Monday, March 17, 2008

No do-over in Florida

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It looks like there won't be a do-over Democratic contest, in Florida, mail-in or otherwise. "We researched every potential alternative process -- from caucuses to county conventions to mail-in elections -- but no plan could come anywhere close to being viable in Florida," said state party chairwoman Karen Thurman. The state's congressional delegation had already come out against the do-over plan.

So what now?

It is unrealistic to think that Florida's delegates won't be seated at the convention. They will. A way will be found -- and there are other options, as we discussed last week. For example, the results of the "illegitimate" primary could count. Whatever the rules -- and the rules are such that Florida was stripped of its delegates, making the primary essentially a non-contest -- a deal could be struck whereby delegates are allocated based on that vote, a Clinton win, perhaps a deal struck in conjunction with a similar sort of deal in Michigan. Or, the delegates could be allocated based on that vote, but each delegate would receive only half a vote at the convention, an option that would halve Clinton's margin of victory.

Well, those are the options. A third option would simply be for nothing to happen, for the rules to be adhered to, for Florida to remain stripped of its delegates. Florida (and Floridians) would be upset, but, well, that's politics for you.

Thurman, needless to say, opposes this third option: "This doesnt mean that Democrats are giving up on Florida voters. It means that a solution will have to come from the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee, which is scheduled to meet again in April." Like I said, a way will be found.

Needless to say, this is good news for Obama and bad news for Clinton (see my previous post, linked above, for more). Even if the results of the illegitimate primary are allowed to count, with allocated delegates receiving full votes at the convention, Obama will have avoided a potentially damaging loss in a do-over. Ben Smith: "This is a real setback for Hillary, who could have gotten both delegates, momentum, and -- crucially -- a stronger chance to claim a popular vote lead out of the revote."

So what now?

Well... a compromise deal in Florida, a compromise deal in Michigan -- if, that is, the state parties can get their bureaucratic and cost-sensitive acts together, and if, that is, the Obama and Clinton campaigns can reach some sort of quid pro quo.

Again, stay tuned.

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  • Senator Clinton has brought up the Mich/Fla voters at every single opportunity, including the night she actually did win Ohio with huge help from her friends (like the governor & other party leaders).

    I've been so worried she's going to talk someone into changing the rules in the middle of the game, and I'm very relieved Fla has decided not to revote. I could just imagine the disarray in the Dem. party (and glee of the Rep.)while Floridians are down there trying to count suspicious-looking mail-in votes with images of the country's memories of hanging chads hanging over their heads.

    I'm very sorry that Fla has this problem, but I don't think it's fair to call Senator Clinton a "winner", when we've heard people calling in to c-span many times saying they didn't vote because they were told the votes wouldn't count. It's not a fair contest if everyone isn't playing by the same rules or don't find out the rules until later!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:07 AM  

  • Good points, Anonymous. Needless to say, I agree with you. For more on Clinton's efforts to change the rules, see here:

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 1:36 AM  

  • I think its absolutely wonderful that Chairman Deane of the People's Democratic Party should start the great purges to come with the states of Florida and Michigan.
    What better way to ensure a progressive, neo-stalinist victory in November than by pissing off every Democrat in both states.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:35 AM  

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