Thursday, May 22, 2008

Guess who's going to the convention.....

After months of reassurances to the contrary, Senator Clinton yesterday held out the option that she may take the nomination battle to the August convention if the votes from Michigan and Florida are not counted.  This came after spending the day in Florida comparing her fight to get the delegates seated to the challenges faced by civil rights activists, suffragists and our nation's founders.

Many journalists (including Chris Cilliza at The Fix) thought that Senator Clinton was just answering a question during the interview and was really trying to find a compromise on the delegates.  Sadly, today brought more evidence that Senator Clinton intends to take this squabble to the convention.  First, Clinton adviser Harold Ickes said that the Michigan and Florida delegations should be seated in their entirety, and that the uncommitted delegates from Michigan should not be given to Senator Obama even though they declined to support Senator Clinton when Obama was not on the ballot.  Later, Senator Clinton added to yesterday's bombast by saying while in Florida:
You learned the hard way what happens when your votes aren't counted and the candidate with fewer votes is declared the winner, Clinton told supporters in Florida.

The lesson of 2000 here in Florida is crystal-clear: if any votes aren't counted, the will of the people is not realized and our democracy is diminished.

Ironically, Senator Clinton does not appear to have learned the true lesson of the Florida recount, which is that you should fight for what is just, not what is politically expedient.  When Vice President Gore challenged the vote in Florida he did not call for a recount of votes statewide, instead he wanted the votes from just the precincts which voted for him to be counted with the most permissive standards possible.  The Supreme Court denied his request by saying that this would treat voters from separate parts of Florida differently in violation of the equal protection clause.  When the Associated Press conducted its comprehensive vote study it found that the limited recounts Gore requested would not have changed the outcome of the election, but a complete statewide recount would have.  If Gore had asked for the right thing he still may not have won as the Supreme Court may have found another reason to deny him, but at least he and the Democratic party wouldn't have looked so bad while losing.

So ask yourself:  does it really make sense to count 328,309 votes from Michigan where Senator Clinton and Dennis Kucinich were the only candidates on the ballot, but not count the 238,168 voters who clearly said they'd take anyone other than the two of them?  If Senator Clinton is as resolute as she sounds to take this preposterous argument to the convention, then only the superdelegates have the power to prevent another Florida 2000 type fiasco from unfolding.  Over the next week, I'll start covering movements to pressure superdelegates from the Obama states and districts to put an end to this process before that happens.

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