I can only imagine that people slightly out of the loop, namely those who enjoy actually living their lives, cannot quite follow what the Democratic Party was up to yesterday. Normally the world couldn’t care what their Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) does. So why did it make such a big deal yesterday?
Actually, it is tied to what happened back at the beginning of the Primary election season. Michigan and Florida decided to hold their primary elections earlier than was scheduled. Well, not so much the states. Each state has its own branch of the Democratic Party, and there is a national branch as well. The national branch sets the time-table for all these primary elections (practically one set every Tuesday for six grueling months). So it was the states’ branches of the party that decided they would hold their votes early and the national branch said that violates the rules (set by the RBC) and so your votes won’t count at all.
The candidates then did not campaign within Michigan and Florida, knowing that the rules set were have those votes not count toward any delegates. Well, that’s not entirely true. The Clintons didn’t ‘campaign’, but they held ‘fundraising events’. Obama did not campaign, though I did read that apparently he was a swine, too, and campaigned outside the states. (No kidding? How do you think he’s still winning?) Obama, to show accordance with those rules, even took himself off the ballot in Michigan. I do not know why he did not do the same in Florida. I speculate it was because the Clintons ‘fundraised’ there.
Sorry, I meant to refrain from opining until the end of this. The whole situation bugs me.
So that was what happened months ago. This meeting of the RBC yesterday was to determine how, if at all, those two states should have their delegates seated (counted) at the convention. The states’ branches of the party have been vying for their votes to count. This has also been a major argument for the Clintons’ campaign.
I guess the word is that fanatics from both candidates’ camps have been going nuts outside this meeting of the RBC. For the Clintons, this was a huge argument for staying in the race at all. For Obama, it was better that the states not be seated, but if they were, then they should be sure to apportion the delegates fairly.
What the committee ultimately decided on was something similar to how the Republican Party works: states that violate the rules get only half the seated delegates they would normally be apportioned. In this case, Florida was easy. The delegates were apportioned according to how the voting went there, and then the numbers are cut in half for the convention.
Michigan was the real battleground for compromise because Obama was not on the ballot (sort of in its stead was ‘Uncommitted’). What was ultimately decided was that the Clintons would have almost their entire delegate count, minus four. Those four, and the remainder of the state’s delegates, would go to Obama.
Why go that way? Precisely because his name did not appear on the ballot. He undoubtedly would have won a larger percentage of the vote had he been there. A large number of people, having not seen Obama, would have selected their second-favorite, the Clintons. Or, knowing their candidate was not on the ballot, stayed home.
In the end, the Clintons got their majority of seated delegates, 87 to Obama’s 63. This is with both states added together and cut in half. Obama is still leading in all categories, with his pledged delegate lead shrunk back to 174.
Now it’s time for me.
This whole debate seems ridiculous to me, and the decision to seat Michigan and Florida delegates is a poor one. I will say this, though: the way the RBC decided to seat these states was fair to my eyes. And I do understand where some of the argument is coming from.
It is somewhat politically viable for these states to be seated since they are so large and important in the general election. However, I find that is ill-conceived reasoning. This decision affects only Democrats’ views, the huge majority of which wouldn’t dream of voting Republican this or any year. Plus, the outcome does next to nothing to change the balance of the campaign. But hey, that’s what the Clintons are for, right? Dragging anyone and everyone through the mud. I do so miss the ’90s.
Still, the original rules and decision laid out by the early Florida and Michigan votes were what they were. All the candidates were aware of this, and planned their campaigns accordingly. And, bigger still, the voters were aware of this, and planned their staying at home accordingly.
Yes, I do not care for this decision because of disenfranchising those who followed the rules and did not bother to vote. I know I would not have. Why get out and vote knowing my vote would not count or my preferred candidate wouldn’t even be on the ballot? I can only imagine the person voting would be geriatric, being swayed by a colored man or the ‘only chance to vote for a woman’ and accidentally voting for Buchanan all over again (James, not Pat).
Okay, that line was a little crude. And obscure at the end there. My apologies.
But I think it also reflects poorly on the Democratic Party. Who could put their trust in a system that changes its own election rules in the middle of an election? I think it portrays them as bad bureaucrats. Admittedly, that won’t change anything, because voting for Stalin would look like viable change compared to our days since 2001.
And my God do the Clintons and their campaign annoy me. Not only do they run a terrible campaign that proves they are unfit to sit atop our executive system, but they say this sort of thing (from a CNN article, emphasis is mine):
[We] strongly object to the committee’s decision to undercut its own rules in seating Michigan’s delegates without reflecting the votes of the people of Michigan.
Are they nuts? Their own party just broke its own rules for them and they are complaining about it!? The truly rule-abiding way to go would have been to not seat these states at all. Sheesh. So I leave you all on this little ditty my son was idly singing in the background (and no, no coaching from me. He doesn’t even know there is a President or an election).
You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.