Seat Those Delegates Dr. Dean!
by alegre, Mon Feb 18, 2008 at 04:37:43 PM EST
Earlier this month, Julian Bond sent a letter to Howard Dean, asking him to make sure the Democrats in Florida and Michigan are represented at our party's convention this summer. From Jake Tapper at ABC's Political Punch...
Yesterday, Clinton's side of the argument got a boost when NAACP chairman Julian Bond wrote to DNC chair Howard Dean to express "great concern at the prospect that million [sic] of voters in Michigan and Florida could ultimately have their votes completely discounted." Not seating the Michigan and Florida delegations would remind Americans of the "sordid history of racially discriminatory primaries," Bond said.
Mr. Bond refers to the millions people who turned out to vote in the Michigan and Florida primaries as voters. That's true to a point - they are voters. More importantly is the fact that they're DEMOCRATS voting in our party's primaries and caucuses. And I think we'd be wise to keep in mind that we will need our fellow Democrats to turn out en masse to vote in both states come November if we want to win back the White House.
Make the jump - you know you want to...
The NAACP issued a press release right after they sent that letter to Dean...
When the Democratic National Committee adopted the rules in question, it was suspected by some that they would be discriminatory for states with large African American populations. It seemed a harsh rule to disenfranchise millions of our voters just to appease the fewer thousands of white voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Party rules never required that candidates had to take their names off of the ballot, as was the case in Michigan. This was something that the Iowa and New Hampshire state parties imposed on the candidates to force them to prove their allegiance to the rabidly non-diverse first-in the-nation "white" primaries.
The Obama campaign miscalculated on this issue and should have stood with Michigan and Florida given their strong African American populations. Had Obama won these states, I am sure many people would be supporting this change in the rules.
Hmmm... You know they make a lot of sense here. You'd think BO would be leading the charge to make sure they're represented at the convention this summer.
Mark Halperin's got Dean's Letter to NAACP Chairman Bond dated February 15th...
Thank you for your letter regarding the current situation with Michigan and Florida. I appreciate your writing to me to express your concerns. We share a strong dedication to fighting for equal rights for every American.
As you might imagine, I have heard from many people who share your opinion and from many others who take a different position. This is not surprising as two outstanding candidates are in the midst of a highly competitive race for the democratic nomination.
While it seems that this election season has already been the longest in history, 18 states have yet to hold their primary elections and over 1,000 pledged delegates have yet to be selected. Put another way; some 33 percent of voters have yet to have their voices heard. I look forward to hearing what they have to say.
Over 18 months ago, after a long, transparent, thoughtful and inclusive process, our party adopted a system for selecting delegates to the convention. That process was guided by a concern for the best interests of our Party and ensuring that we produce the strongest nominee possible, reflective of the values and ideals of our Party. Moving forward, we intend to continue operating in a transparent, thoughtful, and inclusive manner with three key goals: first, to keep our Party united; second, to ensure a fair process so that; third, we can defeat John McCain.
In every primary and caucus that has occurred thus far, we've seen record turnouts and tremendous enthusiasm in support of our Democratic candidates, our Party and our values. It is manifestly clear that these voters are committed to putting a Democrat in the White House. I share that commitment.
Our nominee must have the united support of a strong Democratic Party that's ready to fight and ready to win. After seven years of Republican rule, it's time to restore America's greatness and put a Democrat in the White House. Every single day between now and election day, our united goal must be to ensure that we win in November and elect a Democratic president.
I deeply appreciate your concern and our strong alliance over the years in the fight for equal justice under the law.
Governor Howard Dean, MD
He raises some good points, but if this reply proposes a resolution to the possible disenfranchisement of millions of Democrats at our convention, I'm not seeing it.
Now as I'm sure you've noticed by now, BO does better in the states hold caucuses and Hillary does well in states that hold primaries. I think it's important that we keep this next little factoid in mind whenever you hear someone call on Dean to disenfranchise the Democrats in Florida and Michigan. (Hat tip to Tim Rinaldo for posting this info over on MyDD). According to the United States Elections Project, Over 1/2 million MORE Democrats voted in FL than in every Dem caucus combined.
New Mexico: 153,299
North Dakota: 19,102
Washington: 200,000 (est. see below)
We may be talking about one or two states here, but we're also talking about a lot of Democrats here folks. And those Democrats live in two very key states when it comes to the general election this fall. We can't write them off at our convention, nor can we tell them they're not needed or valued during our fight to win back the White House against the goopers this fall.
I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Dean. I supported him in the primaries when he ran for President four years ago and he's doing a great job with the 50-state strategy now. I'm sure fewer Chairs of our party have worked harder for the cause.
However, Dr. Dean went over board in stripping the two out of five states violating the rules, and now he's painted all of us into a corner.
FL & MI won't hold new caucuses. They've already gotten people out to vote in record numbers and I doubt the party leaders in those states want to fire up their activists again to hold new caucuses.
Dr. Dean needs to swallow his pride and seat those delegates. And the sooner he does it the better.