Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Better keep a block of hotel rooms open for Florida

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com

We've been watching with amusement the game of chicken the DNC is playing with Florida over its early primary. Florida's early primary violates the DNC's rules, so the DNC has responded by saying Florida will not get any delegates, going so far as to not assign a hotel for the Florida delegation. In fact, to find out how many delegates Florida is supposed to get, I had to go to the Florida Democratic Party web site, which shows that Florida will get 210 delegates. (The DNCC site shows 0 delegates for Florida).

But in reality, the DNC is trying to support an illusion that is about to be burst. Here's Nancy Pelosi, who will be the Permanent Chair of the convention:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has let the cat out of the bag and said what everyone has known all along: The Democratic National Committee's removal of all of Florida's 2008 convention delegates for violating party rules about scheduling state primaries before Feb. 5 is meaningless.

Speaking with a covey of political reporters at a lunch in Washington today, Pelosi was asked what she thought of the delegate termination. "That will be determined by the presidential nominee," said Pelosi, who will serve as honorary chair of the convention next August in Denver. "The Democratic National Committee is the ruling authority now," she said, "but the tradition is that the presidential candidate will decide."



Corinne said...

I confess your logic lost me: Just how exactly is the DNC "trying to support an illusion" when in fact the delegate selection rules spell out the penalties for jumping the primary queue?

The DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee voted nearly unanimously that Florida's plan was non-compliant with party rules, and gave the state 30 days to fix it or lose 100 percent of its delegates.

What will happen at the national convention is the situation then moves under the purview of the convention credentials committee, which would then have to make a determination as to how they would interpret whatever activities would have occurred in Florida.

Will Florida have a delegation at the convention? Most likely. But that determination won't happen on January 29 but only when who is the nominee is clear, and only then will the delegates from Florida be reinstated through the credentials committee.

Nor was the DNC's removal of Florida's delegates "meaningless." It was done to enforce the rules and in an attempt to discourage other states from doing the same thing. Had the DNC not acted in Florida's case, then the rules would have been meaningless.

Matt said...

What you say is almost all true, but the chances that Florida will have its delegates restored is 100%, not "most likely", since the bad PR involved in denying the delegates wold cost the Democrats any chance at taking Florida in November. So since Florida WILL have delegates at the convention, the fact that they don't have delegates now is the illusion I refer to. What will be really interesting is whether the news media counts the delegates in their tallies. If they do, then Florida's delegates will matter when the race is still undecided, which is what Florida wanted.

Corinne said...

I say "most likely" because here in DC little is ever declared "guaranteed."

As for when Florida's delegates will be counted, I don't think they'll be included in the tally for determining the nominee because their primary is still January 29. Had Florida also agreed to a caucus on Feb. 5, I think they would have been added to the delegate count. But as I understand the process, the nominee will be determined without them.

The media might include them but the official party probably won't.

Dan Slater said...

Look, here's the reality, and it isn't 100%, Matt. IF we have a presumptive nominee by August, AND IF it isn't so close that Florida's votes would make that presumption change, then Florida's delegation (and Michigan's) will be seated.

HOWEVER, if the nomination is still in doubt (or even if it is marginally in doubt, as it was in '84, where the Super Delegates made the difference for Mondale), you can bet there will be a credentials fight over Florida and Michigan, and it is quite UNlikely they would be seated.

Matt said...


I agree with your points, but the fact is that there hasn't been a really close convention since the GOP in 1976. (although Kennedy did try to change the rules in '80, and as you say, '84 was somewhat close). I think the odds of a close convention in '08 are so low as to be not worth discussing at this point. (Although maybe we'll get lucky and the GOP will have a 4-way brawl going into St. Paul). I was thinking the other day that the GOP plan of just allowing half the delegates might have been a better way to go, as there are probably no additional delegates even being elected. But then the states are still getting the GOP campaigns, which the DNC has effectively denied to Michigan and Florida. If the race is not decided quickly, it will be interesting to see if the media assigns the Michigan and Florida delegates.

suzyq said...

So it really is just one big game -- and the Clintons know all the rules! If Clinton is the nominee, it might be the year when a 3rd party candidate will just ruin it for the Democrats. I hope the DNC is paying close attention.

Dee from Florida said...

In Florida, the Republican-controlled government passed the bill to change the date. The Democrats tried to pass two amendments to make the primary date Super Tuesday so that they could conform but the Republicans, the majority, rejected both of those amendments. The bill was actually passed to allow a paper trail on touch-screen voting machines. At no time, did an actual voter have anything to say about when the primary was held although a record 1.7 million Democrats did come out to vote on primary day because we have cable TV, the Internet and magazines and newspapers to form our own opinion. It was actually nice not having political mob scenes with visting candidates. It also made us form our opinion based upon the facts and not group hugfests. Secondly, the DNC penalty stated that any state that changed their date would lose 50% of their delegates just like the Republican National Committee rules. But the DNC changed the penalty to 100% AFTER Florida and Michigan changed their dates and no response has been received as to why they changed their own rules after the fact. As for Michigan, Sen. Clinton chose to have her name remain on the ballot as did some other Democrats but Senators Edwards, Obama and Gov. Richardson pulled their names at their own choice. However, in Florida, all of the Democratic candidates were listed on the ballot no voters could still vote for whoever they wanted. Florida will not accept a caucus because caucuses promote only a very small turnout of voters and don't always represent the entire state population.

Hopefull American born here said...

Howard Dean how dare you cut off Florida and Michigan from having their voted counted. It is not the Americans people's fault. They should pay for what others have done. Put the blame where it goes the individual handling the primary should pay the price for causing many Americans to lose their rights and haver their vote taken into consideration for the next President.They did it knowing full well if the held the primay early what the consequences.