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Chip Collis

Chip Collis

Posted: May 12, 2008 11:59 AM

Five Reasons To Reject The Clinton MI Plan


The Clinton campaign is desperate to find some way, ANY way, no matter how skuzzy, sleazy, below-board or outright Republican, to convince the world and the superdelegates that she is actually winning the Democratic nomination. The cornerstone of her recent attempts to alchemize the dross of her tattered campaign into nomination gold is the seating of the delegations from the discredited and discounted Florida and Michigan primaries, even if it means trashing the Constitution.

These results are heavily skewed in her favor, both in terms of delegates awarded and absolute popular vote. If she is successful at gaining these votes, she believes that superdelegates will flock to her banner in overwhelming numbers, overturning by fiat and coup Barack Obama's insurmountable delegate lead. But it is so unlikely that the leadership of the Democratic Party will take the candidacy away from the first African-American to win the primaries that the entire media has already pivoted to the general election, as have the campaigns of Obama and his Republican opponent, John McCain.

In fact, the only candidate still running in the primaries is Hillary Clinton. Obama is kind of jogging, and McCain is using a walker.

May 31 is the key date for Hillary's hopes. On that day, the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (R&BC) will rule on the fate of the two states. This is the body that originally took away Florida's and Michigan's eligibility, but they also have the power to restore it and legitimize their delegations, in whatever form they deem fit. Clinton is relying on her cadre of a dozen of her superdelegates on R&BC to lift her up, but as I reported last week, at least one of them is leaning against giving her what she wants.

Michigan seems to be sticking in everyone's craw. As flawed as the Florida primary was, it was a relatively level playing field. For a variety of reasons, Florida quite possibly will be seated as-is.

But Michigan is an entirely different story. There are five very compelling reasons to deny the results of their January 15 primary, and while some of them also apply to Florida, taken as a whole they provide plenty of reason for R&BC to reject the Clinton coup and reach a fairer settlement on the Michigan delegation.

Reason #1: The rules are the rules

When Michigan attempted to do this in 2004, then-DNC Chair and current Clinton Campaign Chair Terry McAuliffe threatened sanctions by saying "The rules are the rules." This applies to both states, and has been the basis for Howard Dean and the DNC to all along claim that the delegate math does not include either state, and that the finish line is 2025 delegates. And while the rules stated that the penalty would be losing half their delegates, the current situation was agreed to by all candidates, as I discuss in this article.

Reason #2: Tabula rasa: the empty slate

Part of the agreement was for candidates to remove their name from the MI ballot, and every major candidate did, except for Clinton. This resulted in an open field for her, and yet she still garnered only 55% of the vote, with fully 40% of the people voting "uncommitted." Without head-to-head results of a race between Obama and Clinton, there's no way of knowing what the delegate (and popular vote) distribution would have been.

Reason #3: MI Dems reject this solution

The Michigan Democratic party has repeatedly said that they want a solution that is acceptable to both campaigns, and have submitted their own solution to the DNC - 69 delegates to Clinton, 59 delegates to Obama. The R&BC should weight a solution from the state itself much more heavily than a solution from either candidate.

Reason #4: MI turnout is not representative of electorate

Knowing that their results would not count, Democrats stayed home that day. Need proof of that? Well, Dem turnout was about 600,000. Ohio, which has a comparably-sized population, brought out 2.3 MILLION, while North Carolina, slightly smaller than MI, saw 1.3 million voters, and Georgia just over a million. OH, MI, GA and NC rank 7-8-9-10 in US population. Based on these numbers, a true contest in Michigan would have brought between double and quadruple the turnout.

Reason #5 (my fave!): The Presidential Oath, the whole Oath!

The greatest crime of George Walker Bush is that he has ignored the second part of the Presidential Oath of office: "...and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." In order to gain that office, Hillary is also willing to jettison the Constitution.

On March 27, a federal judge ruled that the Michigan primary was unconstitutional, for reasons having nothing to do with either Clinton or Obama. That's the Ace of Trumps in my book, and should be for any person aspiring to serve as President. Hillary Clinton's willingness to use unconstitutional means to get her way is yet another parallel between her and George W. Bush, and more than any other reason should convince the R&BC to reject the January 15 Michigan primary results.