Also, Not That Anyone Asked Me
Posted on May 31, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 61 Comments
But I still think Florida and Michigan should get bupkus. Just saying.
Posted on May 31, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 61 Comments
But I still think Florida and Michigan should get bupkus. Just saying.
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Athena Scalzi, contributor – AMS
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I disagree, I think Florida and Michigan should get nada.
I fall into the Zilch category myself, with some affinity for the Zippo set as well.
If you can’t follow the rules, you can’t play the game.
I was thinking more along the lines of gornischt.
Fact is, rules are rules:
1. They wanted to get more media attention to their state by moving their primaries.
2. They were told that if they did so, their delegates would not be seated.
3. They really have no grounds to complain.
Hilary is… well, exactly who we knew she was, isn’t she…
I still don’t think the voters should be punished for the sins of the state. Course, I also think the voters should maybe tell the state that they want to see other peoeple.
For those of you asking WWID, no, vote Republican is not the answer.
The fact is I don’t care. You guys have so far managed to survive 7 years of my most embarrassing disciple and have nowhere to go in November but up. A little suffering is good for the soul. Well, done, America. You’re going to have a president with a 3-digit IQ just in time for the seven skinny cows to march in. You’ll be fine.
Oh, and Mr. Cheney? We know you read this blog. Let’s just say you might as well get used to it being very, very warm from here on out…
I thought the rules about primary scheduling were stupid to begin with, but they’re still the rules.
And Florida and Michigan did break them.
I may be in the minority on this here, but I do believe they should get something out of all this.
I’m sorry, but they’ve managed to screw up the primary season badly. They haven’t earned bupkiss, zilch, zip, or nade. They’ve earned squat.
And I will not budge on this.
I don’t think anyone here would believe Hillary would be lobbying so hard to include Florida and Michigan if the situation were reversed. Apparently most of the rest of the country believes she’s just trying to be “fair”,
While I’d be very happy about Florida getting nothing, I would also be happy with the solution floated a month or two by one of the CNN.com columnists: split the delegates down the middle. Hillary gets half, Obama gets half. Voila: the voters aren’t “disenfranchised”, neither candidate gets an unfair benefit from all this, and then the media and everyone else can STFU about the whole thing.
Needless to say, I’m not holding my breath.
As long as whatever they are given doesn’t influence the outcome of the election (and I can’t imagine it will), then they are essentially being given nothing for their truculence, while still not making the Michigan and Florida voters too mad at the Democrats. The delegates will, hopefully, be symbolic and nothing more.
You guys are ridiculous. Florida and Michigan should get a warm, sympathetic look and a gentle pat on the hand, all while being told “There, there.”
To suggest they should get nothing is election-year flamebait.
As a proud Michigander and proud Barack Hussein Obama supporter (not to be confused with being a proud Democrat. Party politics piss me off.) I offer the following:
We shouldn’t be counted. We broke the rules. The rules are quite clear. We shouldn’t get a damn thing.
But, alas, we will, so, here’s the only way to do it:
Give Obama the Michigan uncommitted vote. Think about it. 40% of people showed up just to say “I know this doesn’t count, I know this does nothing, but I really don’t want Hillary Clinton to be president.” And that says something.
So, Hillary Clinton should get half of the delegates she would have been awarded, Obama should get half of the delegates that would have gone to uncommitted.
Similar situation in Florida: give em half.
I think the most compelling reason not to count the votes is that some people are complaining about the ‘disenfranchisement’ of the MI and FL voters. Well, what about the people who didn’t vote because they knew their votes wouldn’t count? Why should they be punished for following the rules and the rule-breakers awarded? Isn’t that just as wrong?
Give them nothing or give them each half. It winds up pretty much the same. FL bothers me less than Michigan. Ms Clinton was the only Democrat on the ballot and she still had a substantial block vote against her–that should tell you something.
I wish (here I go into Fantasy World, again) that the primaries were held by region of the US, and there was a regular rotation of which region went first. I know this makes too much sense to ever be applied to US politics, but it’s a nice idea.
The Democrats should do exactly what the republicans did, after all, they’ve gotten so good at it the past 7 years.
Sarcasm aside, in this case it won’t screw the country over, just the opposite. Obama won’t lose, Hillary and her supporters get to count a “victory”, the state gets punished but still gets represented. Everyone gets what they want EXCEPT the republicans, who want more chaos in the Democratic party.
Give em’ half.
So, let me get this straight. Because two tiny states in flyover country got their feelings hurt, two other states that actually have more than 3 electoral votes should not be given any say in who the Democratic candidate will be…
I can’t imagine how this helps the Democratic party, but I’m enjoying the spectacle. My favorite part (as a Floridian) is the overwhelming abandonment of the “count every vote” position by the vast majority of the Democratic establishment.
Scalzi – What do you think Florida and Michigan should be entitled to at the DNC?
(I’m not quite clear if you are looking for someone to ask you, so I figured to be safe, I’ll ask. At least you can’t say no one asked. Unless… you consider me no one. HEY!!! I have feelings, you know.)
I live in Michigan and I said at the time that moving the primary early was a bad move in the first place, and I said that Hillary remaining on the ballot when others pulled their name was a bad move. Florida is a little different, because the Republican majority there selected the primary date, as I understand it, but the Dems could’ve opted out.
Either way it’s the Democratic Party bigwigs in both states which aided and abetted this mess. So seat half the delegates by whatever distribution, since I believe that’s the official rule and not zero — and NONE of the superdelegates from MI and FL.
Not that my views count for anything. I wrote in “Obama” on my MI primary ballot because I didn’t think it right to vote for anyone whose name was still on the ballot AND I refused to vote for No Preference. “They” said no write-ins, so it didn’t count. Too bad.
Of course it’s not the state. Primaries are internal party affairs. So it’s their parties that did this to them. And it may bit a bit overly cynical but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Hillary and her friends on the respective state party committees set this up very much on purpose. But conspiracy theories aside what we -know- they’re trying to do now is game the system. And to reward that behavior would be a very bad thing indeed. The party members in either state need to take up the issue with their state party committees.
As a Florida resident, it really irks me to think that either:
a) our votes should not count, or
b) someone else should disenfranchise us by ignoring our actual vote and arbitrarily giving Clinton half and Obama half. That’s the same as not counting us (except for Obama, for whom it creates a victory).
Why should the political bosses (not voters, mind you, but politicians who think they’re better than us) decide when we can vote, or who we should have voted for?
The people of Florida and Michigan have voted. Let our votes count.
Michigan and Florida should sit the heck down and shut the heck up.
Disenfranchised my fanny.
By refusing the follow the rules and regulations that were clearly stated to them, they were attempting to continue the disenfranchisement of me, and voters in every other state with a primary after mid-April.
Well, their plan backfired, and for the first time in my life I actually get to have my primary vote count. For the first time in my life, there was actually a like at the polling station when I went to vote on primary day.
Too bad if they don’t like it. Disenfranchised is pretty much how I’ve felt for the past 20 years or primary elections, and I still vote and have faith in the electoral process.
“Why should the political bosses (not voters, mind you, but politicians who think they’re better than us) decide when we can vote,”
That’s kind of the entire basis of the concept of a party. Without rules about how things are going to be done it devolves into mob rule. Your state committees are the ones who didn’t even kiss you first and are the ones with whom you have a gripe. Think for a moment about the consequences of rewarding your state committees for flaunting the rules. Not a pretty picture is it? The correct solution is for you all to work within your state party to solve this problem. To set the delegates will simply encourage bad behavior all the way around in the future for you to solve this problem at the state party level by getting rid of those who did this to you would discourage it.
Split them evenly for the first x number of votes. If there is no clear winner allow them to vote proportionally according to the popular vote, release them after that according to the states’ delegate rules.
Rules are the rules, but the actual voters, as opposed to the state party politicos, should have their say. Now if the Democratic Partys in each state allowed their members to vote on moving the primaries, against the will of the national -party, then bubkis it is.
I read an interesting idea on Fark a while back about the whole primary silliness. Their idea was that the states with the smallest number of electoral votes have their primaries first… then the next smallest… and so on.
I realize no one would ever agree to it, but it seemed like a good idea!
Up front, let me apologize if my point of view seems simplistic – I’m no political expert, and I’m genuinely asking here, not just arguing for argument’s sake.
Here’s what I’m confused about:
Did the voters have any say about when their primary occurred? I know for me, I get a little pamphlet in the mail that says “your primary will be held on so-and-so day at so-and-so place.”
Unless I had the foresight to request an absentee ballot as insurance against future scandal (I didn’t), I pretty much have to vote when and where they say. I can’t really say, “You know – Tuesday doesn’t work for me, how about Thursday after next?”
People keep saying “Florida knew the rules!” As if it was one big organism. As an individual Californian citizen, I don’t think I could have stopped California (the Big Organism) if it had decided to go down a ruinous primary voting path.
So it seems to me like the people who do the actual voting are being punished because the people who run their party broke their rules. Breaking the rule is bad. Shame on them! Some suitable punishment should be determined and meted out. But disallowing delegates seems like me yelling at my cats if I came home and found a vase knocked over. They have no idea why they’re being chastised, and three of the four cats had nothing to do with it anyways. I probably shouldn’t have left the vase out where it can be knocked over in the first place.
Aren’t we losing sight of the stated purpose? The reason for the voting is to determine the will of the populace via representational democracy. Regardless of the date, shouldn’t we err on the side of allowing the actual citizens’ votes to count?
Michelle K @22:
If you want to follow the rules, how about this: Have the DNC follow the 50% reduction in delegates RULE they have in place for states that hold a primary before Feb. 5. The reason the DNC doesn’t want to do that is that their own stupid action of pressuring the candidates to not campaign or give legitimacy to the state primaries by appearing on the ballot made the situation worse.
Also, am I wrong in thinking Howard Dean the least effective DNC Chairman in the last 20 years?
I think it’s idiotic that New Hampshire and Iowa have so much power when they are so not representative of the US population or the democratic base–I favor a rotational system.
That said, the democrats have never advocated “counting every vote.” The dnc has always recognized that fraudulent and unfair votes should not be counted. The problem in 2000 was counters throwing out every democratic vote they could get away with while counting every republican vote they could get away with. Then, as now, that Democratic party wanted the rules applied uniformly and fairly so that one candidate wasn’t given an unearned advantage. The rules were not applied uniformly or fairly in Florida or Michigan–because Hillary Clinton chose to break them. And just like in 2000, the party’s calling foul. The difference is that this time around, they have a chance to do something about it.
Does it suck that Florida and Michigan are getting the shaft? Yeah. But this election isn’t about Florida or Michigan; it’s about the United States. Counting those votes wouldn’t be fair to the rest of us, who did follow the rules, did have fair elections, and have chosen a candidate accordingly. The last time we let the losing candidate win because Florida decided to hold an unfair election, it turned out pretty badly for both America and the world. I’m hard-pressed to grasp how allowing them to undermine the rest of the country’s choice again, with another unfair election, is in any way fair or democratic.
How about the Dems in Fl & MI getting the heads (pikes optional) of the folks who decided to ignore the rules and hold early primaries? Might make folks take voting more seriously in the future.
“People keep saying “Florida knew the rules!” As if it was one big organism. As an individual Californian citizen, I don’t think I could have stopped California (the Big Organism) if it had decided to go down a ruinous primary voting path.
So it seems to me like the people who do the actual voting are being punished because the people who run their party broke their rules.”
I live in Florida. I knew the votes wouldn’t count. The reason no one objected is because it was anticipated that Florida’s vote would be largely meaningless anyway. No one expected such a contested primary.
The votes of Florida and Michigan were known AT THE TIME to be symbolic, but weightless. Sorry. Who’s to say that the symbolic votes DIDN’T influence other States?
The parties of Florida and Michigan assumed the decision would be made and GAMBLED away their direct influence. If you live in one of these states and are upset, take it out on your elected officials, not whine to the rest of the country. The rest of the country didn’t screw you.
There are uncounted, “beauty contest” primaries in some caucus states. These votes aren’t counted.
If someone who was ineligible for voting voted, the vote isn’t counted.
If someone “voted” by shouting “I vote for ” in their apartment, but did not in fact actually go to the polling place or place an absentee ballot, the vote isn’t counted.
Votes are counted according to the rules, for good reasons. FL and MI broke them (and the Democrats did vote for it, at least in FL, I don’t know about MI); and the rules committee has the authority to turn the default 50% penalty into a 100% penalty. Seating the delegates disenfranchises those that didn’t vote because it didn’t count.
However, as it turns out the Florida delegation is being seated with a half-vote each (gain of 19 for Clinton), and the Michigan delegation is being seated 69 Clinton – 59 Obama with a half-vote each.
So if you wanted a 50% penalty, there you go for Florida, and for Michigan it was 73-55 in Clinton – Uncommitted. I’m not sure where the swing of 4 came from, but as the vote was an unrepresentative farce, I’m not going to worry about it; I think it was an artifact of a compromise.
Being as how several (I think four?) states held primaries before either of the two in question, I don’t understand why they’re being penalized. It seems to me a rather arbitrary (not to mention: wrong-headed) system.
But, then, Florida should be used to the Democrats’ not counting it, shouldn’t they?
I have plenty of issues with the primaries as currently held; some redesign (based on demographics and delegate count, I think) would do wonders to making it a sane system. There’s nothing special about Iowa or New Hampshire.
But as the dates of primaries are set by state lawmakers, the kind of centralized control this requires doesn’t currently exist. The only way to do it would be to ensure that the DNC/RNC could, well, punish states that broke the rules.
Which is an idea that seems to be raising some objections.
As a general question:
A likely situation right now is Obama reveals a bunch of superdelegate support over the next few days, and then picks up enough delegates from the next few primaries to pass the magic majority number.
At which point the rest of the undecideds tip for him, he ends up with a rather significant pledged delegate lead, and the Florida and Michigan delegations end up with full voting privileges at the convention because it doesn’t matter anymore.
What would everyone’s reaction to this be? I’d be kinda annoyed, due to the whole “break the rules for free” implication. The race to vote as soon as possible is bad enough as it is.
From the BBC website:
“The US Democratic Party has taken a compromise decision on delegates from Florida and Michigan, two states barred from choosing a presidential candidate.
Both states’ delegates will be allowed to attend August’s convention, but will only have half a vote each.
Hillary Clinton, who is lagging behind Barack Obama in the race, wanted all delegates to be allowed to attend.”
Half each equals nothing, really.
Anyone have any doubt that if Obama had carried MI and FL, Hillary’s supporters and lawyers would be singing the “Rules are Rules” song right now?
Neither Obama nor Clinton can win the election in November without Michigan or Florida. Pissing off the Democrats in those states and pushing them towards the Republicans is foolish. McCain is a pretty popular fellow — regardless of his record — because, whether it’s true or false, he comes off as a regular guy with integrity. Telling voters in key electoral states to sit out the most important DNC in forever would be a nice way to have the Democratic Party self-destruct, once again.
So it seems to me like the people who do the actual voting are being punished because the people who run their party broke their rules.
Except that the party leaders are not drawn out of a hat.
They are, in many if not most cases, the elected officials of that state. In WV, the first person I would think to contact would be the secretary of state, since she is in charge of state elections.
And FWIW I think the push to move primaries is insane. It means you must 1) have a separate primary for state and local seats, or 2) for state and local candidates to declare and campaign even earlier.
What is the problem with b? It means that it then becomes harder and harder for the average person to seek elected office in their state or city or county. Just as the costs of federal elections are skyrocketing, so are the costs of state and local elections.
In the end, this means that to run for political office you must 1) already have name recognition in your area, from being an incumbent or from being famous for something else 2) be independently wealthy or 3) raise large amounts of donations which places these candidates in the position of being indebted to their donors.
So this isn’t just a federal issue, where we Americans are sick and tired of having presidential campaigns last for four freaking years. It’s also an important state and local issue, that affects not just the influence of any particular state upon the nation, but it also soundly affects state an local politics, most likely adversely.
In my opinion anyway.
Marko @ 36. No doubt at all. Fair means whatever benefits her, and unfair means whatever might benefit Obama. She signed the same pledge everyone else did, then went ahead and campaigned anyway, knowing there would be no meaningful opposition, just in case she needed those states. I don’t want that sort of perfidious person for the next president.
Steve @ 21: The people of Michigan and Florida didn’t vote. Some of the people of Michigan and Florida voted for some of the candidates. Some of the voters stayed home, because they understood that the rules said there was trouble. Some of the voters registered various protest votes. The party said not to campaign in those states, so the candidates didn’t. So it wasn’t a fair contest by anyone’s definition — why do you insist it be treated as one?
Any and all solutions are going to suck. No one is going to be happy.
I think it’s telling that in 1968 the primaries didn’t start until March. It’s all been made more difficult because some states are moping around saying “Why is this state more important that others (me)?” and then some states crying “We’re too important to be ignored.” The irony is that some of those states moping and some of those states crying are the same states.
When they set up the Constitution, the Framers decided on an Electoral College system rather than just a simple majority vote, so that both large and small states would end up having a say. It’s a weird system, but it does work. The party conventions and their delegate schemes are very much the same thing. It’s a weird system, but it does work.
And in this year, no one is going to get it right. It just is.
Well, I predicted it right down the line many weeks ago.
For those not paying full attention to the details of the rules, South Carolina and New Hampshire also jumped the line drawn in Rule 11.A without permission, but were given sympathy waivers. The 50% penalty is as prescribed in the original rules–the 100% penalty was invented after the fact.
Politics ain’t beanbag, and the rules are not what anyone really admits too.
Membership in a political party is part of democracy, but how a political party decides to nominate a candidate is no democratic. Party rules are not part of the US constitution. The candidate could be selected by video game competition.
NO ONE WAS DISENFRANCHISED. Everyone still has full voting rights. A vote for a candidate from a party if not what your franchise is about.
Some people are so uneducated about voting I wonder why the bother at all.
The party meeting today decided to seat the delegations, but their votes would count as half votes. Hillary said she is considering an appeal. To whom, I wonder.
1) I am confused by those who in Michigan and Florida after the Dems have now decided to give the votes half-power, are still saying they’ll vote for the Republican instead. Because if I recall correctly, the Republican Party gave the votes half-power as well. So it’s now “We’re mad at the Democratic Party, we won’t vote the Democrat anymore, even though the Democrat represents our views, we’ll vote for the Republican we don’t like as much as a candidate, and for the Republican Party that disenfranchised the voters as well.” All so very confusing.
2) For those who agree that the DNC should punish the states/state party for their actions, but not the voters, I challenge you to come up with a suitable punishment that doesn’t punish the voters.
I’m having difficulty. The only thing I can think of is a heavy fine of all party members who were involved in the state decision…money going to the campaign coffers. But I’m not sure the national party has the power to exact that fine.
Transdutch @ 44. “For those who agree that the DNC should punish the states/state party for their actions, but not the voters, I challenge you to come up with a suitable punishment that doesn’t punish the voters.”
Make the states/state party leaders who actually made the decision pay for a new democratic primary? A real live actual do-over, with all candidates on the ballot and allowed to campaign, and every voter deciding whether or not to vote based on the knowledge that THIS time, their delegates will be seated.
You gambled, you had your primary too early and it won’t count. Now do it again, right.
It’ll never happen, of course, but I (in my innocence) wonder why nobody ever floated it as a possible solution.
Hillary’s losing so we have to endure all this.
To me the American process seems to have more in common with a poker game than democracy.
it’s more like a game of full-contact “Musical Chairs”, with weapons allowed.
The Florida democratic committee did not choose the date of the Florida Primaries; the state legislators did (Republican controlled).
The people of Florida did not choose the date of the primary.
Why would the (Republican controlled) state legislators want to kneel down before the Democratic national party bosses and kiss ass?
Why have the Democratic Party bosses not applied their rules equally to all states? Same reason that they came up with this favored-state primary schedule. Because they want to influence and control the results, not merely listen to the will of the people.
A hell of a lot of people came out and voted for Clinton and Obama in Florida. Obama even had ads running in Florida (nationally broadcast). I heard that the turnout was a record. The people of Florida voted, and our votes should count. Not half count.
I feel sympathy for the voters of Michigan, since Obama’s name was removed from their ballot (not the fault of the people of Michigan), so their choice was largely Clinton or “none of the above”.
I fully agree with Marko @ 36 that the positions taken by Clinton and Obama regarding Florida and Michigan are entirely driven by the actual vote results, not by any notion of fairness to the people. They both are politicians, after all (no offense).
Steve #49 – I assume then you are for Hillary.
She’s not going to win. Let it go.
Republicans in Florida initially lost their delegates as well. You also voted for your government in Florida. Do better at not electing Republicans next time.
“The people of Florida voted, and our votes should count.”
First of all, the people of Florida didn’t vote. The registered Democrats of Florida voted…in a party primary, not a general election. All this hysteria about dienfranchisement is nonsense.
Also, lots of Democrats in FL and MI stayed home because they knew the primary results wouldn’t count. What about them? Do they not deserve to be heard, just because they obeyed the rules set by the national DP? How do you propose *they* get to have their votes counted?
Once again, this wasn’t a General Election. It was a *party primary*. It’s not like they’re being disenfranchised or anything. They can all still vote in the General Election.
A lesson to despots: If you run unopposed and still managed to get only 55% of the vote, don’t crow about “winning” and “will of the people.”
Some of you in Florida are forgetting that the evil republican legislature was elected by you, and that they changed the dates of both primaries, not just the democratic one. And I don’t recall any complaint whatsoever from Floridians when the date was moved. It was more like “YAY! We get to have an early primary!”
Only one candidate decided to be a whining baby and demand that the rules be changed after the election was held. To the detriment of the democratic party, that whiner was one of theirs. All the candidates agreed to this rule, in writing. The others are adult enough to stand by their pledges. All that this fight has done for me is make me more pleased that I voted for Obama, and more determined that I will never vote for Hillary Clinton.
The purpose of a primary election is to help party leadership choose candidates. This means that party rules are the ones that count.
A lesson to despots: If you run unopposed and still managed to get only 55% of the vote, don’t crow about “winning” and “will of the people.”
As recently displayed by Burma, if they can hold an election in the middle of a disaster zone and still get 99% participation and 99% in favor, if you can’t get more than 75% of the vote running unopposed You’re Doing It Wrong!
Somewhere in all this is a really swell LOLCAT picture — I just haven’t seen it yet.
This was actually floated for both Florida and Michigan. Florida the idea died because the state party refused to pay for it. Michigan’s died of politics, not sure why (it’s been a while); Obama may have killed it, which is annoying.
All that this fight has done for me is make me more pleased that I voted for Obama, and more determined that I will never vote for Hillary Clinton.
Almost my sentiments exactly. I can’t say “never,” because I’d still vote for Clinton over most anti-choice candidates when there are Supreme Court appointments at stake. But it would be with many more misgivings than I had at the start of her campaign.
Thank you, strech, I was unaware of that. (And if Florida’s party refused to pay for the do-over, they had even LESS of a right to complain when the party decided to stick to the rules and punish them for having a forbidden early primary.)
The Michigan Legislature refused to pay for a new primary, and the Clinton campaign wouldn’t agree to a caucus paid for by the DNC. There were other issues, since Michigan was an open primary, and having only a open primary for a Democratic candidate would allow Republicans a free hand to take part in Operation Chaos.
Steve: The people of Florida voted, and our votes should count. Not half count.
The members of the Democratic Party of Florida were told by the party that the votes would not be counted in the primary, so many of them (unlike you) followed the rules and stayed home.
Next time, follow the rules. If their had been no votes, you’d have some sane means for a resolution where all delegates could be seated.
When the Democratic party has alienated enough of its own members, and Michigan and Florida democrats decide to just stay home, or to vote for Nader, are we going to hear the same old, “a vote for Nader is a vote for McCain” crap again? While the Democratic ticket loses again? Will the party EVER figure this out? How many lost elections will that take?
You think they should get bupkis? Well, they think they should vote for somebody else.
Maybe, just maybe, it is a bad idea to disenfranchise your own? That the answer to widespread complaints that their primary votes don’t count, ought not to be making their primary votes not count? You think?
Democrats lost the last two national elections largely through sheer, bullheaded determination to lose them. I see that hasn’t changed.