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Suck It Up, Florida And Michigan

I dunno about you people, but I'm getting a bit tired of all the whining and wailing about the Florida and Michigan Democratic primaries.

"Our votes should count!" "We're being disenfranchised!" "We want to have our say!"

Folks, the time to bitch was before you voted.

The Democratic National Committee set its schedule -- as is its right -- for the primaries. The state parties all had their chances to argue before it was set, and even after. You folks are represented by those state parties, and they are the ones who decided to ignore the rules and play "chicken" with the DNC.

Guess what? They didn't blink. They said, up front, what the price would be if you didn't play by their rules. And the penalty was "your votes don't count, because you didn't agree with the rules beforehand."

You got a problem with that? Take it up with those who decided to ignore the rules -- your own state parties.

Both Clinton and Obama agreed -- in writing -- to not participate in either of your primaries, in accordance with the DNC. Clinton, naturally, didn't keep her word, but that's only to be expected from her. Obama did, naturally, because he's a newcomer and didn't realize that rules don't matter to Clintons when it means they might lose.

The arguments being made now for counting the results anyway and seating the delegates -- or holding a "do-over" -- all boil down to a few points:

"We didn't know the process would still be going on this late!"

"We didn't know our votes would make such a difference!"

"We thought the DNC would wimp out!"

(OK, on that last one they might have a point. Democrats tend not to be overly resolute when faced with tough decisions, as well as having problems with making rules and keeping them, so it's almost understandable that people would be caught off-guard when they do find their backbone.)

"We're Americans, and we want our vote to count!"

What so many people fail to understand is that this is NOT a public election. It is a private process, the wholly-owned enterprise of the Democratic National Committee. They grant the state parties some leeway in running the elections, but reserve the right to set certain rules -- and enforce them. Scheduling is one of them, and they said that Florida and Michigan would have to wait their turn, or else.

This is the "or else."

The most disgusting (but least surprising) part of this is the role Hillary Clinton is playing. She cheerfully signed on to the DNC's conditions, agreeing to not campaign in either state. But she "allowed" her name to be placed on the ballot (unlike Obama, who foolishly thought that the rules applied to everyone) and made at least one "non-campaign" visit to Florida. So she wants credit for the votes she received -- after signing an agreement to not do so.

In the end, it'll be up to the DNC and the Democratic parties of Florida and Michigan to settle the matter. But right now, the status quo is that "your votes don't count -- just like we warned you long before you voted."

This reminds me SO much of listening to my friends who have children. The Democrats in Florida and Michigan could teach those kids lessons in whining to get what you want.


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Comments (13)

I'm a Florida Democrat and ... (Below threshold)

I'm a Florida Democrat and I voted.(For Obama. Florida primaries are closed.) There has been no whining from me.

Hillary Clinton has no prin... (Below threshold)

Hillary Clinton has no principles:

NHPR's Laura Knoy: "So, if you value the DNC calendar, why not just pull out of Michigan? Why not just say, Hey Michigan, I'm off the ballot?"

Hillary Clinton: "Well, you know, It's clear, this election they're having is not going to count for anything"

Here's a link to the short (edited) sound byte with the interviewer's question and the response:


Here's a link to the unedited longer byte with her full answer:


Here's the link to the full original NHPR interview on 10/10/07 :


I think that is it pretty clear that she has "changed" her position on this now that she is not winning.

If I am not mistaken, Obama... (Below threshold)
Dodo David:

If I am not mistaken, Obama's name was on the Florida ballot,also, but he had no control over when Florida's primary took place.

To be fair, while the actua... (Below threshold)

To be fair, while the actual seating of delagates is a party matter, the elections themselves, (at least in Florida,) and the scheduling there-of are a state matter.

Of course in the face of the DNC rules, the state Dem's could always have scheduled (and paid for) their own caucus or another method of selecting their official national delegates at some point after the cut-off date.

Don't make Obama the 'victi... (Below threshold)

Don't make Obama the 'victim' of some nefarious plot. He has had plenty of experience in the Chicago political machine to know how to fix elections. I'm betting he was counting on this particular situation, to assert himself as wanting a 'fair' election.

The problem is that he wasn't counting on being ahead at this point, so his now wanting to change the rules would make him out to look as bad as Clinton. And of course, he wants 'change' from the 'old politics' (which served him very, very, well in Illinois).

Jay, Do you or anyone have ... (Below threshold)
Dave Blakley:

Jay, Do you or anyone have a link to copies (preferably pdfs of the "Both Clinton and Obama agreed -- in writing -- to not participate in either of your primaries, in accordance with the DNC."?


You are so right. Let's be ... (Below threshold)

You are so right. Let's be grownups and play by the rules we already set. It's like a kids' soccer game where, halfway through, because it's a "heart-breakingly close" game, the parents decide that the goal posts or nets will be moved a little bit -- "just so everyone's happy". And yes, Hillary Clinton has looked very devious and shifty throughout this process.

I don't recall either candi... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I don't recall either candidates campaigning in Florida or Michigan, so in that respect they kept their bargain..If memory serves me correct Hillary did hold a couple of fund-raisers in Florida and Obama had a national tv ad that appeared on Floridia stations. A campaign manager said it said it wasn't possible to suspend that national ad carried by local state Florida stations.

Jay-Point of order... (Below threshold)
Brian the Adequate:


Point of order - As long as money extracted by force by the state (ie taxes) were used to pay for these primaries as was the case in both MI and FL, these elections are NOT a private affair for the party.

I will never understand why the fact that these two primaries may not be counted should be a bigger outrage than that the states use tax money to pay for what should be a private party activity.

I'm more irritated by the D... (Below threshold)

I'm more irritated by the Democrat Party basically creating an environment that encouraged people to cross-over. Now they have the benefit of having had people crossing over with absolutely no penalty.

On the radio this morning I... (Below threshold)

On the radio this morning I heard a report about the on-going debate over the do-over in Michigan. The reporter - utterly unaware of the irony - observed that any do over would have to be decided on and scheduled by June 10. Because that is the deadline set by party regulations!

What so many people fail... (Below threshold)

What so many people fail to understand is that this is NOT a public election.

Thanks for making this point Jay. It's too often overlooked.

Hillary has also been complaining loudly about caucuses apparently completely oblivious to the long tradition of caucuses in both parties. Basically, the parties can decide to do this however they want (including drawing straws out of a hat).

As for Michigan, people have been calling Obama a dummy for taking his name off the ballot, but in fact this was a smart move. The reason is that at the time the Michigan primary was held Obama probably would have lost. By taking his name of the ballot he invalidated the results in a way that means those votes will never count.

I assume he couldn't do that same thing in Florida which means those votes probably will count (with a delegation cut in half I hope).

The Democratic Nat... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
The Democratic National Committee set its schedule -- as is its right -- for the primaries.

And each state sets it's schedule for holding any state election -- as is their right.

What so many people fail to understand is that this is NOT a public election. It is a private process, the wholly-owned enterprise of the Democratic National Committee.

All primaries are governed by state law, paid for by state tax payers, administered by state employees, and use state equipment. If it were a "wholly-owned enterprise of the Democratic National Committee" then these primaries wouldn't have be held before the date allowed by the DNC.

The presidential election is run in each state according to that state's laws. Florida and Michigan should quickly produce bills, that if passed into law, would prevent any party that disenfranchises the state's voters from placing their candidate on the ballet. The individual can run for President, but they have to follow the same process every other individual follows to get on the ballet. That would put the DNC on notice just as the DNC had put the states on notice. If the DNC wants their candidate to be on the ballet as a "Democrat" then they darn well better seat all the state's lawfully elected delegates.

Jay, Then you can write a piece titled "Suck it Up, DNC" and use all the same arguments, but from the other side.






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