On the Primary Crisis: What's Next
The Michigan Democratic Party is staring the abyss of a farceof a primary in the face. However, we can still prevent a one-candidate/no delegates beauty contest and instead have a DNC-sanctioned party-caucus in which all candidates will participate and campaign in Michigan.
But we can start a movement to have a real caucus with all the candidates. Encourage Mark Brewer to save the MDP and honor Michigan Democrats by moving our caucus back to 9 February. The MDP can be reached by telephone at 517-371-5410 or at http://www.democracyinaction. You can find your County Party website to find out when the next meeting is or how to contact the County Chair here.
Tuesday (the deadline day to do so), Joe Biden, John Edwards, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson took their names off the ballot for the proposed 15 January presidential primary in Michigan (Dennis Kucinich also attempted to remove his name from the ballot but failed to follow state procedures by forgetting to have his signature notarized, so he will unwillingly remain on the ballot). Three of the leading four candidate have done this because the DNC considers the 15 January Michigan Primary bill against Party rules and invalid.
Now, under the current scenario, the MDP is left with a beauty contest with just one of the leading four candidates that will not choose any delegates. And even those remaining candidates have pledged not to campaign in our state. Heck, no one can even stare a write-in campaign, since write-in votes probably won't be counted. We therefore have a farce of a primary.
Michigan has been told by the DNC that it will not seat delegates chosen on a 15 January primary since it breaks the DNC rules of a front four states - Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina - and no other primaries until 5 February which was agreed to by the national party in July 2006.
Back in April of 2006, Michigan put it's name forwardas one of the eleven states which asked the DNC to place them in the early pool of primaries. We had an excellent case: we're industrial, have large demographic populations (African-Americans, Catholics, Union households, Arab-Americans, urban residents, etc), are a swing-state, and would represent the currently unrepresented Midwest/Great Lakes area of the country. Unfortunately, Nevada (Western, union-heavy, Latino) and South Carolina (Southern, African America-heavy) were selected. Michigan was not. But this was a democratic and legal process that the DNC followed. In short, we tried the process and failed. So, once Michigan saw that the new primary system was worse than the previous system (in that it gave Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina almost total control of selecting a nominee before a national primary on 5 February), Michigan broke the rules and made a powerplay to break into the front ranks. I supported that decision for all the reasons stated about -- Michigan is hurting economically and our issues need to be addressed by the future president (it can't be all ethanol, Yucca Mountain and home heating oil, it'd be nice if someone discussed investing in the economy and fair trade -- though actually Edwards and Kucinich do).
However, the DNC ruled that any delegates chosen by Michigan or Florida (who with much less good reason tried to crash the early state party). But even then Granholm and the MDP didn't back down (and I agreed with that, I mean hell, they'd sit our delegates if the nominee insisted).
However, then all eight Democratic candidates signed the New Hampshire Pledge (initiated by NH DP Chairman Ray Buckley and co-signed by the state party chairs of Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina). The NH Pledge committed candidates not to campaign in Michigan (there could be private fundraisers, but no press conferences, public meetings, rallies, TV or radio ads, etc). But, despite the fact that it was now clear that the gambit had backfired -- far from encouraging candidates to visit Michigan and address our issues the gamble had created the polar opposite situation --, the governor and the MDP seemed to continue to labor under the delusion that they hadn't lost.
Then, Tuesday, the final sword dropped. Hillary Clinton will be the only candidate willing to break the agreed upon rules and stay on the non-sanctioned Michigan primary on 15 January.
I have to say, at first, I was very angry at my candidate -- John Edwards -- for pulling himself off the ballot in my state. All the hard work that I and countless of other activists and endorsers seemed to be for nothing. I understood accepting the NH Pledge to not campaign here, but it seemed unnecessary to go beyond that and take their names off the ballot.
However, my change of heart came when I was talking to some folks and hearing that Granholm still wants to go through with the 15 January date. It now seems clear that the campaigns felt they had to do this in order to convince the Governor Granholm and a few other Michigan Democratic leaders not to drive off the cliff. Taking and living by "The NH Pledge" wasn't enough to convince them to make a Hegelian reconciliation with reality.
Heck, on Wednesday, in the most inappropriate and incorrect of statements, Jennifer Granholm went so far as to insultthe other two leading candidates -- Edwards and Obama -- claiming that they "bailed out" of Michigan because they were "more loyal to Iowa and New Hampshire than they are to the other states."
Now it's clear that Mark Brewer needs to take the reins and save our beloved Michigan Democratic Party.
According to the Michigan Election Law Act 116 (from 1954):
168.613a (2) Not later than 4 p.m. on November 14, 2007, the chairperson of each participating political party shall notify the secretary of state if his or her political party will be using a method other than the results of the January 15, 2008 presidential primary to select delegates to his or her respective national convention to nominate a candidate for president of the United States in 2008.
Please, Chairman Brewer, allow Michigan Democrats to vote for who they want. Allow Michigan Democrats the ability to choose real delegates. Don't allow the farce.
In response to these issues, last night at our monthly meeting, the Kent County Democratic Party (centered around Grand Rapids, the second largest city in Michigan) passed the following resolution (by voice vote, I'm guessing about 80% Yea to 20% Nay; disclosure: I put forward this resolution).
Resolved: The Kent County Democratic Party believes that a 15 January primary that chooses no National Convention delegates and gives Michigan voters a very limited choice from the Democratic presidential field is not in the interest of Michigan or the Michigan Democratic Party.
Therefore, the Kent County Democratic Party strongly encourages the Michigan Democratic Party and its Chair Mark Brewer to opt out of the 15 January primary and return to a DNC-sanctioned Caucus on or after 5 February 2008.
The Edwards campaign also urges that Michigan return to a DNC-sanctioned 9 February Caucus.
Should Michigan move back to a caucus on or after February 5th, Senator Edwards will compete in that contest.
The Obama campaign has said something similar -- they want to campaign in Michigan and will be on a 9 February caucus ballot.
I urge everyone to put forward similar resolution as we passed in Kent County. I have heard that Thursday night the 12th Congressional District Committee (in joint session with the Macomb County Democratic Party) voted last night to move Michigan back to a 9 February Caucus.
Michigan Democrats: To Action!