What's the real problem about redoing Michigan and Florida? News reports have indicated that Obama's camp doesn't want a revote. Others said the various legislatures and political forces in the respective states don't want to have them either. Too much money? Or too unwieldy?
Or does a revote just make too much sense?
Whatever the reasons that caused the movers and shakers in these large states to defy the rules of the Democratic Party and move their primaries up to a forbidden date, the reality is that their actions have created a chaotic situation and may well adversely influence the national electorate in the November election.
Why? Because a lot of legitimate voters in those states, who, knowing the pitfalls of the election results but with no other option to express their political preferences in this pivotal election year, went to the polls to convey their feelings and will feel shortchanged and, worse, angry if their points of view are summarily dismissed.
This, because even though neither of the candidates campaigned in Florida, there was apparently a record turnout of 1.7 million voters, which gave a 50%-33% share of the vote to Hillary Clinton. Did these voters do so as a lark, knowing full well that their votes wouldn't amount to anything? A sort of "Let's tease Hillary to make her think she's popular, though our first choice is Barack Obama, but we'll withhold our votes for him to have this really big laugh at Clinton's expense."
Friends, even if the Florida primary isn't perfect, because, as some say, there's no way of knowing how many stayed home figuring the primary didn't matter, it doesn't explain away why such a huge turnout took place and why the overwhelming sentiment expressed that day was directed toward Hillary's candidacy.
But even so, and before you jump on me as a Hillary stooge, I would have to say that, given the circumstances and recognizing the rules, the Florida vote cannot count as it currently stands. And the Michigan vote is even worse, because most of the major candidates were not on the ballot, so a case can more effectively be made that Hillary's win there shouldn't matter any way you analyze those returns.
However it cannot be forgotten that a lot of people took the time to vote in those two states, and they will be furious if their voices are not included in the selection process. Some are fearful that it will either create a backlash against whoever is the Democratic nominee or that a lot of people will just sit on their hands in November and not bother to show up and vote at all.
For crying out loud, the stakes are so high this year, the numbers in popular vote and delegate votes for the two candidates are so close, and it's clear that neither will win the majority necessitated by Democratic convention rules. That brings us to the super delegates, who are being put in the proverbial rock in a hard place situation. Their very reason for being was so that we might take advantage of their long years of service and political know-how to help the party arrive at the proper decision by allowing them to independently make a determination as to what will work best to ensure victory in November, not simply to ratify whoever has won a plurality.
That's why redoing Michigan and Florida is the only real solution, because, even if they give neither Clinton or Obama the actual votes to put one of them over the top, it will surely give the super delegates an indication about how voters are viewing the respective candidacies and at a late, very telling stage of the campaign. And from two so very different regions -- a northern industrial state with major unemployment issues, and a mixed bag sort of southern state that has a lot of northeastern retirees, plus a huge Cuban American population.
If Obama is really the one to beat, then why should he resist courting these voters in a June contest, especially since after Pennsylvania and North Carolina how much other campaigning does he have to do that's all that important, considering the scant number of states remaining in the primary line-up?
And why allow Clinton to inflame her supporters by reminding everyone that without campaigning she won Florida by such a large margin in a record turnout -- and with Obama's name on the ballot. Why allow Clinton to blame Obama for helping to squelch a chance to allow Florida, the fourth largest state, and Michigan, which is ranked eighth, to have a significant influence at the Denver convention?
If Obama has convinced everyone by June that he is the candidate most admired and trusted, he has nothing to fear and it will be reflected by his showing in a redo of the Michigan and Florida primaries. He doesn't even have to win, just get a lot closer. It's really Hillary's day to lose, and if she falters badly then I believe it will be time for her to step aside. However, if we don't have the revote so many questions will linger, not to mention the festering bad feelings, making the lot of the super delegates incredibly difficult.
Wouldn't it be best to sort this all out while there's still so much time to make it happen, instead of standing on ceremony and endless talking about the money it will cost, and who's going to pay for the process, and whether accepting money from such a source might be viable?
If the candidates and political and governmental leaders are truly concerned about providing a fair and meaningful climax to the 2008 winter and spring primary/caucus contests then this is the best course of action. Remember how the Supreme Court imposed itself on the 2000 election, and in a relatively short time actually determined the winner without even permitting an accurate count of the votes. We have three months until summer begins and thus the opportunity to show those misguided jurists how to do it right by putting out a call to voters in Florida and Michigan, telling them we care about their concerns and their opinions. We need them to help us arrive at the proper conclusion to effect vitally needed unity and hence the best result for our party and for our nation.
If the party leaders and/or any of the major candidates shake their heads and things continue as they currently are then we face such an incredibly uphill fight in the fall that Sysyphus himself might think that, in comparison, his unending upward climb was a snap.