Thursday, March 06, 2008
Mark my words. The Michigan/Florida problem is not going away. To the contrary, it will intensify as the battle between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama gets uglier. This is a major problem for the Democratic Party and it must be resolved soon.
Some quick background: The DNC, led by chairman Howard Dean, unseated the delegates from these two critical states after they defied the party's warnings against moving their contests up to January after it had set February 5th--Super Tuesday, with its 22 contests--as the earliest date for primaries. Reason being, the states that hold the earliest primaries and caucuses usually have disproportionate influence over the nomination process. Democratic candidates were not allowed to campaign in these two states, but they were allowed to raise money there, and both Obama and Clinton agreed to these rules. When the primaries were eventually held, Clinton won Michigan with 55%, and beat Obama 50%-33% in Florida.
But here's why the Democratic Party must figure out a way, quickly, to seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida: because it disenfranchises voters in those two states. It's as simple as that. There are millions of voters in those two states who never had a say in this unconstitutional cock-fight between Dean and the states' legislatures. When the threat from the DNC came down, no one asked voters whether they were willing to give up their votes in exchange for earlier primaries. A bunch of self-serving party elitists have absolutely no right to strip any American of their inalienable right to vote. It is unconscionable to think that the Unites States can hold an election and that citizens in two key states will not have the same opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote as their fellow citizens in the other 48 states. This is not about Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. It's about the American voter. Period.