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MI & FL delegate reinstatement process staggers forward – no thanks to voters

bringiton's picture

The Democratic voters of Michigan and Florida are unhappy, or so we read. They, or if you will, their representatives, moved up their primary dates and drew a punishment from the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee. Since then, what have the voters of Michigan and Florida actually done to try and reverse or repair their problem? Nothing but complain.

But what could they do, these poor little voters, in the face of such a huge hurdle? Isn’t it hopeless, being confronted by such a firm rebuke by such powerful people? Not everyone has thought so. Until Congress passed the federal Voting Rights Act, blacks in Mississippi were systematically and universally excluded from voting and public office. Members of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) joined with Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) to form the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) in April of 1964, specifically to challenge the credentialing of the existing Mississippi Democratic Party at the Democratic National Convention..

MFDP members and supporters put their lives on the line. Organizers were systematically arrested, routinely beaten, and killed. When Fannie Lou Hamer, one of the MFDP co-chairs, first tried to register, her house was riddled with 16 gunshot rounds while she slept. At her second try she was arrested, held without being charged or arraigned, and beaten repeatedly over many hours.


Three voter organizers, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman, were kidnapped in June of 1964 by local police and the KKK, beaten until most of the bones in their bodies were broken, shot and buried in the mud of a delta levee.


Through it all the open-registration, interracial MFDP held district caucuses and a state convention, fielding a full slate of delegates in complete compliance with Democratic Party Rules.


These brave people risked their lives for the right to participate in democracy.

In 2008, faced with far, far less in the way of difficulties, the voters of both states have been content to blame others while waiting for Somebody to fix their problem. People like Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi and even Harry Reid have been widely criticized for the debacle, even though none of them has ever had any authority whatsoever to intervene in the process; but each of them is a Somebody, the fault must be with Somebody, and so they get the blame.

The voters themselves, knowing months ago that the elections would be invalidated and their votes would be discounted, could not be bothered to organize themselves as the poor people of Mississippi had in 1964. Easier by far to sit safely at home and complain, hoping that Somebody would take care of them. Assuredly there are fine people in both states; collectively however, I find it very difficult to find much in the way of sympathy for their plight.

But what do I know? Maybe the voters were right to not expend any energy. Maybe they were right to not bother themselves to do anything beyond complain because this year, as it turns out, with a divided party in need of reconciliation, the Somebodies in the Democratic Party are going to take care of the matter. Somebody will, after all, clean up the voters' mess.

A week ago, on Saturday April 19, Michigan Democratic Party members got together for district caucuses. Oh, wait; did you think that the Michigan Democratic primary elections were really what controlled the selection of Michigan Democratic Convention delegates? How quaint; how charming; how innocent. There’s much, much more to it than that.

Under the Jan. 15 vote, Clinton had been assigned 47 delegates by the press and everyone counting heads, while 36 were tagged Uncommitted. Since then, the Obama campaign has been pushing for a 50-50 split based on, well, wanting a 50-50 split. Clinton, on the other hand, has wanted the election results to stand. According to the Detroit Free Press, the caucuses selected 47 delegates committed to Clinton and 18 delegates backed by Michiganders for Obama. Another 18 delegates were selected from union-backed organizations and remain officially Uncommitted. How many of them are secretly for Obama and how many for Hillary is unclear, although Emptywheel has some thoughts.

Still to come is a DMI State Committee meeting on May 17, where PLEO and At-Large delegates will be chosen. Right now, based again on the election, 10 PLEOs and 16 At-Large are assigned to Clinton while 7 PLEO and 12 At-Large are provisionally Uncommitted. On top of that are 28 superdelegates, some named and some not, all of whom are uncommitted by rule but some of whom have expressed leanings.

Down in Florida, people got together to protest and plan a bus trip; a fine thing to do. That it was all arranged by Clinton supporters pushing her agenda is also fine, but speaks far more to her determination than to that of the voters of Florida.

Meantime, some Somebody in the person of Dean, Pelosi and Reid have been talking to the DFL, DMI and the new Rules and Bylaws Committee members (minus Donna Brazile) trying to sort something out. Today on Meet The Press Dean made it crystal clear that a solution will be found and delegates from both states will be seated:

MR. RUSSERT: Will Michigan and Florida be seated?

DR. DEAN: Yes.

MR. RUSSERT: In some way, shape or form.

DR. DEAN: In some way. I'm determined to make that happen. I can't--again, I can't, I can't speak for what the rules committee will do. They're 30 very independent-minded people. I can't speak for what the credentials committee at the convention will do. I believe Michigan and Florida should be seated in some way because it was their--their voters did not cause this problem. This was caused by a political problem, not the voters' problem.

I do like Howard Dean. When he gives those one word answers, you can take it to the bank. And when he stutters – “I can't--again, I can't, I can't speak…” you know something is worth giving close attention. I say the stuttering means a deal has been done. There’s a dance now to be danced, a play to be enacted, R&B need to have their independence validated, Dean and Pelosi and Reid need to be seen as hands-off, but the deal is done.

Best guess? All the super-D’s, PLEOs and At-Large delegates will be seated because they have their pride and they won’t settle for anything less. The elected pledged delegates will also get seated, but with only a half-vote each; that will be the 50% penalty. None of that will happen until after the nomination is settled. The FL and MI delegates get to go to the Party, but they don't get to play a direct role.

Somebody has taken care of it. Good thing there are still a few responsible Somebodies around.

No votes yet


Fredster's picture
Submitted by Fredster on

and I'm sure you have too, in FL the move-up was done by the state legislature which is controlled by the Republican Party. The sweetener to get the Dems to go along? The creation of paper trails for electronic voting was the promise, I believe. After what happened in prior presidential elections who could blame them?

Also, don't forget that the "normal" penalty for the early primary should have been a 50% reduction in the number of delegates seated at the convention. It was Donna Brazile who stated she was going to make an example of FL and MI by making it a 100% penalty. The 50% penalty is what the Republicans got if I'm not mistaken.

I don't blame the rank and file Dem voters in FL for just showing up to the polls to vote. What were they going to do, sit home?

Dean could have exerted some influence and gotten the penalties for FL and MI back to the 50% number and this probably would not have been an issue.

corinne's picture
Submitted by corinne on

in FL the move-up was done by the state legislature which is controlled by the Republican Party. The sweetener to get the Dems to go along? The creation of paper trails for electronic voting was the promise, I believe.

The FL Democrats claimed this was the reason early on but later, at the RBC meeting where the penalty was determined, it came out that the FL Democratic leadership not only went along with the idea of moving up the primary-- to make Florida more relevant--they did everything they could to aid the process.

This wasn't a Democratic Party dragged along by a malicious GOP. At one time, there was a video on YouTube which showed Florida Senate Democratic minority leader Steven Geller pretending to object to the new calendar, laughing about it the whole time.

Fredster's picture
Submitted by Fredster on

Where did the Bible browser thingie come from?

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

Perhaps they decided to vote for the party that wants their votes. Or they could have decided to sit this one out.

It wouldn't take very many of them to decide to do that and we're looking at President McSame.

Real Democrats aren't afraid of democracy

48 + 2 = legitimacy

tedraicer's picture
Submitted by tedraicer on

What did the voters do? They, um, voted. And if their votes are going to be ignored simply to crown Obama, they may well respond by not voting for him (once again) in the fall.

But hey, if it is more important that Obama be crowned than that McCain be beaten or the voters votes respected, well, then everything is on track.

Submitted by lambert on

.... was tell the pollsters Fuck the Dems, we're voting for McCain. I bet that got some attention.

I'm a lot more sympathetic to your argument now than I was in the beginning, BIO, I have to admit. In the beginning, it sounded like Blame the victim. OTOH, at some point, you decided not to be a victim.

And the close reading of Dean's statement is good. I can take that as a principled stand of a sort, perhaps...

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

jeqal's picture
Submitted by jeqal on

My roots are from the dirt of Alabama. The gentleman on the right Goodman, could have been one of my great uncles or my grandfather. People forget that poor whites had pressures on them, the same type of threatening posturing to conform, to shut up, and to forget about voting, because they were undereducated, and dirt poor. Unions were formed in the North from the anger of these men and women who were sick of working working working and being screwed. The poll tax was a great way to keep them from voting. One thing that I get tired of with race is that people forget that there have been generations of poor whites, scraping a living and getting nicknamed "cracker" a cracker so named because he spoke out for his injustices, exactly what Obama was making fun of in his speech in CA. So F**K him.
I remember because my families oral history gives it to me to remember.
Don't think I am not furious (I'm from Michigan now) I'm livid, and don't think for one moment I won't pull that lever for straight Republican which I have done only once (my first election Reagan), because I will.
When a candidate like Obama says that crackers do not have a voice. Well buddy that is a history that I well remember through my grampie. And so what I can say in the name of my grampie and the men and women before him whose voices were silenced by men like Obama.

Democrats never agree on anything, that's why they're Democrats. If they agreed with each other,they'd be Republicans -- Will Rogers

Submitted by lambert on

A nice, long, thoughtful post with some family history in it might be interesting and helpful. This is such a big country, and so various.....

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

jeqal's picture
Submitted by jeqal on

I have given a family history before lambert, it was on the cracker thread. After the guns and religion and before the link that was requested to the blogs where obama supporters were calling hillary supporters crackers.

I can't do a search on this site, when I click search at the top of the page it says "page not found". and have not figured out how to look for my posts yet?

Democrats never agree on anything, that's why they're Democrats. If they agreed with each other,they'd be Republicans -- Will Rogers

Submitted by lambert on

.... something else I need to get round to.

However, your blog, like all blogs, is accessible at:

[Corrente]/blog/[your user name] so:


[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

southern whites. Remember that killer speech he gave at the convention? he talked about visiting a chicken processing plant and a white woman who talked about her exhaustion standing for hours. When she spoke her objections to the plant managers, she was called "a bitch". Jesse told her she wasn't a bitch for speaking up.

That was a smart move on his part and one that Obama has not replicated.

jeqal's picture
Submitted by jeqal on

Here is the blurb copy and pasted it was NC debate
It is from Lexis Nexis Academic so you can do the research to see if you can get it without a subscription, but if you head over to your University Library you should be able to access it.

The Associated Press State & Local Wire

April 3, 2008 Thursday 9:31 PM GMT

NC Dems invite Clinton, Obama to April 27 debate; Clinton agrees


LENGTH: 112 words


Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama have both signed off on a Democratic debate in North Carolina. Now comes the debate over when to have it.

Obama had previously agreed to debate his rival on April 19 in North Carolina. On Thursday, the Clinton campaign said she has agreed to a debate April 27, sponsored by CBS.

An Obama spokesman said Thursday the campaign wanted to debate before April 22, and is still deciding whether the new date fits into their schedule.

The contenders have debated 20 times during the presidential campaign. Their last meetings were in Texas on Feb. 21 and Ohio on Feb. 26 ahead of those states' primaries on March 4. Clinton won both contests.

OK now the link to C-Span on the Daschle thing (I think I had said CNN, you can sue Lambert)

Democrats never agree on anything, that's why they're Democrats. If they agreed with each other,they'd be Republicans -- Will Rogers

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

And half the rest is outright lies. Learn to be more critical in your assessments. Ask for proof. Be skeptical of any argument that shifts blame. Especially doubt what “everybody” is saying, what “everybody” knows is true. Unless you can do better than “what I’ve read” and another cut-and-paste repeat of every falsehood ever written about this mess, you’re actually not contributing; you’re making it worse.

F: ”FL the move-up was done by the state legislature which is controlled by the Republican Party.” So what? Who cares? What difference does it make? None. The Republicans can go stuff themselves. The FL State Democratic leadership can go stuff themselves. The Florida legislature can control expenditure of public funds, as they did in setting the date for the official primary. They can’t control citizens organizing themselves and holding caucuses or elections or conventions to send delegates to the Democratic Convention.

What I’m complaining about isn’t the legislature – it’s freaking Florida, the legislature is full of asshats, we all know that and it’s past time the voters stop electing asshats but that’s a different rant. What I’m complaining about here, where I’m placing the blame, is on the lazy-ass whiney mewling voters of Florida who have had all winter and couldn’t get their act together to take care of themselves. Pathetic.

F: “Also, don’t forget that the “normal” penalty for the early primary should have been a 50% reduction in the number of delegates” Are you frickin’ kidding me with “Also don’t forget”? Condescending and wrong is a sad combination. Go read the rules. The actual rules, not the bullshit twisted misinterpretations spewed out by lame-brained cut-and-paste echo chamber sycophants that make up 90% of the blogosphere and 99.999% of MSM.

[General Rule of Life #3: If somebody tries to tell you what the rules are without providing a copy of the rules odds are good that either they don’t have it right or they’re lying. Always Read The Rules Yourself.]

There is no such thing as a “normal” penalty. The Delegate Selection Rules Section 20, Part C(1)(a) clearly states that a 50% reduction in delegates is the prescribed minimum penalty and under C(4) it states that the 50% reduction is automatic – once the state is found to be out of compliance the penalty is immediately and unalterably imposed. Further, under C(5)&(6) the R&B Committee is not constrained in the scope of punishment available; they have the authority to strip a state of every kind of representation.

F: “Dean could have exerted some influence” Another canard, passed around to endless serious nodding of heads because Somebody has to be blamed and Howard Dean is Somebody so hey, let’s blame Howard!

Read the rules. From the CALL for the 2008 Democratic National Convention , (the master rules of the Democratic Party Convention), APPENDIX A: Relationship Between The 2008 Rules Of Procedure Of The Credentials Committee And The 2008 Delegate Selection Rules: “Under Rule 20.B. of the 2008 Delegate Selection Rules, the Rules and Bylaws Committee has jurisdiction over challenges pertaining to the submission, non-implementation and violation of state Delegate Selection and Affirmative Action Plans.”

There’s more but that’s enough. Rules and Bylaws has absolute jurisdiction over whether or not to penalize a state for violating delegate selection rules, including especially delegate selection proceedings that violate restrictions on dates, and the magnitude of the penalty. Not Credentials, not the DNC as a whole or the DNC Executive Committee or Chairman Howard Dean, but solely and only Rules & Bylaws. Howard Dean is responsible for seeing to it that the rules of the Party are enforced; he doesn’t have dictatorial powers to violate the rules as he pleases.

That being said, Dean is not a fool. He asked DFL and DMI to not move their primaries up; they persisted. He warned them that they would be penalized; they ignored him. He asked Rules & Bylaws to be moderate, but Donna Brazile and her buddies went power-mad instead; they ignored him. He asked DMI and DFL to submit alternate plans; they ignored him. Finally, in accordance with the CALL, he reconstituted the Standing Committees including Rules and Bylaws (minus Donna Brazile) and got them talking again with DMI and DFL, and he brought in Pelosi and Reid to crack some heads. Now everybody is on track to get this mess cleaned up, thanks entirely to the effort of Howard Dean. Dean is to be praised here, not vilified.

F: “ I don’t blame the rank and file Dem voters in FL for just showing up to the polls to vote. What were they going to do, sit home? Did you not read what I wrote? No one is blaming voters for going to the polls, so that’s just more bullshit. Go; vote; especially vote out of office the asshats who represented you in making this mess. Elect competent representatives, for hells sake; how hard can that be to figure out? Elect asshats, this is the kind of mess you deserve.

But to claim that the only way the voters can express their wishes in a primary is through whatever crappy process the asshat legislature allows is just more bullshit. Voters in Mississippi in 1964 put their lives on the line for a chance to participate; they fought for what was theirs. Voters own their votes, not the legislature. But if you don’t protect what you own, sure as hell somebody will steal it from you. Once it’s stolen you better go seize it back,and you had better expect to do it all by yourself. Standing around like a bunch of whiny weak-kneed sissies hoping Somebody will do it for you? Good luck with that.

People died to protect these rights. Now all we’ve got is a pack of pansy-ass lay-about good-for-nothing whiners. Pathetic. Makes me want to puke.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

blame some rape victims and child molestation victims while you're at it. it makes as much sense.

what a pathetic idea, "blame the voters." yes, it's my fault that obama and hillary aren't clearly ranked #1 and/or 2. obviously, people like me need to be shunned, burned and forgotten. our opinions don't matter; we just live, vote, and pay taxes here. let's all listen to beltway sycophants who hate the Flatlands! they "know" what "we really want!" gosh, why didn't i think of that before. you know what, let's just abolish voting here. you elite thinkers who don't live here can tell us what we Really Need. thanks!

move on, coastal boi. you have no idea of what you speak.

jeqal's picture
Submitted by jeqal on

I just assumed my blogs were deleted when I added a new blog hehe.

I don't think that Obama gets poor whites at all, it's as if he blames them for being raised and not digging out of it, AS IF. I mean there is no NAACP (national advancement for cracker peeps), without an organized structure it's confusing. It's confusing to try and figure it out when you do have a chance. It's frustrating.

On the voting issue, Screw the DNC and the RNC too, as long as the states have a legitimate ballot and voting procedure they should be able to vote whenever they like, heck let them all vote the same day that the groundhog comes out. Why are the Dems acting like such Reps about this?

Here are some links that go over the Michigan vote over and over and over again

BJU and nationalism etc. (Scroll)


So much about the math, has links to talking about michigan and votes

It gets so tiresome to keep explaining it to people, and my personal opinion is that NO ONE especially the DNC should undermine the sovereignty of the state and the people within it to vote when and how they want in these primaries. I kinda wish Biden had been out there more.

“Democrats have a habit of falling in love with candidates on the first date.”

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Always a treat.

Please explain how the Democratic primary voters of Michigan and Florida are in any way even remotely like victims of rape or child molestation? Take your time, I'll wait; this should be good.

While you're at it, assuming you've read the whole thing, please find where I said anything remotely suggesting you or any of the voters should be "shunned, burned and forgotten" or that your "opinions don’t matter" or that we should "abolish voting." Take your time, no hurry.

Blame isn't an operative concept here. Responsibility, that's what I'm after. Who is really responsible for what the Democratic parties of FL and MI decide to do? I say DFL and DMI and the people who selected them to make the decsions.

And if it didn't work out, then do something about it instead of pointing fingers at everyone else.

While I've got you here, and we're on the subject, don't even get on me about how you were denied the chance to vote for Edwards by evil forces. John Boy made that decision, all on his lonesome. Blame him.

As well, since you all couldn't clean it up on your own, don't you agree that a big round of applause is due to Dean, Pelosi and Reid for sorting this all out on your behalf? Mighty white of them, don't you think?

Stop back by; I still have some flesh on the other cheek that you missed this time.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Who knows what the voters will do when this primary is settled. There will doubtless be some reshuffling, but none of it will be because of this kerfuffle. If the voters of MI&FL cared that much they’d have done more than complain. Any voter who switches from Obama or Clinton to McCain or stays home because they felt anxious for a few months about whether or not people they don’t know get to go screw around and drink heavily in Denver for a few days was a shallow unreliable voter to begin with; a case of the sniffles could have tipped them over.

By the end of June FL&MI will be reinstated (less 50% of the pledged vote), the nomination will be settled, the candidates will be making kissy-kissy makeup noises, everyone delegated gets to go to the Party-party, and the voters of FL&MI will be just as directly irrelevant in the primary process as they have always been. What could anyone be unhappy about?

Lambert, thanks for staying with this as I slowly put enough of an edge on it to be marginally persuasive. Not a perfect argument but if I’d kept on polishing it would have soon become irrelevant instead of merely irritating. Our biggest threat is not some malicious conspiracy to disfranchise the citizenry. Far and away more threatening, sad to say, is the failure of citizens to take their responsibilities seriously and aggressively defend their rights; use it or lose it means exactly that.

Thanks all for stopping by.