Why Did Obama Withdraw From the Michigan Primary?
John Edwards and Barack Obama were on the ballot in Florida, but withdrew from the Michigan race. Why?
Bill Schneider at CNN had a very plausible explanation:
CNN's Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider suggested the Democrats who withdrew may have calculated that it was simply in their best political interest to do so.
"If there's no campaign, the candidate most likely to win Michigan is Hillary Clinton," Schneider said. "Her Democratic rivals don't want a Clinton victory in Michigan to count. They want Iowa and New Hampshire, where they have a better chance of stopping Clinton, to count more."
Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel, along with Hillary, elected to remain on the Michigan ballot. Biden, along with Obama and Edwards, chose to withdraw their names. Dennis Kucinich thought he filed the paperwork to withdraw but missed the deadline and was on the ballot.
Clinton's campaign said the New York senator will remain on the ballot. Chris Dodd also plans to stay on the ballot. "We're honoring the pledge and we won't campaign or spend money in states that aren't in compliance with the DNC calendar," Clinton spokesman Jay Carson said.
It was widely disseminated in Michigan, including by some official county websites , that if the voter didn't want to vote for those on the ballot, they should vote "uncommitted."
There is an “uncommitted” selection on the ballot. By voting “uncommitted” you are indicating that you have chosen to vote in a particular party’s primary, however you do not wish to vote for one of the listed candidates.
Rep. John Conyers pushed the "vote uncommitted" meme:
"The way the system is currently set up is inherently unfair," Michigan Rep. John Conyers told BlackAmericaWeb.com. "We are not going to just sit back and take this. I strongly encourage everyone in Michigan to go the polls. If your candidate’s name is not on the ballot, vote 'uncommitted.'"
Conyers and his wife even ran radio ads urging people to vote uncommitted. Here's the script:
Here is the radio script airing on radio stations in Michigan:
MALE: The presidential election is confusing. I want to vote for Barack Obama, but Obama's name is not on the ballot.
FEMALE: There is no one on that ballot I want to be president.
MALE: Well, these folks can help us. Excuse me, Congressman Conyers and Councilwoman Conyers, we need your help.
FEMALE: How can we vote for Obama on Tuesday?
REP. CONYERS: You can't. You cannot even write in Obama's name. If you do, your vote will not count because Obama's campaign chose not to place his name on the Michigan ballot so as not to violate national Democratic Party rules. But you can vote "uncommitted."
COUNCILWOMAN CONYERS: If at least 15 percent of the people vote "uncommitted," the state Democratic Party must send that percentage of delegates to the national convention uncommitted.
REP. CONYERS: My wife and I are voting "uncommitted." We will work with the Democratic Party to make sure that uncommitted delegates go to that convention truly uncommitted so that Obama can compete for their vote.
MALE: Thank you, Congressman Conyers and Councilwoman Conyers. I will join you and vote "uncommitted" on Tuesday.
FEMALE: Me too. At least my vote won't be wasted.
COUNCILWOMAN CONYERS: This truth-in-politics message was paid for my Friends of Monica Conyers.
In 2004, about 150,000 Democrats voted in the Michigan caucuses. This year, Michigan held a primary instead of caucuses and 600,000 Democrats voted. Hillary won all but two counties, Washtenaw and Emmett, where "uncommitted" won. The uncommitted total was 238,168. Hillary's total was 328,309.
It was Obama's choice to remove himself from the Michigan ballot. Did he do it for strategic reasons because Hillary was leading by large margins in the polls (Here's one from October 5 to 7, right before the drop out deadline, showing Hillary 42%, Obama 26%)? If so, why should there be a revote?
I think the DNC should remove the penalty from Michigan and Florida and seat the delegates. In Michigan's case, Hillary should get the delegates according to her vote total. The other delegates should remain "uncommitted" and vote how they want when they get to the convention.
|< Revisiting the Four State Pledge on MI/FL Promises | Obama 's Inadvertent Political Successes >|