florida and Michigan be seated as a cosmetic gesture when it doesn't matter wont work either. Everyone would see through that.
If Hillary Clinton should end the primary season with the popular vote and delegate lead including Florida and Michgian, and she doesn't get the nomination, it will ensure a major disaster in the fall elections in both Presidential and congressional elections, and will divide the party in ways, and cost the Democrats elections in the future, that they wont recover from for years to come. There is a lot more riding on seating Florida and Michigan than just this election.
The easiest and quickest solution right now would be the one I stated earlier. Dean should hold a press conference admit he made a terrible mistake, issue a statement that the Democratic party, especially after 2000, stands for every vote being counted, that he is going to recommend to the Rules Committee to let the Florida and Michigan results stand as is, and then resign. And then let the candidates do what they are supposed to. Fight it out at the ballot box in the 5 remaining primaries so the Democrats can go forward with the air cleared, everyone supporting a legitimate nominee and no one feeling like they've been robbed.
Howard, I'd be glad to write it for you. Just drop me a line.
To further support the seating of Florida Michigan visit: COUNTTHEVOTES
For a list of super delegates you can contact to tell them to include Florida and Michigan in their decision visit THE SUPERDELEGATE TRANSPARENCY PROJECT
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