Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Michigan and Florida Update

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The current situation: Both state delegations remain ineligible to be seated at the national convention. Earlier attempts to broker some kind of "re-do" primary in both states have fallen through, mostly over two main issues: 1. Who would pay for a new election? and 2. Would a state election funded by out-of-state parties even be legal, and how could the results be validated as fair?

In Florida, legislative solutions were dim from the start. Both the Legislature and the Governor's mansion are controlled by Republicans, and they seem more than eager to watch the Democratic mess in their state continue while they sit back and share the popcorn. The Florida House Speaker was pretty emphatic about the issue:
"The state of Florida should not be involved in certifying or mediating intraparty squabbles," said House Speaker Marco Rubio. "The state did what its job is. We held a presidential preferential primary Jan. 29. It was legal, it was accurate, it was fair, it was open."
Further attempts to force the Florida delegation to be seated through the judiciary have also been nixed. Recently a federal appeals court upheld an earlier decision to not get involved.

In Michigan, while Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm had expressed interest in a re-do primary on June 3rd, the Michigan legislature recently adjourned without taking up the issue, making it impossible to implement. Most of the objections revolved around logistical concerns of setting up a new election in such a short period of time, as well as funding when the state is facing a $250 million shortfall it its upcoming FY 2009 budget forecast.

Earlier discussions of holding a caucus to apportion Michigan's delegates seem to be dead as well, or at least not mentioned at all by the governor in her statement after the legislature adjourned without approving the primary:
“I believe Senator Levin, Congresswoman Kilpatrick, National Committeewoman Debbie Dingell and U.A.W. President Ron Gettelfinger identified the fairest way for Michigan voters to have a voice in seating a delegation in Denver. They recommended to the Democratic National Committee (D.N.C.) that Michigan hold a state-run, privately funded primary.

I supported their recommendation, as did the D.N.C., and I am deeply disappointed that it is no longer a possibility. Now that the Legislature has decided not to act, we will turn our attention to other options. There is no road to the White House that does not go through Michigan, so it is essential that Michigan voters have a voice in who will be our party’s nominee and, ultimately, the next president of the United States.”

DNC Chairman Howard Dean has repeatedly stated that any solution would have to come with the agreement of both candidates:
"When you change the rules in the middle of the game, which is what's being proposed here, you've got to do it in a way that both campaigns agree is fair," he said.
Given that a re-do now looks increasingly impossible, the possibility of any negotiated solution also seems unlikely. Several solutions have been proposed by the various candidates, depending on how it favors them:
  • Split the delegations 50/50 between Clinton and Obama. This solution is favored by the Obama camp, since it maintains their current delegate lead. As Clinton believes she would gain ground in these states (and based on the results in Florida is probably correct, Michigan is unknown given that Obama's name wasn't on the ballot), she is against this solution.

  • Seat the delegations based on the existing primary results. Obviously, the Clinton campaign favors this solution as it would greatly benefit her, and the Obama campaign is heavily against it, stating that to do so would render the DNC rules useless.

  • Some other solution as proposed by the state Democratic parties to the DNC Rules Committee (as permitted in the bylaws) that can be approved.
In Michigan, where Obama removed his name from the ballot after the state was stripped of their delegates, Clinton won 80 of 128 potential delegates. "Uncommitted", which Obama supporters encouraged voters to vote for in lieu of Obama's name won 55 delegates, but could support either candidate at the convention.

In Florida, Clinton beat Obama in pledged delegates by 113-71 (with 13 Edwards delegates) of 211 available.

All told, if Michigan and Florida were seated as-is, Clinton would receive a net gain of 122 pledged delegates (with 55 uncommitted and 13 Edwards). Also, each state's superdelegates would come into play, allowing Clinton to push her and Bill's connections through the party to gain more ground.

One other effect of adding both states back into the delegate picture would be to push the total number of delegates back up to 4,415, requiring 2,208 to win the nomination.

So where does this leave everything? Generally in one big royal mess. The do-over option now appears to be DOA in both states. Unless a brokered compromise can be agreed upon between the campaigns and submitted to the DNC in time, there are only a couple more possible options:
  • A solution imposed through the judiciary. This is highly unlikely as Supreme Court decisions in the past have granted wide leeway to the parties to determine on their own how to select their own candidates.

  • The issue continues up until the convention and lands in the hands of the Convention Credentials Committee. The Committee is the final authority in the seating of delegates and can establish its own solution as it sees fit that fall within the Call to Convention and the Rules and Bylaws of the Democratic Party.

  • One of the remaining candidates drops out prior to the convention. In this case, most likely the presumptive nominee will drop their objection to the delegations being seated so the party can unite behind the nominee with all 50 states included.
It's unfortunate that this issue is distracting the party and is being used as a political hot potato between the two candidates' campaigns. (I posted my thoughts on this topic a week ago.) Unless we see a clear nominee prior to the convention, expect this issue to survive and turn up the heat up until August in Denver.


Travis said...

your comment about a court agreeing with a lower court and desmissing the lawsuit in Florida is a bit misleading, the court ruled that the person who brought the suit couldnt because at the time he filed it the primary had yet to take place in Florida and thus his rights werent yet violated. The ruling suggested the suit could proceed if re filed and the person is going to refile it now that the primary had occured and he had voted in it.

2009 Journal Writer said...

Excellent point, thanks for clarifying. Currently no suit is pending, although that could change. Most analysis that I've read, however, indicates that it's still very unlikely the judiciary will want to get involved with this dispute within the party.

buonarotti said...

thank you for all the explanation of that mess.
the amount of mismanagement within the leadership of the party is unbelievable. the superdelegate question unsolved, the michigan-florida-problem unsolved, and no one to hold the candidates (esp. ms. clinton) back from damaging each other. it's a tragedy, and it is working for mccain.

Unknown said...

They should have done like the Republicans did for MI and FL. Just strip them of half of their delegates, but otherwise let them have a normal primary.

Too late for that now however.

hockeypuck said...

Mr. Rubio's comments of --

"The state did what its job is. We held a presidential preferential primary Jan. 29. It was legal, it was accurate, it was fair, it was open."

Accurate? Open? Fair?

I may live in the far north, but the rest of my family lives either in Brevard County or in Lake County, Florida.

Not one of my family members voted in the primary because as they understood it --------- their votes would not have counted.

Given the amount of Floridians speaking out right now, my family is not alone in this thinking.

Floridians know the Clintons very well. But because (like Michigan) Florida was penalized this election, voters never got a chance to meet the other candidates.

Still- Rubio thinks the whole thing was fair?

Uh. I don't think so.

Mr. Rubio speaks for Mr. Rubio.

Subodh said...

Not so fast
One thing is for sure. There cannot be any conventon without the delegates from Florida & Michigan being seated. The fairest way is to give the uncommitted delegates in MI to Obama and let the results in Florida stand as they are because both Obama’s name and Clinton’s name was on the ballot. In fact Obama was even putting ads on CNN in the state.. This is the method 5 used on the following web site :


Clinton will have then 1688 & Obama will have 1744 total delegates.

NOW LET US ASSUME THAT CLINTON GETS PA, WV , PR BY 20% AND IN & KY BY 10% EACH AND OR BY 5% AND OBAMA WINS SD & MT BY 25% , CLINTON WILL HAVE NET GAIN OF 45 IN THE REMAINING PRIMARIES.. This is possible because of the Wright affair, the support among whites has declined sharply for Obama. And population of blacks in all these great states is less than 5%. BY JUNE CLINTON WILL HAVE 1959 DELEGATES AND OBAMA WILL HAVE 1980 DELEGATES.

There will be 372 Uncommited Super delegates at that time. . Upto this time Clinton has obtained 10 % more Super delegates than Obama. If we assume the same, CLINTON WILL WIN THE NOMINATION BY 2164 TO 2147 TOTAL DELEGATES. THERE WILL BE A DREAM TICKET WITH CLINTON ON TOP AND OBAMA AS VP AND WE WILL BEAT THE SH*T OUT OF THE REPUBLICANS CAPTURING BOTH THE SENATE & THE HOUSE WITH VETO PROOF MAJORITIES..
. I am stating what has happened so far. In the General Election, Winner takes all the electoral votes. We can use the same method to decide who should be on top of the ticket. Cuurently Clinton has 267 electoral votes and Obama has 202 electoral votes based on the states they have already won using the same method as used in the GE. Assume that Hillary wins PA, WV, Indiana and Obama gets SD, NC , OR , MT , Clinton will have 308 electoral votes and Obama will have 230 Electoral votes by June 3. You know who should be on top of the DREAM ticket.Let us stop fighting and have the DREAM TICKET with CLINTON ON TOP. Any other way we not only lose the election but lose the house & the Senate. 25% of Democrats will move to Republicans like what happened to another anti-War extremist McGovern who lost all the states except Mass. Neither he country is ready for him nor he is ready for the country.

Even if these numbers are off a little bit, because of the momentum shown by Hillary in the remaining Primaries and electibility of OBAMA in doubt because of the Wright affair, HILLARY WILL BE NOMINATED AS THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE . GOD BLESS AMERICA A MILLION TIMES BUT HUNDRED BILLION TIMES !!!

hockeypuck said...

......"Let us stop fighting and have the DREAM TICKET with CLINTON ON TOP"

subodoh, what may be a dream for YOU is a nightmare for a good deal of us.

The "Bosnia fib" will live on with as much if not more damage than the former pastor event.

Turn on Keith Olbermann and you might get an idea of why. He and Chuck Todd are doing a good job of covering the race and where it stands right now. :-)

Yamaka said...


Thanks for the very thoughtful idea to solve the real crisis reg MI, FL.

I want to know more about the Rule and how it got implemented.

1. Do you know the logical/legal basis of the Rule that allowed 4 States to go first, forbidding others? I think it was just a tradition - has no legal/logical basis.

2. Knowing that FL is governed by the Republicans what is the logic of having a FDP as the "Representative"? This person cannot override what the Legislature and Governor do regarding the date of the Primary.

3. Knowing the MI Legislature has Republican controlled Senate, what is the logic of having a MDP as the "Representative"? This person could not influence the process, although the Gov is a Democrat.

4. My point is the Rule is baseless and the implementation of the Rule is all the more bizarre and faulty. Ideally, a binding contract should have been obtained from the Governor of each State. Maybe, this is also impossible because FL has a Republican Gov. As such, the Rule is useless. People of these two States just obeyed the State laws and went for the poll. Therefore, their votes MUST be counted and their delegates MUST be seated. That's fair.

A useless Rule cannot disenfranchise the voters. The larger principle involved is "Count ALL Votes", which trumps an inferior "tradition", in my opinion.

5. I like your idea of using the GE methodology to know who has gained the most delegates; according to this the SDs can cast their support behind the candidate who is best electable. If HRC comes at the top that should be fine with the DNC.

6. BHO has won most of the small caucuses, which is not the format of the GE. Caucuses draw more young voters than older voters. Caucuses are time consuming cumbersome easily manipulated process fraught with frauds. SDs should realize this important fact. HRC, on the other hand has won most of the large State Primaries, which is the format of GE. These Primaries are MUST win for a Democrat. Many of the Caucuses that BHO won are traditional Republican Red States.

The key is you should win ALL of Blue States (which HRC has done), then if possible win Red States. Just Red State alone will not be useful for a Democrat to win the GE. SDs hopefully will realize this fact.

7. I like your calculation and I see clearly HRC will top the delegate counts:

"Even if these numbers are off a little bit, because of the momentum shown by Hillary in the remaining Primaries and electibility of OBAMA in doubt because of the Wright affair, HILLARY WILL BE NOMINATED AS THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE" .

Amen, well said. Cheers.

PseudoPeach said...

I voted in the Florida primary and I'm ready to NOT have my vote count. The ONLY FAIR OPTION is to completely redo the primary, which, unfortunately, is ruled out by cost. The whole reason we moved up the primary (yes WE--the democrats in the legislator voted for it too) was to undermine this ridiculous system of hegemony for Iowa and New Hampshire. My hope is that the spectacle of not having our delegations seated will motivate the party to fix this. If they don't, I hope the state as an early primary next year too!

PseudoPeach said...

To Yakama:
Let's analyze who might do better in the general election based on primary results. It doesn't really make sense to do this in the first place. An election in which only a partial segment of the population participates and there are multiple candidates, statistically, tells you nothing about what will happen when the whole population chooses between two candidates, especially when, in many states, independents can't vote in primaries!

But just for the sake of argument, let's go ahead. Hillary doing well in solid blue states is as irrelevant as Obama doing well in solid red states. The red states will vote for McCain and the blue states will go for whichever democrat. So we have to just look at swing states and the electoral votes they will cast. Hillary won the following swing states: NH(4), NM(5), NV(5), OH(20), AR(6), total of 40. Obama won: VA(13), IA(7) MN(10), WI(10), CO(9), MO(11) a total of 60.

I'm tired of hearing this argument that the states that Hillary won are somehow better. The fact is, no one knows how it will go in the general. The best prediction attempt I've seen was an experiment where they projected electoral college totals based on recent, hypothetical matchups in each state. There, Obama still beats her EC score, albeit by a very small margin.


Fortunately, most of the super-delegates are smart enough not to believe in this blue state BS.

marie said...

I agree the votes should count as voted for Michigan and Florida. No one should be given anything. Obama could have been on the ballot in Michigan, he elected not to. The rebpublicans are crossing over to vote for obama because they see him as the best candidate for McCain to beat. I agree, and we are falling right into their hands, choosing the only candidate, who they have the only chance to beat. The suffering will go on for years to come if he is our candidate, he will not win. I am very upset my vote will not count because of when we voted, that is ridiculous!

Yamaka said...


"Fortunately, most of the super-delegates are smart enough not to believe in this blue state BS".

How do you know?

Do you know ALL of them?

Maybe, it's your wild guess!

My Two Cent is:

1. We have to do a EC calculation following the winner takes all methodology of GE., and see where we are.

2. I believe the SDs will finally call this Nomination, not the pledged delegates, which is very very close.

My magic number is 2208.

The SDs will use their best case point of view of Who has the best chance to beat McCain?

That's fair.

Let us wait and see.

PseudoPeach said...

Did you even read what I posted before responding?

fldem23 said...

lastest update for Florida- two challenges have been filed with the DNC. They are both under review right now with the DNC. The Rules&Bylaws committee by the Delegate Selection Rules could only reduced our delegates by 50%. It seems everyone including the committee believed that 5and 6 of section C (Delegate Selection Rules) is gave them the right for the further reduction. If you read further under section 8 it clearly states that no more sanctions will be taken after the automatic 50% reduction.

In a nutshell can the Rules&Bylaws committee for just a minute put Florida first not the candidates their supporting!

PseudoPeach said...

First of all, we haven't been doing ANY rules in presidential elections since 1776 because the first presidential election wasn't even until 1789. I think this puts your arguments for historical precedence in a little bit of doubt.

Secondly I can't believe you are arguing FOR the winner take all electoral system. Did you like the fact that Florida decided the election of 2000 by a margin of 300 voted even though 300K+ voted for the other guy! If anything, the general election should be more like the dem process with proportional voted being cast by each state. Like a few states already do.

Thirdly, as I have explained in previous posts, allocating by electoral votes in the primaries only makes sense in swing states. A fact you have ignored in your calculation.

Yamaka said...

"DNC members and both pledged and super delegates , you can still change your vote based upon the momentum and electability of the candidate"

subodh: well said.

It is the Electability, stupid.

Your example of TX is right on the money. Caucuses are long time consuming process fraught with serious problems including fraud. This favors the young and the inexperienced than the matured older people.

Winner Takes All is the methodology used in the General Election.

SDs must and will do the calculations based on GE and measure the Electability.

BHO has three Scandals stuck around his neck:

1. Jeremiah Wright
2. Tony Rezko
3. Michelle Obama's Salary (which increased two fold once he became the US Senator. He immediately asked for a $1,000,000 earmark to help her employer UC Hospitals. This is quid pro quo. Needs to be investigated.

The effect of these Scandals will show up during the PA and 9 other States in the next two months.

I am not sure about the "Dream Ticket" at this point. When it was suggested by Bill Clinton, BHO foolishly rejected it a few weeks ago. He prefers

No Loaf over Half a Loaf!! Strange.

Subodh, refine your calculations and keep writing.

grantcart said...

Can any body tell me what committee of the DNC governed the rules that set up the penalties and who was on the committee?

Thank you