No Good Delegate Answer for DNC

National Primary Voting -- Power Struggle - Bowling for Primaries - Many Primary Ideas - No Good Delegate Answer for DNC - The “Ohio” Plan

With the debate over the role of super-delegates and the delegates from Florida and Michigan in choosing their nominee, the Democratic Party finds itself in a no-win situation. Without the unpleasant idea that the super-delegates might have to publicly buck the democratic primary voters to give the nomination to Senator Clinton, we would not hear the Clinton Campaign calling to have the delegates in those states that she won (Clinton was the only major candidate on the ballot in Michigan) seated to make the race more level.

If the party chooses not to seat delegates from those states they open the door for Republicans to attack them for not backing up their “make every vote count” rhetoric.

If they do choose to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan they face a whole range of paths to bruise themselves. First – any delegate seating will undermine the authority of the party to affect the primary schedule (that power struggle is what started this whole mess). If they choose to accept that defeat they then have to choose how to seat the delegates. They can take the existing results and hear people cry fowl who chose not to vote, or who chose to vote in the Republican primary, based on the fact that their votes would not count in the selection of the Democratic nominee. If they chose to hold new primaries in those states they have to cover the costs or persuade the states to pay for a second election and they have to choose who to allow to participate. Michigan has open primaries so they run the risk of having people vote in their new primary who already voted in the Republican primary (the reverse of what Markos advocated as Michigan arrived). If they choose to limit their primaries in any way it can only be an arbitrary line.

Interestingly, if this same eternal nomination fight were happening in the GOP most of the problems outlined above would not exist because they chose to respond to the states that abandoned the party calendar by only stripping half their delegates so the original votes can stand and represent the votes taken without undermining party authority.

When I went searching for the Daily Kos link above, I thought it was funny to discover that Markos made many of the same arguments I just made on this issue. He recommends seating the delegates from both states and splitting them 50/50 between Obama and Clinton. Why don’t we just award an extra 200 delegates for each state that obeyed the party rules with the same 50/50 split condition while we’re at it? A 50/50 split is meaningless in deciding the nominee. It expands the pool of delegates, but adding 200 delegates to the delegate count of each candidate only means that there is a larger convention. Getting 1191 delegates to win the Republican nomination is just the same as getting 2025 delegates to win the Democratic nomination – the numbers may differ, but it all comes down to who gets 50% + 1. Besides that, the 50/50 split is unenforceable – either they have a choice, or they have no vote to cast. There’s no point in inflating the numbers to say “Welcome to the convention, check your seat for a number – odds vote for Clinton, evens vote for Obama.”

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.
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2 Responses to No Good Delegate Answer for DNC

  1. Super-delegates are inherently, ahem, undemocratic. However, don’t underestimate the power of political pragmatism. Do Democratic opinion leaders really want to enoble an unelectable Hillary to undermine an Obama who has crossed party lines to create a great deal of political energy?

    The super-delegate’s support for Hillary is softer than many believe.

  2. David says:

    I can believe that the super-delegates will not override the verdict of the primary voters in the end, but even if they don’t it will be interesting to see if the party chooses to capitulate to those who want the Florida and Michigan delegates seated or if they will choose to weather the inevitable calls about how undemocratic it is to refuse to seat delegates from those states.

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