Democrats Piling on Ignominy

11 Feb

  Finally! TNR writes an editorial with gravity and perspicacity. And, yes, the Clinton campaign is desperate, but not enough that I would condone .

The back story is simple: The Florida and Michigan legislatures moved their primaries forward in the calendar to exert greater influence on the nominating process. But, by scheduling their primaries before February 5, they broke rules set by both the Democratic and the Republican parties. The GOP punished these scofflaw states by stripping them of half their delegates to the Republican National Convention. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) took them all away–and, so, the Democratic candidates did not campaign in these states.

Without ads and stump speeches–Obama’s name wasn’t even on the ballot in Michigan–the actual primary votes in these states were meaningless beauty contests, and perhaps not even that. Knowing that their ballots meant nothing, many voters stayed home. And, as everyone expected, Hillary romped to victory on the basis of her brand name and voters’ lack of familiarity with the alternatives.

You can certainly debate the merits of the DNC’s move. What is beyond debate, though, is that all the major Democratic campaigns accepted this move without complaint. Clinton, along with her rivals, signed a pledge not to "participate" in the Michigan and Florida primaries.

But as soon as it became clear, in the wake of Iowa and on the eve of South Carolina, that Clinton potentially faced an extended battle for delegates, she began to demand that the rules be changed in the middle of the game. Her campaign has been arguing that the non-contested elections in Michigan and Florida should be made retroactively meaningful–and, therefore, that Clinton should be handed a gift of nearly 200 delegates. The Clinton team has wrapped its case in the logic of voter disenfranchisement. "I hear all the time from people in Florida and Michigan that they want their voices heard in selecting the Democratic nominee," Clinton has said.

There is a perfectly cogent case to be made that Floridians and Michiganders deserve their say. (Some of our best friends and elderly relatives reside in those states.) The way to address this complaint is to schedule new elections so that candidates can advertise, make speeches, organize voters, distribute yard signs–you know, do "democracy," a concept Clinton seems not to understand. The DNC, if it does decide to redress Clinton’s complaint, needs to do so immediately.

The New Republic hasn’t endorsed any candidate in this race. Our staff is divided, like the Democratic electorate.

But neutral observers can’t stand idly by as one campaign openly discusses stealing the nomination at the convention. Democrats need to recognize this potential gambit for what it is: a cynical, selfish hijacking of the democratic process. Clinton would not be laying the groundwork for this ploy unless it was potentially decisive. And the damage to Democrats (and democrats) would be profound. If Clinton is truly willing to trample so many institutions she professes to care about in pursuit of victory, she will have proven her enemies correct.

Keep up the good work, TNR! Twenty or more such good editorials might just keep my money flowing to you! However, nice try, but :

Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama, and their campaigns, are pressuring superdelegates to pledge support to them before Democratic voters in the remaining primaries and caucuses have made their decisions. But Democratic leaders need to let the voters sort out which one of these two remarkable people will lead our party and, we hope, the nation.

After listening to the voters, the superdelegates can do what the Democratic Party’s rules originally envisioned. They can ratify the results of the primaries and caucuses in all 50 states by moving as a bloc toward the candidate who has proved to be the strongest in the contest that matters — not the inside game of the delegate hunt, but the outside contest of ideas and inspiration, where hope can battle with experience and voters can make the right and best choice for our party and our future.

The Democratic party needs to restrain its fractious impulses before it sullies its democratic reputation and tosses the general election to the GOP. I’ve , and again on .

So, as a compromise, instead of executing the FL delegation (just joking!), as a penalty, why not compel the FL superdelegates to announce their pledges publicly and soon based on the results of the election mess they caused held last month. I know the elections were faulty, but as an expat I’m worried about being disenfranchised (again!). I doubt anything can be cobbled together in a short period of time to allow me to vote in absentia. And, I say this, too as an Obama supporter.

I’m astounded the DNC has not replied!

I’m to the broader electorate, but wait! What about the spectacle of a party that can’t even follow its own rules because of its own ambition? What was so egregious about Florida’s and Michigan’s actions that necessitated this debacle? Floridians and Michiganders can deal with their own elected officials. Democrats are after all, democratic! With respect, with the Democratic party. Even more so, we’re not flip-floppers and rule-breakers! It’s the accretion of waffling and fractious behavior that will undo the Democratic party, not the behavior of any one member, however popular, in the end.

So, just stop, and let sleeping dogs lie! The Florida and Michigan delegations have already ruined my 2008 elections. Let’s not provoke Democrats and independents to vote Republican! Or, change parties!

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