the michigan primary, cleaning up the mess

Sunday morning, Michigan Senator Carl Levin is scheduled to appear on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolous.” According to the Senator’s office, he’ll be discussing, “ongoing developments with Michigan’s primary and the seating of Michigan’s delegation at the Democratic National Convention.” I’m not sure what options we have available at this point. I thought for a while that the Democratic Party might jump in and fund a do-over primary, but Howard Dean just announced that wasn’t going to happen. In a nutshell, he said that the party would rather direct the $10 million that it would cost to have another primary in Michigan toward the presidential race. And he’s exactly right. The $10 million should go toward beating the Republicans come November, not cleaning up after Debbie Dingell and Jennifer Granholm. And, as our friend Cousin’s Vinyl just pointed out in a comment, it’s doubtful that the results of a Michigan primary would be enough to decide the election. I’ve said it before, but I’m of the opinion that the Democratic Party should not seat a Michigan delegation.

I should add that I think the existing primary system is incredibly fucked up, and that it needs to be changed. Iowa and New Hampshire are not representative of this country, and they should not have a disproportionate say over who our candidates are each election cycle. Change has to happen. I wholeheartedly agree. I don’t, however, agree with the way Debbie Dingell and company went about it. Jumping ahead in line, despite the warnings of the national party, was a stupid gamble. I’ve suggested it before, but why not try to build support among governors for something like a national primary lottery, that would decide the order each election cycle? But, no, I guess that would have been too difficult. It’s much easier to just push your way to the front of the line.

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12 Comments

  1. egpenet
    Posted March 8, 2008 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    A lottery! Yeah!

    Every citizen’s name goes in a hat and we pick one to be president … then another name to be vice president … etc.

    The computer could have the (s)elction completed within fifteen minutes, and we’d be done with all this political horseshit.

    I’d LOVE to see someone from whonoswhere (Cleveland or Billings or St. Louis)go up against Admjinidad (whatever) at the U.N.

    Not a bad idea for city (s)elections either.

  2. mark
    Posted March 8, 2008 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I think you probably understood, Ed, but, just in case others don’t, the idea wasn’t that there would be a lottery for President, but a lottery between states to determine the order of our primaries.

  3. egpenet
    Posted March 8, 2008 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Damn!

  4. elviscostello
    Posted March 8, 2008 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Mark, I agree. As a Dem/Progressive, Brewer, Levin, Stabenow, Dingell, and the Gov should be ashamed of what they did. I hate it, but they knew the rules, violated them anyway, and we should not be seated, nor should Florida.

  5. MaryD
    Posted March 8, 2008 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    irony such irony

  6. John on Forest
    Posted March 8, 2008 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    I went to the polls on that fateful Tuesday back in January, fully understanding the rules. I knew then that my vote was not going to be counted. As such I voted on the republican ballot instead.

    Our delegates should NOT be seated!!!! If they are, then I will be cheated out of a chance to have said something about what democratic candidate to nominate.

  7. MaryD
    Posted March 9, 2008 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    According to BFM:
    “Meanwhile, James Carville, a Democratic operative and Clinton supporter, said on CNN that he had been calling deep-pocket Democrats and pledged to come up with $15 million to help pay for primaries in Michigan and Florida. He challenged Obama supporter David Wilhelm, a former DNC chairman, to match it.

    “I’ll guarantee $15 million and have the Obama people put up $15 million,” Carville said. “And let’s go to the polls come June 7. I’ve got fund-raisers that are lined up ready to go. I think the Democratic Party is going to look absolutely absurd if they don’t have primaries and let these people in Florida and Michigan vote.”

  8. oliva
    Posted March 9, 2008 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    “I think the Democratic Party is going to look absolutely absurd if they don’t have primaries and let these people in Florida and Michigan vote” –Carville

    I hope he’s being sincere. (Oh, I remain so naive.)

    The Michigan “bosses” (who support Clinton unless some have changed their minds–rats, I missed Levin this morning) look absurd, and Clinton looks like an opportunist who is willing to break the rules. I admire Obama and Edwards’s respect for rules, despite self-interest or legitimate concern for democracy or the fact that the rules are not a bit perfect.

    It’s yucky the way Crist, Granholm, Clinton, and others are using the painful but hard-won “Count Every Vote” language of 2000 for wrong purposes.

    I think Michigan will go like Illinois and Wisconsin more than like mixed-up Ohio with a re-vote, so I’d just as soon we do it again.

  9. egpenet
    Posted March 9, 2008 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Even a caucus will cost the Dems a lot of money. It may be worth it in Michigan, just to prove Obama can win another caucus, which his Chicago machine is great at doing. He has a good organization in Michigan, so I wouldn’t be worried.

    Problem is, it’s so close already, and both a Michigan and a Florida contest now won’t solve the dilemma.

    It’s a super delegate battle and it’s going to continue through PA and the rest of the spring/summer.

    Rather than waste all the money and tear the candidates apart, which only feeds the McCain camp … let’s just get on with the scheduled events and see what happens at the convention. Sunday, bloody Sunday … is all I get in my head.

    The Dems may just eat their own children and leave the electorate with no choice but McCain.

    We shall see.

  10. oliva
    Posted March 10, 2008 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    It’s a super delegate battle and it’s going to continue through PA and the rest of the spring/summer.

    “You have a friend in Pennsylvania”–remember that bumper sticker? I hope we have way more friends there than we ever dreamed of. Lofty democratic and antislavery traditions there. Pride about civic involvement. Liberty Bell and Dr. J . . . It goes on and on. So many potential friends in Pennsylvania. (That is to say: road trip time.)

    (I was born in Philly, have a sister and many cousins living there; my mother’s family comes from north of there [coal-mining country]. Knowing them and just because, I remain hopeful about Pa., despite things [like Ohio and the easy way pundits equate the two].)

  11. Captain Pinecone
    Posted March 10, 2008 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I think the options need to be do a re-do or don’t seat the deligates. There is no way Clinton should get the delegates just because she didn’t follow the rules like Obama and Edwards. It definitely should be up to the State party to pay for the re-do if there is one. They made the bed…

  12. John on Forest
    Posted March 10, 2008 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    I just thought of something else related to how I voted in January. I went and voted on the Republican ballott.

    Who’s to stop everyone who voted on the Republican ballot from re-voting in a Democratic Re-Do??? How messed up would that be?!!!!

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