Saturday, January 26, 2008

Disenfranchised Delegates

by shamanic

The dispute that's reared up in the last couple of days over Michigan and Florida delegates is as troubling as it is unexpected, but reading Ezra Klein and the comments below his post, I wanted to insert a few facts into the discussion:
1. The Republican state legislatures of Michigan and Florida moved their states' primaries up to be in violation of both parties' rules, but the RNC took a softer stand on delegates, agreeing to seat half. The DNC agreed, and the candidates also agreed, that states holding primary contests in violation of the DNC's calendar would have zero delegates seated.

In other words: this wasn't state Dem parties moving their stuff forward for fun. This was forced on them as a ploy to prevent Democratic presidential candidates from campaigning in two swing states early in the year.

2. In Michigan, the only major candidate to appear on the ballot was Hillary Clinton. Edwards and Obama, after all the candidates signed a DNC pledge not to campaign or participate in January contests, removed their names. It's a pretty literal reading of "participate", but apparently the Clintons only provide literal readings of words when being deposed.

In other words: Michigan voters didn't even have the option of voting for Obama or Edwards, having to choose "Uncommitted" if they were not supporting Clinton. That's not exactly how we generally think of good elections in this country.
This is tough stuff for me to stomach, wanting a politics of aspiration and hope and progress. Call me crazy, but I have this thing that I do where when I agree to something, I do my best to fulfill my obligation to the agreement. I'd like to think it's possible to elect leaders who also do their best to fulfill their obligations.

But I look at Hillary Clinton's campaign and I see people lacking in goodwill, overcome by raw ambition, and devoid of principle. This is exactly what drove my parents and tens of millions of other Republicans crazy during the 90s, and I'm not looking forward to a repeat.

I'm crossing my fingers for John McCain if Clinton wins the nomination. I disagree with him on everything, but I'll take him over four more years of this kind of shady, leave no opponent standing politics.

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