what about michigan’s delegates?

Eli Pariser, the leader of MoveOn, sent out an email a few days ago to members of the organization in Michigan, asking what we felt should be done concerning the results of our recently held, and much fucked-up Democratic primary. Here’s his note:

The Michigan Democratic Party broke the national Democratic Party’s election rules when they held their primary to select Michigan delegates ahead of most other states. As a result, Hillary Clinton was the only major candidate on the ballot, and Michigan was stripped of its delegates to the national convention.

Hillary Clinton won, and now her campaign is arguing that the results should count in the national primary contest. Can you answer our quick question below?

What do you think should happen? (All of these options are currently being discussed.)

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  1. egpenet
    Posted February 17, 2008 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    Democrat party? What party?

    Thanks Mrs. Dangle. You did it again.

    Rules are rules.

  2. Mark H.
    Posted February 17, 2008 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    If Michigan has a caucus, the expenses are far less than a primary – and the party, not the state, pays for a caucus. So let’s have a ‘do over’ Michigan Democratic caucus, with the two real contenders going head to head. The January primary was a farce – as it was no contest and unless you were for Hillary, you had no chance to vote for the candidate of their choice. Today’s AA NEWS has a fine column on this by Steve Daut of Chelsea. A do over caucus would also energize state Democrats, which would help win the state in November than a demoralized party base, which is the likely result if Hillary gets the state’s delegates without a context.

  3. egpenet
    Posted February 17, 2008 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Oh yeah, the Caucus … that range of mountains in Turkey or someplace over there. Hmm. OK.

    But, no … I don’t wanna go there, myself. If some Democrats from Michigan wanna go. Fine with me.

    Have fun.

  4. Posted February 17, 2008 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    What about someone like me, who voted on the Republican ballot because I knew my vote on the Dem ballot wouldn’t be counted (delegates not seated, for one thing, and unsure where a ‘non-committed delegate would cast his vote if they were seated). Would this mean I get to vote twice. Once for a Republican and a second time in a Democratic do-over?

    NO DO-OVER!!

  5. abby c
    Posted February 17, 2008 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    MI democrats may have strategized poorly, but they had the right idea. No presidential election will be truly democratic until the primaries are diversified early on. Largely white states should not have as much power as they do in narrowing the field from the get go, and states like MI with large populations of people of color should have more of a voice earlier in the process. Perhaps if that was the case our senators seeking office would have paid as much attention to laid-off auto workers as they have to the questionable benefits (and real profits) of ethanol. The only reason that a later primary now has an impact is because the race is tight, but states like MI should have that same influence each year however uncontested the primary. It shouldn’t take a compertitive race to make MI matter as much as New Hampshire.

    To say that MI dems broke the “rules” and should somehow suffer implies that those rules were fair in the first place, when in fact they disenfranchise voters of color and the working class. Only conservatives would be sticklers for such silly rules; progressives, in finding them unfair, would seek to change them in order to make things better for the future.

  6. egpenet
    Posted February 17, 2008 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    No one is saying the rules are fair. The Dems took a chance, broke the rules, and it cost all of the political and “fairness” costs about which abby c protests.

    OK, Michigan Dems … go to western asia … up in the Caucus mountains … talk to the gods … and lets see if something can’t come of that effort.

    Later, at the party’s national convention in this country, rewrite the rules.

  7. abby c
    Posted February 17, 2008 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    As to the rules, I may have largely been thinking of the NYT article that I read around the same time on the superdelegates. I just think that more emphasis needs to be put on the political machine that, in my mind, wrongly punished Michigan for making the rational move of moving its primary forward and less on Michigan for “jumping ahead,” as if our unimportance in the scheme of things is set in stone. There is no reason why we should be behind other states in an eternal hierarchical line of political handouts, esp. when those ahead of MI are already much better off economically and politically. They don’t deserve any more privileges than they already have. The democratic party would be a much more progressive party if it didn’t have to cater to a watered-down version of its base every four years in the presidential primarys in the “heartbelt” and northeast–the least likeable candidates end up having the most say in shaping the party and the issues get compressed to the narrowest portion of the middle class, a phantom class really as most people are struggling. I haven’t yet been researching Obama as much as I probably should, but I think that it is ridiculous that he didn’t campaign in MI and stand up for this state vis a vis the powers that be. He is exactly the kind of person to make the case for our coming earlier in the primary season and have those arguments take effect, but he played it safe instead.

  8. egpenet
    Posted February 17, 2008 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    The Obama organization in Michigan is quite strong. What he DID do here is build an organization, but NOT waste money on campaigning … since the “rules” applied and why waste valuable dollars. I wasn’t until his later victories that his war chest improved.

    Billary blew a bundle here on the “chance” the rules will be voided. Does it sound like I’d like her/him (Billary) to lose? Good. I do want her to lose those phantom delegates, as much as I’d like Mrs. Dingle and Mrs. Stabelater to go away.

  9. mark
    Posted February 17, 2008 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m with you, Abby. The system is fucked up. I’ve been of the opinion for along time that the order of primaries should be decided each year by random drawing. It’s the only fair way… I still think, however, that Debbie Dingle and company handled this poorly.

  10. Posted February 18, 2008 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Well, Granholm is a big Clinton friend/supporter and is vying for a position on her staff should she get elected. I wonder if that has anything to do with how this all went down. Hmmm…..

    You can’t have a re-do because of logistics (see John on Forest’s comment), you absolutely can’t count those delegates (that would be a crime!), so the best thing is to not seat any Michigan delegates and learn from our mistakes for next time.

    And, yeah, the system is crazy! Why don’t we just all vote on the same day? Is that too easy?

  11. Mark H.
    Posted February 18, 2008 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    There is no moral or legal problem with a citizen like John on Forest voting in one party’s presidenetial selection primary on one day, and then, on another day, voting in a different party’s presidential selection caucus. (Especially not in Michigan which like many states has an open primary – meaning that any registered voter can participate. ) There’s little precedent for a do over caucus (which would allow McCain Democrats a say in the Democratic party), but there’s less precedent for giving delegates to a candidate whose state backers orchestrated the system so that she faced an uncontested primary in a major state while a huge contest was going on nationally. And make no mistake about it: The Granholm/Clinton forces are hoping to seat a Michigan delegation, and planning on it being pro-Clinton. They want 55% of the delegates to be outright Clinton committed delegates, and 45% to be ostensibly uncommitted but actually pro Clinton delegates. This has been the goal all along, I think based on press coverage; what’s different now is that a scenario in which Michigan’s delegates decide a close nomination struggle has become plausible. If Mark Brewer and the state party bosses REALLY wanted Michigan to be relevant, which was their stated reason for breaking the national party rules, then they would be clamoring now for a Michigan caucus — which would bring the national press & Hillary & Obama to the state, getting lots of attention to our Michigan issues. I’ve love to hear them talk about Michigan’s job crisis and our solar industry potential; but that would not help Hillary win the nomination. Unless she won Michigan big.

  12. Edwards Fan
    Posted February 18, 2008 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    New rumor is that Clinton wants to split Michigan’s delegates with Obama.


  13. detroit tiger
    Posted February 18, 2008 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    The bottom line is this.

    1) There is NO WAY, repeat NO WAY, the delegates will be seated based on the Jan. 29 results. PERIOD!

    2) There is clearly time for a do-over. This could be done in May or June. The DNC would pay for a caucus. I am not advocating a do-over, I am simply stating there is time.

    3) The 3rd option, which I personally favor, is to create a Michigan delegation which (minus the super-delegates) would be split 50/50 between Clinton and Obama. Florida has already discussed this possibility.

    Under this scenario, the delegates from both states would be seated, WITHOUT the delegates SKEWING the results of the other states.

    Basically, if option 2 is unacceptable, option 3 is the ONLY possible scenario.

    The delegates WON’T be seated based on the Jan. 29 results under ANY circumstances. Michigan Democrats need to realize this.

  14. detroit tiger
    Posted February 18, 2008 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    In the previous comment I ,obviously, meant the Jan. 15th results.

  15. egpenet
    Posted February 18, 2008 at 5:08 pm | Permalink


    I hope you are right. Like the guy on TV … “Nooo waaay.”

  16. Posted February 18, 2008 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Though I would love a do-over, I can’t say that I can come up with a principled reason for it. The rules were known ahead of time to everyone, and we intentionally broke them hoping we wouldn’t be called on it. We were. It’s too late now. If there’s a re-do, then next time someone wants to shoot to the front of the pack, they will. The rules will become meaningless.

    Though I can’t imagine seating the delegates and letting most of them vote for Clinton merely because she kept her name on the ballot, I do think a lot of bridges will be burned if that occurs. I’m not clear on what principles she was following or upholding by remaining on the ballot, but they sure raise an awful lot of questions about which way her moral compass is pointed.

  17. Posted February 19, 2008 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    “No presidential election will be truly democratic until the primaries are diversified early on.”

    No. No no no no NO.

    No presidential election will be truly democratic until all voices are equally represented. Not just the “approved” party that continues to pretend it’s two. Case in point: There were 9 people on the ballot for president in Michigan in 1992. How many of these presidential hopefuls did most people know about? How many were invited to the NATIONAL debates? Exactly 3 and one of them bought his way into the election. Fuck your primaries. I’m so disgusted with the process… AUGH!

  18. Posted February 23, 2008 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Some very good comments. It seems the UnDemocratic Party as they should be called till they call for and design a fair primary system among other things. The press, including Michigan’s local papers, have shamefully under-reported this story. During the days leading to the primary there was barely a mention of the prospect that the delegates were probably never be seated. Senator’s Clinton’s victory in Michigan is not very impressive when you consider she it was Clinton 55 to uncommitted 40. At least 40 percent of Democratic voters went to the trouble of showing up to the polls to say ABC (Anybody but Clinton), that doesn’t even speak to those who stayed home in protest (or confusion) and those who voted in the Republican primary instead.

    Chairman Dean should be more interested in encouraging participation from Florida and Michigan “punishing” them. Is this Stalinist USSR?

    At this point I think the only fair thing to do is at this point is to appoint a diversity of superdelegates from Michigan and Florida which represent the demographics of each respective state.

    There needs to be a more rational comprehensive primary process constructed for future elections!

    Are most experienced Democ

  19. egpenet
    Posted February 23, 2008 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    So, change the rules. But in the meantime, Ms. Debbie and Ms. Dangle might just as well go shopping at Lakeside.

  20. Posted February 25, 2008 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    This is a state caucus…Not national caucus…The state should decide how it wants to have it…Move it ahead move it back..or even cancel it..So now Michigan and Florida are no longer part of the election. I guess that makes them independent nations now.

  21. 1950democrat
    Posted March 9, 2008 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Obama REMOVED HIS OWN NAME from the MI ballot. Now he’s whining because his name wasn’t on it? (Removal was NOT required or requested by the DNC.)

    Dean and the DNC set an unrealistic punishment, but later suggested a re-do within their rules. Now Obama is against THAT.

    Maybe he is stalling in hope that there will be no time to print ballots and the re-do will have to be a caucus? Or maybe he wants riots in the street at the convention — has he denounced the threats of rioting by Sharpton and others?

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