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It is time to deal with Florida and Michigan. The Democratic primary is going to be too contentious to leave out two such important states, and the solution must be fair to all.

This race is becoming quite contentious. I don't think that has to be a bad thing, but it depends on how it plays out.
The fight over Michigan's and Florida's delegates can serve either as a chance to unite the party behind a single nominee or tear it apart.
The case for a do-over of some sort comes down to one word; Legitimacy.
Regardless of which candidate wins the nomination, they must be seen throughout the party as the legitimate winner. It applies equally to either Obama or Clinton.

If the delegates from the two states are seated as is, the Obama supporters will never accept those votes as genuine, and with good reason. The campaigns all agreed to not fight in those states, and in Michigan most of the candidates weren't even on the ballot. No one can look at these two farces and want them to be the deciding factor in our primary.

If the delegates are left out enitrely, then the Clinton camp will feel with some justification, that they are being deprived of two important states that they can expect to win, and the voters in the two states will be soured on the Democratic party at least at the state level.

A new contest of some sort is required. If Obama can bring the case to Mighigan and Florida and win them outright, then he beats back the criticsm that he can't win any of the big "important" states. If Hillary wins, then she is able to make that argument even more strongly.

Michigan and Florida, who moved their primaries up in order to be "relevant" have an opportunity to play the role of deciders, the importance of their votes multiplied several times over what they were hoping for. The two state party leaders will have to swallow their pride a bit and aknowledge that they have to obey the rules to play the game, but they also get to be seen as loyal to the national pary, and willing to compromise and solve problems. Perhaps most importantly, the base gets a winner that will have won the contest fair and square. Everyone wins.

There has been too much excitement and energy brought into the Democratic party because of this historic primary to waste it. There have been too many new and young voters brought into politics for the first time who risk being tossed away. That is what will happen however if this issue is allowed to fester and a really close race ends at the convention with these two states having no say. The last thing the Democrats need going into the general is having half of it's voters feel cheated. There is too much at stake for the outcome of this contest to be seen as anything less than legitimate, or it will be impossible for either candidate to bring everyone back together.

Florida, Michigan, Howard Dean, this is up to you to fix.
We need a plan for fairly contested, open, legitimate contests in these two states to determine how the delegates get divided, and we need it now.

This is going to be something of a drive by diary. My dial up connection is just giving me fits today, and I just have to get away from the computer to deal with other things.
I promise I will read over any comments later today, but likely long after this has scrolled to oblivion. Please forgive.

Originally posted to fat old man on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 08:55 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  a do-over seems fair (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Obama supporters will have to stop blowing their horns and whistles and allow the process to continue.

    •  Well (0+ / 0-)

      The fact they flubbed their primaries is because they tried to blow their horns and whistles and flaunt the process.

      Your comment could replace "Obama" with "Clinton" and actually be representing party rules.

      I am crass and hostile. If you want to be comforted and babied, unplug your internet connection and call your parents.

      by nanobubble on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 09:11:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So who pays for it? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fat old man

    Florida's Republican legislature sure as hell won't do it.  The Florida Democratic Party doesn't have that kind of money.  So who would pay?  And what worthy Democratic candidates will go without support as a result of that money being spent on a "do-over?"

    Thank you Senator Dodd!

    by jrooth on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 08:58:34 AM PST

    •  Although... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fat old man

      did I hear something on the news this morning that FL's Governor (supporter of McCain) said that Florida might be willing to pay the $10 mill. to have a redo.  I guess it would be worth it for the Republicans to run against Hillary.


      by KellyB on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 09:02:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think Governor Crist did say something (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KellyB, fat old man

        But it's the legislature that would have to decide to actually spend the money to do it.  And $10 million sounds cheap - the Jan. 29 primary cost the state $18 million.

        And the fact is a do-over wouldn't help Clinton particularly - Obama would have tons more money to spend on advertising than she would so the margin would be a lot closer that the Jan. 29 result.

        Thank you Senator Dodd!

        by jrooth on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 09:07:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  We all do, if we DON'T do it. (0+ / 0-)

      We really need to seat as many delegates as we can.  I don't have actual numbers for how much it would cost, but I guarantee it's a drop of what both campaigns are going to spend in Pennsylvania.  If they value the process, and the party, the campaigns will help chip in to ensure it happens.

      The alternative is a brokered convention.  Rule or no rules, do we really want that, and there are no rules, in my understanding, against do-overs.

      •  Well if the campaigns could agree (0+ / 0-)

        to split the cost, I think that would work.

        But is the Clinton campaign with their limited funds going to go for that?  On the other hand, it might be smart for Obama to publicly offer to split the cost - then it's Clinton opposing letting MI and FL vote ...

        Thank you Senator Dodd!

        by jrooth on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 10:39:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I appreciate your insight, but... (0+ / 0-)

    I must respectfully disagree with you.  ALL of the candidates knew the rules and they all knew that the delegates would not count.  I feel badly for the voters of FL and MI, but it was not as if the decision to exclude the delegates caught everyone by surprise.  If anyone can convince me that Hillary would be fighting to seat those delegates had any other candidate won, I'll be happy to revisit my position.


    by KellyB on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 09:00:23 AM PST

    •  Hillary fight to seat an opponent's delegates? (0+ / 0-)
      •  Oops (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Hit my keyboard wrong.

        Would Hillary fight to seat an opponent's delegates?

        Sure she would.  When pigs fly.

        •  Hillary will fight (0+ / 0-)

          To seat states that she thinks she can win again.
          The decision to seat the delegates has to be made before the contest, not after we see who wins. That's the crux of the argument.
          If she fights to seat them now, there will be nothing but more anger and hard feeling between the camps. If we revisit the two states and both candidates can campaign and make their case, neither one will have much to argue about.
          The Clinton camp has been making the case that only she can win Florida in the general and only she can win big blue collar states. Well, if the Clinton people believe that, and I think they do, then they won't be so hard to convince.
          If Obama wants to make the case that he can indeed win blue collar states and a big swing state like Florida, then theres no better way to prove it than by contesting them and winning.

  •  How Do You Solve The Logistics? (0+ / 0-)

    Florida claims they can't afford another primary.  If they decide not to hold the contest, how do you force them to.

    Aside from that, I agree there should be a do-over.

  •  I disagree. Fuck 'em. (0+ / 0-)

    They were warned by the party, and did what they wanted, so they eat their cake. No having it also.


    I am crass and hostile. If you want to be comforted and babied, unplug your internet connection and call your parents.

    by nanobubble on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 09:09:54 AM PST

  •  But if Obama did win both states (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    then I'd expect Clinton to cry foul because

    1. Obama now enjoys a delegate and popular vote lead he didn't have back in January, thus biasing voters in FL and MI his way;

    2)Obama now enjoys a lead in campaign dollars, which he didn't back in January, so it's still not fair to Clinton.

    Specious logic of course, but it wouldn't surprise me to hear Clinton invoke it.

    Florida and Michigan did not have to do what they did, that is, break the DNC primary election date rules.  The party leaders could have acted differently, but it seems vanity got in the way.

    A do-over seems fair on the face of it, but I say the fairest way is to accept the rules you started out with, sticking to your promise to abide by them, and swallowing the bad-tasting medicine.

    Here's hoping we've all learned a lesson from this preventable pickle.

    •  But can you convince the HRC people of that (0+ / 0-)

      Thats my point. Obama cannot afford to go into the general with all of Hillary's supporters feeling he won a flawed primary. They are pissed enopugh now. We need to unite the party and regardless of the arguments made on either side, unless there is a do-over, the losing side is going to feel shafted.

  •  I don't see the alternative at this point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fat old man

    The way the math looks, neither candidate will get to the finish line with the necessary number of delegates for the nomination.  While Obama will most likely be ahead, he won't be able to cross the line.  The question then is, do we leave it up to the voters in FL and MI or do we leave it up to the superdelegates.  

    It's possible, as they were saying on MSNBC last night, that even after do-overs in FL and MI, with neither candidate winning an overwhelming victory that Obama will STILL be ahead.  At that point, the SD's can step in and swing it to the leader in pledged dels.

    But I just dont see how penalizing the voters in FL and MI does anything but antagonize them and perhaps lose them in the GE.

    Am I oversimplifying this?

    •  You're right. The numbers aren't there. (0+ / 0-)

      Johnathan Alter explains why:

      Even with landslide victories in all sixteen remaining contests, and even stipulating a win by Clinton in a FL/MI do-over, Obama still comes out ahead in pledged and unpledged delegates going into the convention.  Would the superdelegates risk political "suicide" by defying the people's choice?

      Methinks not.

    •  I don't think so (0+ / 0-)

      I think you have hit it on the head.
      Someone please tell me what advantage there is in pissing off all the voters in the two states along with supporters of whoever loses who felt that the primary was rigged.
      The two states fucked up, fine, lets accept that, and work around it, but those voers need to feel part of the process.

  •  Fair to all, eh? (0+ / 0-)

    Will I get to vote for John Edwards this time? Or is this only "fair" to the Hillary and Obama campaigns?

    My other car is a pair of boots.

    by FutureNow on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 09:18:22 AM PST

    •  No one held a gun to Edwards head. (0+ / 0-)

      He quit just a day or two after voing to fight to the convention. I liked Edwards, he was my second choice after Gore, but he's out, and has been for a long time. It's time to accept it is going to be either HRC or BHO. Unless you plan to run the entire calendar over again.

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