Hillary, Florida, Michigan, And What’s Wrong With The Lot Of Them

It’s pretty rare when I have a hard time saying exactly what I need to say the way I want to say it.  I’m not going to sit here and tell you I’m a master when it comes to articulating my thoughts, but I’m no slouch.

Still, on occasion, I’ll find myself so flustered with a situation that expression becomes difficult, and I find myself dancing around the central point as opposed to hitting it dead on.  This is the situation I found myself in when it came to Florida, Michigan, and Hillary Clinton’s reprehensible attempt to seat the delegates for the two states.

Thankfully, Ezra Klein hits it perfectly.

In comments, many of you asked how I could be so dismissive of Floridians who voted for Hillary Clinton. And the answer is, I’m not. I didn’t keep their vote from counting. When the Democratic National Committee decided to impose order on an out-of-control primary process by stripping Florida and Michigan of their delegates if they refused to return their primaries to their original dates, there were three individuals who could have restored the franchise to those states. Howard Dean, the Chairman of the DNC, could have changed his mind, or changed his proposed penalty. Even in the face of his intransigence, however, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama could have simply refused his entreaty to avoid the offending states. A declaration by either that they disagreed with the DNC’s decision and would instruct their delegates to alter the rules at the convention and seat Florida and Michigan would have forced all the other candidates to do the same, and the DNC’s prohibition would have collapsed. The voters in Florida and Michigan would have attended speeches, and seen ads, and hosted a debate, and been able to make an informed choice

That didn’t happen. Clinton’s campaign manager backing the DNC, said, “We believe Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina play a unique and special role in the nominating process, and we believe the DNC’s rules and its calendar provide the necessary structure to respect and honor that role.” So Florida and Michigan didn’t get their primaries. They didn’t get campaigns. They didn’t have serious Get Out The Vote efforts. And now, they’re being cynically used, the language of democracy revisited and dusted off in service of a power play for additional delegates. Where, rightly or wrongly, the campaigns agreed to deny them a primary, now Clinton’s campaign, which in Michigan won because they were the only campaign on the ballot and in Florida won because no one contested their lead, is demanding they be seated. The intervention did not come in time to give Florida and Michigan a full role in the democratic process, only in time to let the Clinton campaign benefit from their essential disenfranchisement.

As a longtime Californian who’s cast many a meaningless vote, I sympathize with Florida and Michigan, both of whom deserved better than to fall victim to an ambitious state party clashing with a retrograde primary system. But these votes are only meaningful if they have rules, if all involved believe them to have been free and fair. In 2000, Florida’s vote was not free, in 2008, their vote will be used such that it is not fair. This would be wrong if Barack Obama had done it, wrong if John Edwards or Bill Richardson or Dennis Kucinich did it. And it is wrong when the Clinton campaign does it. If they believed democratic principles were at stake, then there was a time to stand for democracy and ensure Floridians would host a campaign and have a voice. They let that moment pass. And they did not do so passively; they spoke up in agreement with the DNC’s decision. Now they are circling back for advantage, pretending to speak up for the process when in reality they are only advocating for themselves. That does not honor Florida and Michigan’s participation. It cheapens it.

Nor are Michigan and Florida the only place where we see this, but also in Nevada with the Clinton’s backing of the lawsuit to have the At Large caucusing sites removed.  Though their involvement wasn’t official, it was there, and it was an attempt to change the rules and usurp the language of democracy for their own cynical means.

Thus a pattern as strong as the pattern of Clinton using her surrogates to sling mud followed by the official letter of her campaign to feign ignorance comes to light.  And there you have it folks, the difference between nose holding and not.

I broke from the Clinton campaign as early as last summer based upon her record and signals towards neoconservatism.  But the reason why I won’t even hold my nose to vote for her should she win the nomination is right here.  This style of politics which is beyond rough and tumble, but out right dirty, cheap, and not befitting the Democratic party.

Especially not when we’re the ones getting used so shamelessly.

3 Responses to “Hillary, Florida, Michigan, And What’s Wrong With The Lot Of Them”

  1. Kyle, thanks for th drive by, left u a comment and i hope u dont mind if i ad u to he roll, glad i stumbled this way folk

  2. ps: if u ever in the atl hit me up folk, drinks on me

  3. Yeah, it’s good. I’ll be back to continue the discuss at RDB without a doubt, the convo there is already interesting and interesting conversations are terrible things to waste.

    As for the ATL, I’m around the corner in the VA, but I had some bad experiences involving an airport, a missed flight, the stomach flu, and a hotel room… Not my favorite place in the world, but I’ll take your invitation if I’m there, and offer mine in return. You come by the Hampton Roads area, I know a watering hole or two.

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