Friday, March 7, 2008

What to do about FL and MI

The new war in the Democratic campaign for president is about whether or not to seat the delegates from the states of Florida and Michigan. Florida and Michigan held their primary elections prior to February 5th, thus violating DNC rules. The states are going back and forth with Howard Dean and the Democratic National Committee about the controversy. The Clinton and Obama campaigns are also weighing in; Sen. Clinton wants the delegates to be seated while Sen. Obama's campaign would rather hold another primary or caucus.

The tragedy here lies with the disenfranchised voters of each of these states, though the states are to blame. I find it unreasonable to leave out people from the process at the convention, but it also unfair for Sen. Obama suffer for following DNC rules. The only reasonable way to solve this delima seems to be to have another election. I am not saying this simply as an Obama supporter, but out of fairness to both the campaigns and the voters.

Is it fair to seat Michigan's delegates when Sen. Obama's supporters didn't even have a chance to vote for him because his name did not appear on the ballot? Of course not, and in a proportional system for allotting the delegates, it is unreasonable to believe that Obama would not have at least won a portion of Michigan's delegates had there been a real contest. The DNC threatened candidates who campaigned early in Florida, where Clinton also won, so should Obama also suffer for following the rules? Anyone who will take of their Obama or Clinton partisan blinders would be able to see that it is both not fair to leave people out, and it is unfair to punish a candidate for following the rules.

So that leaves one option in the name of fairness; hold a new primary. While each of these states are now complaining that a new primary a caucus will be costly, shouldn't they have considered the implications and or repercussions for their actions? They were warned by the DNC not to hold early primaries. They didn't follow the rules, and now they are turning around and saying that Howard Dean is being irresponsible. Howard Dean is not responsible for disenfranchising the voters of Florida and Michigan, it is their own selfish state legislatures and governors. These states thought that they could have more clout if they voted early, but as it turns out the conventional wisdom about this primary season was wrong. States like Wyoming and Mississippi who elected to hold their votes later are having a bigger impact on this race because of their patience.

The states of Florida and Michigan should have a new vote in the name of fairness. Don't disenfranchise the voters, and don't punish candidates who follow the rules set out by the DNC.

No comments: