Since Barack Obama’s supporters claim he is running a people-powered campaign, I’m surprised they are not more upset that he is working behind the scenes to derail any plan for Michigan and Florida to redo their primaries.
As you know, the DNC stripped both states of their delegates for moving their primaries up to January. No one campaigned in either state, and Hillary Clinton won both primaries, although in Michigan hers was the only name on the ballot, with supporters of Obama and other candidates voting “uncommitted.”
Given how close this primary campaign is, and how important Michigan and Florida are in the general election, it seems only logical to find some compromise that would allow delegates from those states to be seated at the Democratic National Convention this summer. I understand why Obama doesn’t want to accept the delegate allocations from the January primaries, because he didn’t campaign in either state.
However, I don’t see the rationale for his campaign ruling out re-votes in both states. Why does Obama fear taking a few weeks after Pennsylvania to campaign in Michigan and Florida so that Democrats can express their preferences? Money is not a problem for him–he has more cash on hand than Clinton.
One compromise that seems sensible to me is a mail-in election in both states, which would be much less costly than restaging an ordinary primary. But Obama’s co-chair in Michigan has ruled that out, claiming that
“It disenfranchises people who need to participate and there are many questions with regard to security.”
Hunter said the Obama campaign will accept nothing but a 50-50 split of Michigan delegates between Clinton and Obama, who removed his name from the January ballot here in protest of the early date.
I don’t understand how a mail-in ballot disenfranchises anyone. If anything, the experience of Oregon shows that it would lead to much greater participation.
And what justification is there for a 50-50 delegate split out of Michigan? That is essentially the same thing as not counting Michigan voters at all.
But wait, it gets better: Obama is a co-sponsor of a bill in the U.S. Senate called
“The Universal Right To Vote By Mail Act”, which declares that NOT ALLOWING mail in voting in every state (28 do through absentee balloting) disenfranchises voters […]
That’s right, Barack Obama, who thinks all states should allow mail-in voting, has suddenly decided in the middle of a tough primary that it would not be fair to let Michigan and Florida Democrats mail in ballots.
He appears to be afraid of losing high-turnout elections in those states. And no wonder: he seems to do a lot better in lower-turnout caucuses (in some states getting two, three or four times as many delegates as Clinton) than in large-state primaries.
In addition, the demographics of Florida (lots of seniors, Latinos and Jews) and Michigan (lots of working-class whites and Catholics) seem to favor Clinton.
Talk Left commenter Steve M (a Clinton supporter) linked to these comments at the Michigan Liberal blog, in which Obama supporters in Michigan criticize the stance his campaign is taking against a re-vote.
Does Obama want to go into a general-election campaign having demanded that Florida and Michigan residents not have their votes counted in the primary?