Sunday, January 13, 2008

Will Michigan matter?

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

We've been making fun of the Michigan delegation's lack of hotel rooms at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, but with the Michigan primary two days away, it's time to get serious. Michigan was stripped of all its delegates (both elected and superdelegates) because they violated the DNC's rules on frontloading of primaries. The DNC had good intentions - trying to bring some order to the mad rush to move each state's primary earlier and earlier in order to have an effect on the nomination - and they used the only power they had - stripping of delegates.

So where does that leave us? With a primary on Tuesday with technically no delegates at stake, and even stranger, only Hillary Clinton in the ballot. How did this happen?:

It started within the Obama camp, and they would only pull themselves off of the Michigan ballot if Edwards also agreed to pull his name from the ballot. They also got some other candidates to go along with the move. Let me be clear, for those candidates, it wasn't a request by Obama's team, but a ultimatum-- 'we will only pull out if you will too.'

I don't know the strategy behind what the Obama team thought they would achieve by pulling out of Michigan. My guess is that they thought they could bully Clinton into also withdrawing.
So Clinton is on the ballot, and Obama and Edwards are not. So Clinton's a lock to win, right? Not necessarily. Uncommitted delegates are about to have their biggest day in the Democratic sun since Jimmy Carter placed second to Uncommitted in the 1976 Iowa caucuses:
Top Michigan Democrats made another plea Wednesday to coax supporters of presidential candidates Barack Obama and John Edwards to vote "uncommitted" in Tuesday's Michigan primary, rather than staying home or crossing over to vote in the Republican contest.
U.S. Sen. Carl Levin and state Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer said Michigan Dems can still have an indirect say in the nominating process if they check the "uncommitted" box on the ballot. State law prohibits write-ins for candidates who have not authorized write-in campaigns; Obama, Edwards and Richardson have not.

If "uncommitted" draws at least 15 percent of the vote in a congressional district, delegates not bound to any candidate could be sent to the national convention, possibly enabling Obama and Edwards supporters to play a role in the nomination.
And of course, we have a poll: Hillary Clinton with 48%, "Uncommitted" with 28%.

So Clinton is likely going to win most of the delegates. But will it have any effect? We asked in December, Will the Media Count Florida and Michigan? And the answer is pretty clear now, and it's NO. No major media delegate counting site I've seen is counting the Michigan delegates or including them in their overall numbers. Not CNN, not CBS, and not the AP. So while Clinton may win the lion's share of delegates, and while these delegates may even eventually be seated at the convention, they will not help her to achieve a bigger delegate majority than she already has. And that is a victory for the Obama team.


John said...

dont worry keep it workhard..
we can make it change...
change for a new life and anew world for ameican...

Scott said...

I think it's an exaggeration to say that stripping our state of its delegates is the only power the DNC had. The could have reduced our delegates, as the RNC did, or retaliated directly against the legislators that voted to move the primary date, for example by refusing to provide any funding to their campaigns, trying to unseat them the next time they are up for election, or even ejecting them from the party.

Instead, the DNC decided to take it out on Michigan's voters, and as a result our state has been completely disenfranchised from the primary process. I'm shocked and infuriated by this. I've put up a Web site with information on the situation for Michigan voters, and also some ideas for contacting the candidates, party leaders, and your state legislators, at

Matt said...

Fair enough. They could have gone 50% like the RNC did. And what's interesting about that is that the RNC decision won't be overturned at the convention, since the the other 50% of the delegates will never be elected. On the other hand, it's not affecting the fact that Michigan and Florida got what they wanted - more influence on the nomination. The DNC penalty has proved much more effective.