Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Florida and Michigan Inanity

If there's one thing the March 4th primaries made clear, it's that nothing has been cleared up in the race for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. While the vote counting is still incomplete, most counts have Hillary Clinton chipping away at Barack Obama's delegate lead by single digits. Not nearly the sweeping momentum change she and the media would have you believe. Although she clearly demonstrated through the popular vote that her campaign is still viable, she is on record as saying the only thing that matters are delegates, not popular vote. Having used this line of reasoning to belittle Obama's recent run of 11 straight victories, it's more than a tad disingenuous to cozy up to the popular vote at this stage in declaring her own comeback.

A more blatant blow to the face of logic, though, is Clinton's insistence that the delegates from Florida and Michigan be seated at the Democratic convention August 25-28 in Denver. As has been well-documented, those two states were stripped of their delegates after moving their primaries ahead of the traditional first-run states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Problem is, in staking out this position, Clinton expects whoever will listen to ignore some very cogent pieces of information. First, the delegates were stripped last year, well before the heart of the campaign season. The two states were given an opportunity by the Rules committee of the DNC to rescind their decisions and chose not to. That is, the legislature of the states were told that failing to comply would render the voters of their respective states voiceless at the convention and chose not to. If the voters are angry, as Clinton proposes, they need look no further than their own legislatures.

Second, Obama (as well as others) removed his name from the Michigan ballot. While all candidates agreed not to campaign in Florida or Michigan, Clinton refused to remove her name from the Michigan ballot, edging out 'uncommitted' by 15 points.

In order to suggest that the voters are being disenfranchised by not having their delegates seated, she has to presuppose that the current results are the complete will of the voters. That seems rather dubious considering Michigan voters weren't even given the chance to vote for Obama and certainly voter turnout was tempered in both states by the evident futility rendered by the early dates. Short of holding new contests, there is no possibility a seating of the current delegates in any way reflects the true will of the people.

While Clinton's faux populism is quaintly charming, it's a false argument. Suggesting that voters are disenfranchised by not seating delegates is to ignore that the contests were not an accurate test to begin with, especially with Obama not even on the ballot in Michigan.

In combination with some of her previous inflammatory suggestions regarding caucasses and which states are important and which aren't, this stance illustrates not a forthright desire to have every vote count, but rather a specious attempt to treat logic and reason as malleable instruments to suit her particular circumstances.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: