MI and FL Superdelegates May Be Seated

This isn't a compromise, but the possible outcome of a complaint filed with the Rules Committee. Via Marc Ambinder:

Last week, DNC member Jon Ausman filed a petition with the party's rules and bylaws committee pointing out that the charter of the DNC uses the verb "shall" when describing the relationship between superdelegates and the convention, as in -- superdelegates "shall" be seated. The argument, basically, is that the charter supercedes any penalty imposed by the RBC. The counterarguement is that the verb "shall" is later qualified.

The 28 members of the DNC's Rules and Bylaws committee may well decide that the challenge has validity and may well decide to seat the superdelegates from Florida, and then, should there be a similar petition from Michigan, the superdelegates from Michigan.

This has nothing to do with the disenfranchisement of Florida's 1.7 million voters, and I doubt that Florida's superdelegates will make much of a difference in the long run. But....[More...]

But maybe if the superdelegate penalty can be set aside, so can the penalty on the voters.

As to Michigan, here's the objection (aside from the Obama campaign dragging its feet) that may be holding up the revote:

One of the sticking points holding up a possible do-over election in Michigan is a rule that would ban anyone who voted in the Republican presidential primary from voting again.

That ban would apply even to Democrats or independents who asked for a GOP ballot because Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was the only major candidate left on the Jan. 15 Democratic ballot.

Sounds like a fair rule to me. If someone is going to switch parties to vote for a Republican because they don't like the likely Democratic nominee, why should they have a say in the party's final choice?

My view is that all Democratic primaries should be limited to Democrats. The party's nominee is not the public's nominee, its the preference of party members. Everyone else can vote in the general election.

Update: Via Reuters:

Opposition from lawmakers backing Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's campaign seemed certain to scuttle any proposal to hold a June 3 "do-over" Democratic primary in the Midwestern state.

Thursday is the deadline for a revote as the legislature then goes on a two week break.

Michigan has voted Democratic in every presidential race since 1992.

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  • Display: Sort:
    I hope it happens (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by dianem on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 03:45:10 PM EST
    I don't expect it to make a difference, ultimately, but I won't mind Clinton losing so much if she actually get's a fair shot, if that's possible at this point.

    I don't understand their objection (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by cmugirl on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 03:47:05 PM EST
    If, as the Obama camp contends, this is not a re-vote because the first was illegitimate.  Then why would someone who voted in the Republican primary in any other state where the primaries were on different days (for example, Wyoming), be allowed to vote in the Democratic primary a month later? You can't do that in any state?

    Especially given the fact that Obama (and Edwards and Biden and Richardson) supporters were given the option (and strongly encouraged) to vote for "uncommitted".

    The Republicans chose to count their vote in Michigan.  Those people who crossed over cast valid, legal ballots - why should they get to vote in 2 primaries? I could understand if the Republican primary didn't count either, but there is no logical explanation for them to get a vote now.

    I never believed (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 03:47:57 PM EST
    that ultimately the voters of these two crucial states would not be heard from.
    it makes no sense no matter how you look at it.

    Ironic (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by BDB on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 03:48:36 PM EST
    That some of the folks responsible for moving the primary and getting the penalty imposed in the first place may be seated and only the actual voters, folks who had no real say in when the primary was held, may very well still be punished.  Good job, Democrats.

    Solution (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 03:51:11 PM EST
    Seat them all.

    This is like the U.S. government (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by oculus on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 05:24:21 PM EST
    guaranteeing loans of Bear Sterns but not the sub-prime home owner loans.

    Unfortunate is more like it (none / 0) (#13)
    by thefncrow on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:06:07 PM EST
    It really is too bad, because if there was any sense of justice, the superdelegates would be the first people to lose their votes for not holding a legitimate primary contest to decide the fate of the state's elected delegates.

    Further, once the superdelegates had their status removed, there might be room there for seating the pledged delegates from Florida after a substantial penalty(75-90%) was imposed, although nothing can be done for Michigan, with only Hillary's name on the ballot.  The combination of the loss of superdelegates and the penalty to be imposed for having to apportion superdelegates based on the illegitimate Jan. 29th contest could act as a strong signal to all large states that the calendar as set by the DNC is not to be screwed with, and once everyone respects that, we can look at cycling out Iowa and New Hampshire and sharing those early primaries between the small states.

    If it weren't for this rule, a decent compromise might be able to be reached, based around:

    • No FL/MI superdelegates
    • Florida apportions its pledged delegates according to the illegitimate Jan 29 contest, adjusted for a penalty that takes 75-90% of their delegates
    • Michigan gets an honorary delegation of pledged delegates split 50/50

    Unfortunately, those who bungled their own state elections in Florida and Michigan are going to be allowed to be superdelegates, even as their inept handling of the situation has cost their constituents a voice in the Democratic primary process.

    I agree that it is a** backwards (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by litigatormom on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:13:13 PM EST
    to seat superdelegates and not seated elected delegates.

    The only thing I can hope for is that, having decided it is legally compelled to seat the supers -- some, but not all, may be responsible for the castrof*** of the primaries -- the DNC will decide it is morally compelled to seat the elected delegates.

    And for all those who say, "but the rules are the rules," I would say that when rules are enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, sometimes the only remedy is to just set the rules aside. In any case, the "rules" have provisions permitting the DNC to seat the delegates in the end. So the DNC can do whatever it wants to do.  It should not want to end up with millions of disenfranchised voters in two swing states.


    Won't work (none / 0) (#15)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:09:31 PM EST
    They won't hear that signal.

    Excuse Me (none / 0) (#28)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:43:06 PM EST
    Reducing  the pledge delegates of  FL  by 75 to 90% as you propose does not IMO equal a decent compromise and somehow I don't believe the voters in FL would agree with you either.

    Rules are in place for a reason (none / 0) (#31)
    by thefncrow on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 05:02:45 PM EST
    Then how would you settle it?  Remember, the politicians in Florida expected their pledged delegate count to be reduced by 50% at the time they decided to jump the line and run a primary outside of the allowable window.

    Punishments are in place in order to keep people from violating the rule.  Losing 50% of your state's delegates is clearly not punishment enough for large states like Florida and Michigan, because they both decided to move up their primary dates in violation of DNC rules knowing that such a punishment was forthcoming.

    So, what, are you just bickering that 75% is too much and that it should be more like 65%?  Or would you rather the rule go out the window, we watch our primary system get broken, and the system gets perverted into one where the candidate with the most money and name recognition gets the nomination?

    Because, I tell you, I'd rather piss off some people in Florida than have a primary system which keeps anyone without a net worth of more than 50 million dollars from being able to run for President.


    Punishing Voters For The Actions Of (none / 0) (#34)
    by MO Blue on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 05:46:27 PM EST
    politicians has now become one of the Democratic Party's strongest value?  Funny how much it has changed since 2000 when "Count all the votes" was the party's mantra. And here I though the Republican Party was susposed to be authoritarian party.

    Would you like to answer? (none / 0) (#35)
    by thefncrow on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 06:01:41 PM EST
    I'm sorry, did you have an answer to my question?  It seems you'd rather complain about the situation than come up with real solutions.

    Let me simplify it for you:
    1) Knowing that big states require tremendous amounts of money and publicity in order to campaign in, are you for or against allowing these states to go to the front of the line and participate in the early part of primary season, which has been traditionally reserved for small states which can be campaigned in without the need for spending large sums of money and without the need for considerable national name recognition?

    If you answered "against" to the above:
    2) Given:

    • that two large states jumped the line with the expectation that they would lose 50% of their delegates and were OK with that
    • that the DNC charter may require the seating of the state's superdelegates
    • that no primary contest that follows the national party's rules has been or will be held
    • that all other 48 states, as well as all US protectorates who participate in the primary process, followed these same rules
    what solution do you propose that is fair to the people in the 2 states holding illegitimate contests, the people in the other 48 states which held legitimate contests, and preserves the rule you agreed needed to be in place in question 1?

    "shall" (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Stellaaa on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 03:52:26 PM EST
    You mean words will matter?

    I find it offensive that the supers (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by Anne on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 03:55:56 PM EST
    might be heard, but the voters might not.  Why not just let the superdelegates decide the whole freakin' thing and be done with it.  Jeez.

    As for Michigan, I guess all those Obama voters who went and helped Romney win the GOP primary there are now having second thoughts.  Our actions and decisions have consequences, and I can see no reason for accommodating the bad decisions of voters who crossed over, or a candidate who took his name off the ballot.

    I guess this is a preview of the ninth circle of hell.

    I agree. (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by liminal on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:00:57 PM EST
    If anything, the appropriate "punishment" for the states would be to punish the SUPERdelegates, the so-called party elders/leaders who 1. lead the states down the path; and 2. were apparently incapable of achieving a consensus that would allow the voters' voices to be heard without a major fight, while seating the delegates apportioned by the votes of actual people.

    Is this upside-down world?

    Equally, I've got no problem with barring those who participated in the Republican primary from participating in the Democratic primary.  They had their chance to vote, and they made their choice.


    LOL! Karma for Kos (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by goldberry on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:06:04 PM EST
    Isn't it ironic that the biggest Obama booster may have jeopardized the Michigan primary for Obama by encouraging all of the Obamaphiles to vote as Republicans?  It's too rich.  

    I wanted to make sure I read that right. (none / 0) (#25)
    by BarnBabe on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:33:39 PM EST
    In other words, if you were a Republican and voted in the Dem race, you can not vote again. And if you were a Dem who voted Republican you can not vote again. Cool. I did not like when Kos asked Dems to vote for Mitt to manipulate the primary. And I do not like open primaries which allow this also. It is bad for both side using this trickery as we might find out in November. This is a good solution for sure. Yes. Meanwhile, Governor Rendell just called to say that Bill Clinton will be in Stroudsburg PA tomorrow morning and inviting me over. An hour away but a nice thought. And a nice Hillary fund raiser just called. We had a few laughs and I promised to go over to the site again and give a bit more. With a smile.

    The candidate (none / 0) (#9)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 03:59:05 PM EST
    Is being accomodated.

    Voters who show up just to mess with the system should, well, fighting for their enfranchisement just seems to take a lower priority than fighting for those who have more respect for Democracy in general.


    prediction: MI/FL disenfranchised, lose in GM (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by DandyTIger on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 03:59:04 PM EST
    It really comes down to that. And it's not just that the MI and FL voters will be disenfranchised and possibly not vote in the GM, but that everyone will see the dems as for not counting the votes. The embarrassment after 2000 and 2004 will be just too much to take. The repubs will make no end of this mess. I think this is quite simple, either seat the delegates as they are and fully count the popular vote (maybe count all non hillary in MI for obama as a compromise) and have a chance, or do anything else and give up 2008 presidency. It's that important.

    Getting the supers of those states is all well and good. And better than nothing I guess. But it won't be a band aid for the bigger issue.

    thats why it (none / 0) (#11)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:05:32 PM EST
    wont happen
    everyone should take a deep breath.

    But remember Markos' little joke? (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by hitchhiker on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:07:43 PM EST
    He front-paged a suggestion that Michigan Democrats cross over to boost Romney in that primary so that McCain's momentum would be slowed.

    A lot of them did it, I'll bet.  What a laugh if they were subsequently barred from voting for Obama in a re-vote.

    it would be a good karma lesson (none / 0) (#18)
    by diplomatic on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:16:06 PM EST
    Don't understand (none / 0) (#17)
    by Saul on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:14:35 PM EST
    On the Michigan rule that  that would ban anyone who voted in the Republican presidential primary from voting again.

    That ban would apply even to Democrats or independents who asked for a GOP ballot because Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was the only major candidate left on the Jan. 15 Democratic ballot.

    Then just abandoned that and do another primary like  the first one never took place.  That solves any rules as indicated.  I mean if you going to try to have the primary redo under those rules anyway then it is less trouble to just re do the primary over like the first one never took place.

    Because (none / 0) (#20)
    by cmugirl on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:21:04 PM EST
    Those Democrats who voted in the Republican primary already had their votes counted. They can't vote in another primary.

    I should have finished my thought... (none / 0) (#21)
    by cmugirl on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:22:09 PM EST
    ....the Republicans are re-doing their primary, so you can't just say let everyone vote.

    You usually only get to vote in Dem or Repub (none / 0) (#22)
    by Step Beyond on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:28:28 PM EST
    This is why I am against revotes. Every decision is both fair and unfair depending on your perspective. And the results don't become more legitimized in the process but less.

    That said, if you put forth the idea of a revote you need to make it happen despite any perceived unfairness. Because not only have your brought the issue into the public eye but you've built up expectations. If it fails you've done more damage to your reputation and angered more individuals in the process.

    So yes people who voted in the Repub primary wouldn't get to vote even if they are Dems. But are there even states where one gets to vote in both primaries?


    The Whole Concept of Automatic Delegates (none / 0) (#19)
    by kaleidescope on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:20:24 PM EST
    Is "horribly undemocractic."  Almost as "horribly undemocratic" as delegates chosen by a state caucus.

    Times poll: Dems want primary results to count (none / 0) (#24)
    by TalkRight on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:32:45 PM EST
    Times poll: Dems want primary results to count



    "If there's one thing that this survey says is you have to acknowledge the Jan. 29 primary on some level," said pollster Tom Eldon. "You really can't say the Florida primary was a non-event to voters. It was a non-event to Howard Dean according to the rules of the DNC."

    I was a little slow (none / 0) (#27)
    by Step Beyond on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:41:40 PM EST
    I kept debating on whether to include info from the poll and meanwhile you beat me to the post. :D

    New FL Poll (none / 0) (#26)
    by Step Beyond on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:40:36 PM EST
    There's a new Florida poll with lots of info making it worth the read.

    Some of what the poll found (none / 0) (#29)
    by Step Beyond on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:48:28 PM EST
    Thinking about the January 29 election was your main interest the Democratic primary for president or to vote on Amendment 1, the property tax reform amendment?

    Primary 43%
    Both 40%
    Amendment 15%
    Don't Know/Refused 2%


    If Florida's delegates are not counted, are you any less likely to support the Democratic candidate for President?

    No, not less likely 68%
    Yes, much less likely 14%
    Yes, somewhat less likely 10%
    Don't Know/Refused 9%


    A 50-50 split is anti-democratic (none / 0) (#30)
    by Cream City on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 04:54:16 PM EST
    as it negates not only the votes but also the very process of going to the polls upon which our system rests.  It is a ridiculous suggestion.

    Correction (none / 0) (#36)
    by cmugirl on Tue Mar 18, 2008 at 06:31:47 PM EST
    When one candidate chose not to be on the ballot.

    urls must be in html format (none / 0) (#39)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 19, 2008 at 01:12:14 AM EST
    or they skew the site and the comment will be deleted. Use the link box at the top of the comment box. The one in your comment is too long, I'll leave it up for a while but it's going to have to be deleted so you might want to repost your comment correctly.

    She was not the only one on the ballot (none / 0) (#38)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 19, 2008 at 01:10:50 AM EST
    Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel were also on the ballot. They pulled 5% between them. She pulled 55%. The uncommitted were 40%. Some of those were Obama supporters and some Edwards supporters.

    Michigan voters were blasted with radio ads and other notices to vote uncommitted if they didn't support Hillary.