The rules committee of the Democratic Party must decide whether to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan. The two states’ leaders held primary elections earlier than they were allowed to under Democratic Party policies, and so last year the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic Party voted to strip those states of their delegates as a penalty for holding their primaries too early. Now some Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, want to seat the delegates anyway.
Apparently the lawyers for the Democratic Party have told members of the Rules Committee that the rules of the party require that the errant states lose at least half their delegates. They also concluded that the party was within its legal rights to bar all the delegates from voting. Their analysis shows that it would be illegal for the party to allow all the delegates to vote at the national convention. Last December was when party officials decided that delegates from Florida and Michigan would not be seated at the convention, and among those voting to disqualify those delegates was Harold Ickes, and adviser to Hillary Clinton.
But now Harold Ickes says that all the delegates should be allowed to vote at the convention.
And so does his boss, Hillary Clinton, although her husband Bill Clinton said last week that he thinks an appropriate penalty would be to count each delegate’s vote as half a vote.
What bothers me is how people think that any counting of the primary votes in Florida would be fair. By agreement, none of the candidates campaigned in those two states. Turnout was low, most likely because people realized that their votes wouldn’t count. Obama, among others, had even withdrawn his name from the ballot in Michigan, and voters there were urged to write in “uncommitted” if they wanted to vote for one of the withdrawn candidates.
Under those circumstances, there’s no way to consider the results of those primaries accurate or fair.
Have the people in those states been disenfranchised, as some are saying? Well, yes and no. They still have full voting rights in any government election, inculding the presidential election in November. What must be remembered is that the nomination process is a party function. Voting in a primary is not a right but a privilege bestowed by the political parties. It would be like taking a vote at work for the “staff member of the month,” and you disqualified two people because they turned in their ballots earlier than they were allowed to. It doesn’t mean that they lost their rights as American citizens.
The DNC Rules Committee will meet this Saturday to decide the fate of the convention and the delegates from Florida and Michigan. I predict that they will adopt the compromise of counting each delegates vote as half a vote, although I wish that they wouldn’t.
I wish that the Democratic Party would have the integrity to stick to their rules and what they’ve decided. I wish that they would realize that the rules and procedures are in place to make things as fair as possible, and that a decision that backs one of the candidates over the other (for reasons stated above) is not a fair decision.
Of course the ballot recounts of 2000 don’t give me confidence that they will do the right thing. And they propmt me to ask, “What’s up with Florida, anyway?”