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April 26, 2008

Ask Mark Brewer and Howard Dean to Resolve MI’s Convention Delegation–Fairly

Posted in: 2008 Election

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Jane has me fairly persuaded that some good will come out of seeing the Democratic primary process extend for two more months. Except for one thing. As a Michigander, I see how the posturing about MI’s DNC delegation is exacerbating the wounds of having had our January 15 presidential primary turn into a Clusterfuck of grand scale. More and more, I see volunteers who have been critical to our GOTV success in recent years tuning out of the party, utterly disgusted by the state and national politicians posturing about our vote.

There have been a number of solutions proposed–but they’re really just more cynical attempts to game the Clusterfuck primary which, like the posturing, is only exacerbating the wounds. So yesterday, I proposed my own solution, one that accomplishes what everyone says they want, and one that has been pretty well received in the blogosphere. Today, I’m started a petition to collect the names of people who would like the MDP and the DNC to adopt this fair solution for the seemingly intractable problem of how to seat MI’s delegation.

My proposal is this: you seat the 83 delegates selected (plus alternates) on April 19 with full voting strength. That would net Hillary 11-16 delegates from having won the Clusterfuck in January. It would also ensure that the only reasonably democratic vote Michiganders got to cast this year–April 19′s district caucuses–counts.

You treat the PLEOs (spots for locally elected officials) as is. This would net Hillary another 3 delegate advantage from the primary.

You split the At-Large delegates 50-50 (that is, 14 each). This would give Obama the opportunity to influence the selection of 14 of the delegates in Denver (his campaign did not vet any of the people who ran as uncommitted delegates on Saturday and at least some of the delegates selected are not solid Obama supporters). It would also partially incorporate Obama’s demand that the delegation be split 50-50.

You do not seat the super-delegates, at least not as super-delegates. The campaigns are perfectly free to use their 14 At-Large delegate slots to give to the people who would otherwise be super-delegates, but they will be delegates just like any other.

This solution accomplishes everything everyone has said they want to do. It would give MI’s voters–the people who will do the grunt work to get our Democratic nominee elected in the fall–a say at the Convention. It rewards Hillary, slightly, for having won the Clusterfuck. It penalizes Obama, slightly, for taking his name off the ballot in January. And it penalizes MI, 28 total delegates, for having broken DNC rules and moved its primary up.

But it focuses that punishment on those who played Chicken with the votes of MI and lost, last year, rather than punishing those who had no choice in the matter and lost their ability to cast a vote in a truly fair election. It penalizes the super-delegates, many of whom were instrumental in the decision to defy the DNC and many of whom are engaging in the worst posturing right now.

Even I don’t love this solution. I consider it simply less terrible than all other solutions. But I find it far preferable to continuing to treat MI like a political football for the next two months, all at the expense of the great grassroots work MI has done in recent years.

Please sign the petition asking Michigan’s Democratic Party Chair, Mark Brewer, and DNC Chair, Howard Dean, to adopt this proposal. If you live in MI, please make sure you provide your address so we can at least track those signers who are Michigan residents. And if you really like this proposed solution, please consider asking those you know in MI to sign it too. I will collect signatures over the next few days or weeks and then deliver it to Brewer and Dean.

Thanks!

photo by slushpup


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