Friday, March 14, 2008

How is that fair or democratic?

Markos Moulitasas (kos of the Daily Kos) has been pushing that the Democrats divide the delegates from Florida and Michigan 50/50 (half for Senator Clinton and half for Senator Obama) to solve the problem of not seating the delegates from the two states at the Democratic Convention later this year. You see the Democratic primaries in those two states were held early, against the rules of the Democratic National Committee. The same thing happened on the Republican side. The GOP decided that the punishment will be that the delegate count from each state will be halved. In other words there was a punishment for not following the rules of the party but the votes would count and the Republicans in those states would get a say in who was the nominee from their party for president of the United States.

What did the DNC decide? Well those brilliant Democrats decided to punish those states by not counting them. The major candidates went along. Senator Obama did not even end up on the ballot in Michigan because of this. He was on the Florida ballot. Senator Clinton was on both. She ended up winning both primaries (they were still held). The DNC was betting the nominee would have been secured by now, so it wouldn't matter. Boy were they wrong. Instead we have a situation in which Obama has a slight lead over Clinton in pledged delegates (those won through caucuses and primaries). Neither one may get enough pledged delegates to win the nomination. In that case, superdelegates will decide. These superdelegates are party officials, party elders, and those Democrats who were elected to high governmental offices. That doesn't exactly come across as being well very democratic, especially when the voters in MI and FL will not get a say. It will be a brokered election where back room deals come into play. While that made for fun viewing on West Wing, it will likely not play well in the real world.

This brings us back to Kos. You see he is for Obama. Clinton needs the delegates from MI and FL in order to have a shot at winning (on top of big wins in PA and Puerto Rico). A revote along with the votes in PA and Puerto Rico may mean she will have more "popular votes" than Obama by the time of the convention while Obama will have a slight lead in delegates. This would be shades of the 2000 presidential convention. Gore won the "popular vote" while Bush ended up getting enough electors. Him getting enough electors of course being decided by the Supreme Court. For the Democrats it will be the Superdelegates playing the role of the Supreme Court. Obama camp would be in the uncomfortable position of advocating for a similar scenario that put Bush into office for him to be the nominee. They obviously do not want this but at the same time they don't want to offend the voters in Michigan and Florida, key swing states in the general election. Plus if they don't count and Clinton can convince enough superdelegates that she would have won if Michigan and Florida counted, she can win the nomination. By playing that angle, Clinton comes across as supporting the will of all the people. Obama would come across as attempting to suppress voters.

The solution some are offering and Kos is pushing? Split it 50/50. The states get a "say" and Obama gets his pledged delegates. All is fine in the world. Of course all is not fine since there is a good chance Clinton could win both primaries. In other words the voters would not get a say. It would be sham and the nominee will be selected by the superdelegates, some of whom were part of the decision to strip the two states of their delegates to the convention. Of course this is a party that allows people to vote twice in Texas (they hold a primary and then a caucus, you have to vote in the former to participate in the latter needless to say certain demographics get underrepresented in the latter since they don't have the time). I am no fan of Clinton. Not voting for her in the general nor would I vote for Obama (the electoral college means my vote doesn't count so I say if that is the case I am going to stick to my principles). The Kos method is all about winning over substance, over democracy. This is personally what I think is wrong about American politics. It is all about winning the next election rather than you know actual leading through a democratic process. Not to mention it treats the people of MI and FL like they are idiots, it is patronizing them. Do we really need more of that in American politics?

Obama favors the 50/50 split. Clinton camp not so much. No real surprise. And yes, if positions were reversed, I think Clinton would be pushing a 50/50 split. Principles, what are those?


kcsphil said...

I have to say, I think neither state should be seated at the August Convention. The Democrats were trying to control the process, and both states said thanks but no thanks - we'll do it our own way. The fact that florida has a Republican Governor has nothing to do with that, I'm sure. Ok, fine, but if you won't play by club rules, you get to stand outside the clubhouse. And I say all this as a life long Democrat.

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