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"The Rules" Are What You Want Them to Be: MI Primary Meltdown

chicago dyke's picture

Marcy splains.

The Democratic Party's charter requires that the Party:
Establish standards and rules of procedure to afford all members of the Democratic Party full, timely and equal opportunities to participate in decisions concerning the selection of candidates, ... and further, to promote fair campaign practices and the fair adjudication of disputes. (Charter, Article I, Section 4)

Yet both the Democratic National Committee and the Michigan Democratic Party appear to be violating that requirement in their selection of which challenges to the MI Clusterfuck to hear at the May 31 Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting.

At least one group of ordinary Michigan citizens submitted a complaint that appears to fulfill all requirements. Yet the MDP has failed to follow its own rules on how to assist with and respond to that complaint--and it also did not comply with the requirement that it publish the names of those selected in the April 19 district conventions (which triggers a deadline for the submission of complaints). And the DNC will only hear the two state party-led complaints at the May 31 Rules and Bylaw Committee, thereby violating the requirement that "all members" of the party be able "to participate in decisions concerning the selection of candidates."

This complaint is similar to the petition I launched in April, in that its solution would reflect a compromise number between the results of the January 15 Clusterfuck and a 50-50 split: it works out to be the same 69-59 that the "Blue Ribbon Commission" has proposed. Also, like my petition, this complaint calls for the super-delegates to receive no vote.

But it's different in two ways. First, it advocates giving MI's elected delegates just half a vote each, not the full vote I suggested (in that respect, I like mine better, but then I didn't get off my ass and file an official complaint; though this complaint has the advantage of matching what the rules call for). More importantly, the complaint justifies its solution in MI's and the DNC's own rules.

My favorite part of the petition is that it notes that, on March 26, a Court ruled the January 15 primary unconstitutional. That meant, the petition asserts, that the,

Michigan Presidential Primary of January 15, 2008, was "invalid, inoperable, and without effect." The result was non-binding.

And since the DNC's own rules stipulate that,

Delegates shall be allocated in a fashion that fairly reflects the expressed presidential preference or uncommitted status of the primary voters or, if there is no binding primary, the convention and/or caucus participants.

In the absence of a binding primary, the presidential preference must be judged by the preferences of the participants in "the convention and/or caucus." MI had conventions, on April 19. And Obama supporters vastly outnumbered Hillary supporters--generally by at least 2 to 1, and in places by much greater margins. In other words, the legal preference of MI's voters is that Obama--not Hillary--get the vast number of delegates.

Now, I don't actually think that solution--any more than accepting the results of the Clusterfuck--is actually fair, though it does make for good legalese. The other proposed solutions, based on the fact that the MDP delegation allotments provide Hillary a much greater percentage of the delegates than her 55% vote total would dictate (for example, the allocation gave Hillary 80% of all alternate slots), are actually quite reasonable.

But the MDP and the DNC ignored it.

Just spare me all the crap about the rules, they're just a joke to the people in power, and they laugh at the Little People who expect them to be followed. Democracy: we should try it some time.

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Comments

Submitted by lambert on

isn't valid? That's the point? Nice work on the legitimacy front, there, Obama...

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

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

The party process isn't democratic, never has been, has no obligation to be, and probably never will take a democratic form. People who spend all that time clawing their way to the top are not about to seriously share the power with some shloob who wanders into a cloth booth once every four years to push a button whether they have any clue what it means or not.

Won't be happening.

The way to control these people, and the process, is at the local level. US House, state legislature, state Democratic committee members, that sort of thing, is where regular people like thee and me can have an effect. Grassroots is the only possibility; by the time it gets to this stage, you and I are long forgotten.

And don't ignore your local Board of Education, if you want to have a effect on the future. Control the people who control the people who teach your children, if you care at all about humanity and civilization and that kind of stuff.

Did you know that 16% of high school science teachers are creationists? Not that they just think the ID claptrap is plausable, but hard-core believe that the Earth and everything on it was miraculously created by a sky-god 6000 years ago and that's what they teach. Read it and weep; one out of every six people instructing our children about science is bat-shit delusional. We are destroying ourselves.

That's the stuff that frightens me, that keeps me awake at night, and it is also something that political action by people like us can fix in a hurry if we just have the will and take the time. But to get all hetted up over some bullshit meeting in DC by a bunch of inside players playing insider games? Not so much.

That said, many thanks to good CD for putting this up. People should have their noses rubbed in the stink of it, so they understand that they have no actual role at this stage in this kind of process. Truth and reality, plainly spoken; we need all we can get.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

What could be plainer?

I like mine better, but then I didn’t get off my ass and file an official complaint

And there you go. Upset, pissed off, angry, offended, didn't do squat but complain and wonder why she's not part of the process. And this is Marcy, educated, trained, scary-smart, engaged, all the things that should allow her to grab hold and at least shake the tree a little. Too busy, I guess, but then no room now to complain.

Michigan; the Florida of the North.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

MI, the FL of the north....oh, that hurts. fwiw, i did do some work, for all the good it did. believe me when i say, it's a clusterfuck writ small, our fine state party and elected officials. mostly, they suck and are dull and lack vision. but you knew that.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

that's why FL and MI aren't being ignored--it's 2million+ voters, who individually or in smaller pieces would certainly be ignored but can't be in this situation--they're needed now--and very needed in November.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Yeah, sunny CA. Not so librul as our rep has it, and a terrible penchant for putting movie stars in high office.

The good thing is a couple of really smart Dems a generation back, John Burton and his brother Phil (departed and much missed) and Willie Brown got together and gerrymandered the voting districts - fed and state level - so the R's cannot get control. They can elect governors, but the legislature belongs to us and will for a long, long time. It is so finely constructed, so intricately interlocked, that the very Rs in minority power would have to put themselves at risk to change it - Heh, heh, heh.

'Twas a beautiful thing to watch, pure power politics, a bare-knuckles, crush the opposition march to victory that Dems at a national level should study. Saved us, they did; if not we'd be in really big trouble instead of just a lot.

Ahnold is getting what we call an education in the uses of political power. Couldn't keep him out of the governorship, so the Dems have been slowly, slowly peeling the bark off. Poor fellah is so confused, hasn't got a clue what to do next; the budget process gave him exactly what he asked for and now its a really huge mess which is being hung around his neck like a 20 billion dollar albatross. Finished in politics is Ahnold; don't think that Senator's chair will be for him and couldn't happen to a more deserving jerk.

You know I love Michiganders; wonderful people, beautiful state. But what is it with The Thumb?