Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Solution for a Michigan and Florida Democratic Re-vote: Bench the Superdelegates?

The debate over what to do with Michigan and Florida continues on with no clear solution in sight. The Obama campaign rightly argues that you cannot seat delegates elected in contests that were not supposed to count and in states where the candidates did not even campaign (and when he wasn't on the ballot in the case of Michigan). The Clinton campaign rightly argues that it is problematic to have the citizens of Michigan and Florida lose their voice in the process because of the actions of their state parties and their elected officials. In the meantime, some oppose a re-vote because it is an expensive option and may reward the actions of the state officials by allowing their states to have a key role in determining the ultimate nominee despite the fact that they broke the rules. Thus, the problem for the DNC is how to protect the citizens of Florida and Michigan without rewarding the actions of those in the state who broke the national party rules in the first place.

One solution may be to allow a re-vote in both states and seat the pledged delegates elected in those contests, but maintain the penalty against Michigan and Florida's superdelegates. The superdelegates, after all, are the party leaders and elected officials from these states that pushed these primary dates up in the first place (or at least supported the move). Stripping the Michigan and Florida superdelegates of their votes would punish those most responsible for the fact that the states broke the DNC's rules while allowing the states' voters to still have a say in the process. Those superdelegates could still attend the convention, but would not be allowed to cast a vote for the presidential nominee.

Politically, this solution may win the support of both campaigns. The Clinton campaign would likely support this plan since it would assure that Michigan and Florida were in play and Clinton's support in Florida would presumably allow her to pick up several delegates. The Obama campaign may also go for this solution, since it assures that Clinton will not get the support of the Florida and Michigan superdelegates when those states are re-instated into the process. According to the Democratic Convention Watch website, Florida has 26 superdelegates and Michigan has 28, for a total of 54 superdelegates between the two states. Fifteen of these superdelegates presently support Clinton while only 5 support Obama. The Obama campaign will be far more agreeable to a plan that doesn't immediately shave 10 delegates off of their lead before anyone in either state casts a (second) vote.

Besides the political benefits of such a solution, this plan would also make a lot of sense. The citizens of Michigan and Florida should not be punished for the actions of their elected officials, but this plan punishes those elected officials while still allowing the citizens to participate in the nomination process.

What do you think? Would this be a workable solution to MI/FL problem?


tomkraj said...

Best I have heard so far. Other possibility would be to give each candidate 1/2 of each delegation cut in half.

Kathleen from Columbus, Ohio said...

Sounds like a plan to me... I just didn't want either one to get delegates that should have went to the other person... seeing as if Sen. Obama has been getting more delegates even when she wins the "state"... I just don't want HRC to try & pull a slick one again - just because she's behind & needs a little (a lot of) help right now. But, they dont have long to decide - they have other
contests that are going to cut into the line of timeframe they are trying to get all of this done & looks like Time is Not On Thier Sides.
Hurry Up Already!
!Si Se Puede!

majcaj said...

This is the best idea I have seen/heard yet. There is no way anyone who really cares for the American people can find fault with this. You really should send this to ALL the tv and radio stations, and both campaign headquarters. And to all reporters emails. I think you have solved the problem very fairly. THANK YOU.

Craig S said...

I thought about this idea a while back. But here's the problem. Elected delegates do almost no good for Hillary right now. She can't catch him there. She needs Superdelegates, and lots of em. And Florida has a lot of Hillary Superdelegates. Her camp won't go for this plan.

That said, I think the Obama camp should propose it publically, so when she inevitably turns it down, he can say "so your not really interested in the public getting a chance to vote, you're just scheming for every last Superdelegate."

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an interesting idea, but I've been reading that it would violate the charter of the DNC to deny any office-holding superdelegate his or her vote. (It stipulates that senators, representatives, etc. have a convention vote, which would seem to supersede whatever the credentials committee decides.) So not only might this plan be unworkable, but the conventional wisdom that superdelegates from those states won't have a vote under the current plan could be wrong.