The spat over the Democratic primaries in Florida and Michigan boils down to two positions: “Count every vote” vs. “Count every legal vote.”
“Count every vote” is the slogan supporters of Hillary Clinton will be bringing to the Democratic National Committee on Saturday when the DNC Rules Committee will decide how or whether to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan.
The two states’ primaries were disqualified for good reason. In both cases, the state parties jumped the gun and held their elections in January, earlier than the national party permitted. Clinton’s representatives on the committee approved the rules, unanimously voted to adopt them and unanimously agreed – well before the primaries – to strip Florida and Michigan of their delegates if they insisted on defying the DNC.
Barack Obama scrupulously adhered to the DNC’s position. He and John Edwards withdrew their names from the Michigan ballot; Clinton did not. The candidates avoided campaigning in Florida. Even had the primaries not been disqualified, their results would have been different had the candidates competed vigorously in the two states on a level playing field.
Obama would certainly have won more votes in Michigan had his name been on the ballot.
Because Clinton came out on top in both disqualified primaries, she and her operatives are now bending logic every which way to get the Michigan and Florida delegates seated at the national convention.
“Count every vote” is a slogan expressly designed to revive angry memories of the 2000 presidential contest in Florida, which George W. Bush narrowly won after many ballots were disqualified.
But Al Gore was on the ballot in Florida that year. The election was held on the proper date, and both Bush and Gore fought like tigers over the state’s votes. Sorry, the analogy doesn’t hold.
Clinton recently suggested that refusal to seat the Florida and Michigan delegates would be like the denial of voting rights to blacks under Jim Crow. Some of her supporters have taken to raising the specter of sexism.
Any such nonsense will do, apparently, so long as it might help Clinton get her hands on the disqualified delegates she needs to . . .
To what? The fact is, even if the Florida and Michigan delegations were seated, they still wouldn’t be enough to let Clinton catch up with Obama, unless she could pull other slick tricks to undercut his hard-earned grip on the nomination.
Even if she were able to break the rules after the fact and somehow snatch the nomination from the candidate who followed them, the backlash from Obama’s supporters would be abiding and bitter.
A victory that splits the Democratic Party into two hostile factions would hardly be a victory worth winning.