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Hillary Clinton and the Michigan delegates

Hillary Clinton again today banged the drum for the Democratic National Committee to let the Michigan and Florida delegates go to the party in Denver in August. "Honor the results or hold new primary elections," she said. "I don't see any other solutions that are fair and honor the commitment that 2 and a half million voters made in the Democratic primaries in those two states."

That's a somewhat different tack from the one she was taking back in October -- which also, of course, was back before anyone realized just how tight the race for the Democratic presidential nomination was Dncclogohorizcolorfinal going to be. Back then, just after Barack Obama and others withdrew from the Michigan ballot, Clinton told a caller into a New Hampshire Public Radio program that the Michigan vote wouldn't matter. "It's clear, this election they're having is not going to count for anything," she said.

But Clinton also addressed a key issue back then that remains alive: Whether the Democratic Party would be giving the Republicans an advantage in those two crucial states by ticking off rank-and-file Democrats who had nothing to do with the state party's decision to thumb a collective nose at the DNC and its primary and caucus calendar. She said then:

"I did not believe it was fair to just say, 'Goodbye Michigan' and not take into account the fact we're going to have to win Michigan if we're going to be in the White House in January 2009.... I just personally did not want to set up a situation where the Republicans are going to be campaigning between now and whenever, and then after the nomination, we have to go in and repair the damage to be ready to win Michigan in 2008.... If you look at some of the states we have to win, the margins have been narrow. And it wasn't, in my view, meaningful, but I'm not going to say there's an absolute, total ignoring of the people in all these other states that won't come back to haunt us if we're not careful about it."

It's already haunting the party. Remember, it was just a few months ago that people were talking about how divided the Republicans were and how united the Democrats were. Now John McCain stands alone to prepare for the general election, and the Democrats are not only fighting for delegates, but also over who the delegates will be.

That might be enough to get Howard Dean, the DNC chair,  to scream again.

-- Scott Martelle

Comments () | Archives (41)

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"Honor the results"????.. shocking to think that she would consider possible the validation of an election in which only one of the candidates (herself of course!) was on the ballot. I think it is plain unfair and shameless... coming from a presidential candidate, it is scary too..

If anyone supports not counting those people's vote, it is plain that you don't support democracy. How can anyone sit here and make an arguement for not counting votes in any way shape or form. Maybe you don't agree with the way the results played out, then we can do it over to apease you, if you arugment is that they couldn't campaign. FINE. But don't sit here and deny people the right to vote, because of a fevor one has for a canidate. THAT is not AMERICAN and that is not democracy, no matter how you look at it. This is not Obama nation.

The Primary process is not about democracy. It is about a political party choosing a candidate to compete in a Democratic process that takes place in November. That's why the rules are governed by the party and not the constitution. Both Hillary and Barack can run in November. Just that one of them would be booted from the club!!

Count our votes as is. Sorry to Obama, for choosing to take his name off the ballot here in Michigan! He was still on the ballot in Florida, and he lost still!

Hillary '08

"He was still on the ballot in Florida, and he lost still!"

Of course he lost. None of the Democratic candidates were allowed to campaign in Florida. As a result, the candidate with the highest name recognition "won".

And, yes, I know that a few Obama commercials were broadcast in Florida (because he had purchased air-time on a multi-state contract). But it can't be said that either candidate campaigned aggressively in Florida.

look, if Hillary continues to spout off about changing/breaking the rules and we allow that, how will every other Country ever view us/her in future. There are rules in treaties and agreements--they'll just think we don't care about rules, or agreements, or commitments, if she gets any power.

I guess I keep missing something. The Michigan legislature moved the dates and the DNC said your punishment is that your delegates won't count if you do move the date. They moved the date and were punished, but now they want to undo what they caused.... wow I see a pattern here, in michigan here we have a democratic mayor who stole 9 million dollars from the people of detroit, yet has the nerve to tell everyone to get over it and let him do his job. When will anyone take responsibility of the their own actions and accept the consequences that come with those actions good or bad. Well at least Elliot Spitzer took responsibility and accepted the consequences.

darryl Touchet must be retarded. The votes can't be counted, because of course the results are reflective of only a small portion of Democrats - the ones who actually educate themselves on the process - stayed home. When your told your vote doesn't count, you stay home. Typicall Hillary doublespeak.

If Hillary want the votes counted then the only fair way to count them is to split them 50/50 and because she agreed to the way it was before it all started ! If she doesn't like the 50/50 split then she needs to keep her mouth shut at leat the votes are counted !

nothing says the residents in MI & FL can't vote in Nov. So no one is "disenfranchising" anyone.

We are not divided in our goal of seeing someone who wants to bring our troops home. We are not divided in our goal to see someone in the W/H who will give a damn about the middle class. We are not divided in not wanting to see a continuation of foreign policy follies that have ruined our credibility around the world. I'm only 30 but the America I grew up in, gave a damn about Americans first. I wish someone would please have an American 1st. Platform. We can't do anything for anyone else until we are where we were, these past 7 years have been 4 steps backward.

I support the Democratic Nominee!

The consequences for moving the primaries up, in violation of party rules, were clearly laid out. Clinton supporters who now see these two states as part of last hope strategy to override the delegate system by emphasizing the popular vote are making all democrats look like whining cheaters.

Follow the rules, its a delegate system! The failure of your candidate to secure the nomination is not justification for changing rules.

Why does everyone complain about this not being democratic and say how horrible the DNC is for not counting these votes? Ifeel pretty certain stating that the rules were laid out before these two states decided to bump up their dates. Why doesn't anyone hold the state Democratic party leaders at fault? This is like a pothead asking for a re-do in life after being told that pot makes you dumb and lazy since grade school. Chillary Clinton now sounds like the loser pothead's mom saying we should build a time machine to get her kid's life back on track so he can take care of her when she reaches old age. She's a pear shaped hypocrite.


Darryl - the issue is not about people having the right to vote. The issue is that the DNC had its rules and it told Michigan and Florida not to buck the rules, and not to schedule their primaries for as early as they did. And they said, if you do that, your delegates will not be seated. So the Democrats in Michigan had a choice. They could fight the party and try to make the party agree with them regarding the timing, or they could vote KNOWING that their votes would not count for anything.

Why do you insist that people who are told the consequences of an action in advance are being injured by the enforcement of those consequences? Isn't that just refusing to take responsibility for one's actions?

Michaganders and Floridans need to be angry with either their respective state Democratic committees or the DNC. But the whining about the rules being enforced, and people being disenfranchised has me stumped.

of course hil wants the mich-flor primary to count as stands, but thats an unfair representation of how the voters really feel. her experience? like how she and bill paid the minimum on the taxes they tried to skip out on? or her tie-in with whitewater? the documents that popped-up after the court case? how much have they already cost the people? pull out of iraq in 60 days? think of all the equipment that would be lost! the military needs the gear, not just the bodies.

Scary is right. To think that we want to reward the Clintons when Bill did so much to tear the party apart.

I personally find it interesting, that Hillary showed up in Florida the day of the announce, she wasn't campaigning.

Hold firm, Michigan! Do not let the Clinton campaign change the rules in the middle of the game.

I think it is funny that the democrats accuse Bush of "stealing the vote" in Florida in 2000, and now a democrat is trying to "steal the vote" in Florida in 2008. If the delgates get seated from the primaries in Michigan and Florida it will just go to show that the democratic party does not know how to follow its own rules and has no scruples. I wonder if Clinton is a racists for trying to keep the black man down by trying to steal votes in Mighigan and Florida. How could such racism be coming from the wife of the "first black president? Is Obama a sexist for not allowing a revote in Michigan or Flordia assuming the states can agree on how to hold a revote?

If it's so un-American, why did Hillary sign off on the agreement NOT to count the votes as punishment for breaking the rules? What I see as un-American is to try to change the rules after the game has been played. Here in Florida, the proposal to move the primary ahead in violation of the rules was made by a Democrat, and not a single Democrat in the state legislature voted against it. My solution is simple and won't cost the states nor the Democratic Party a single quarter. After all the primaries are over, take the total number of delegates available nationwide and make a ratio of that number and the number Obama won, and award him that portion of the Fl and Mi delegates. Same with Hillary. Whatever portion she wins nationwide, she'll receive in Fl and Mi delegates. The delegates get seated, so their states count. Problem solved.

i think it is unfair to include Florida's votes. I didn't vote because i knew my vote wouldn't count. If you want to include Florida then we have to have a re-vote with the same rules as any primary

Harry Truman refused to help China defeat the communists and then because he refused to fight to win we lost North Korea ,because he was a coward.
Johnson got us into Vietnam then refused to fight to win ,because he was a coward
Jiommy Carter abandoned the Shah and Radical Muslims took contro in Iran, because he is a coward.
Clinton cut and ran from Somalia, did nothing after almost a dozen terrorist attacks, took NO action when Saddam kicked out the UN weapons inspectors, and made a deal with North Korea that had no verification tools and they immediatly cheated, because he is a coward.
See a pattern here? The democrats have NO clue when it comes to National security. The people of this country need to study history. If we don't examine and acknoledge our past mistakes we are doomed to repeat them. Joe Knight

""Honor the results"????.. shocking to think that she would consider possible the validation of an election in which only one of the candidates (herself of course!) was on the ballot. I think it is plain unfair and shameless... coming from a presidential candidate, it is scary too..

Posted by: angela | March 12, 2008 at 07:51 PM"

Oh please . . . they're politicians and everything and nothing is fair.

Shameless . . . well maybe, but that too is just a tool in the politicians bag.

The rules under the DNC were for 50 states not 48.
Those voters unhappy with the decision by the DNC should vote out the morons in their own state that got them into this fix..
The DNC clearly stated the ramifications of holding early elections. MI and FL proceeded. Take responsibility for the mistakes and move forward.

You MI and FL folks cry cry cry all you want, but the bottom line is YOU KNEW there would be NO delegates presented to the winner. All of this is for nothing, so move on.

this is the question no one is asking or talking about? why do we ask for the resignation of the democratic parties in FL and MI who knew that the DNC was not going to count the delegates if they went forward with the primaries? they are the once who caused this mess and not the candidates nor the DNC.

There seems to be this spin about who wants the states to be counted. I have a hard time believing that any American would not think that Michigan and Florida voters should be heard. I also think that most people would agree that the outcome of both the primaries is not necessarily reflective of the actual voice of its voters. It seems that in knowing that it wouldn't count, some would not attend- possibly many and in the case of Michigan, it seems insane to use the results of a primary which had only one candidate on the ballot.

The whole thing was botched. What is really at the root of this? Why did anyone agree to continue with the primary- knowing well what the consequences would be. This must have served someone.

The only fair thing to do is to somehow re-do. I don't believe that we can't find the money for this. Why don't they start a special fund at the DNC for contributions? They would have it in under a week.

We (Michigan & Florida) did not want to play by the rules and were aware that if we moved our primaries up that we would be penalized by not being seated at the convention. We went forward anyways. Now we want a do over. PLEASE GIVE ME A BREAK. I don't believe a do over should have even been offered.

As a result, "our" Dem Candidate choice may not be the primary winner come election time. It was "our" party that penalized us because "our" state could not play by the rules.

Maybe now people will pull their heads out and wake up, this should be a lesson learned. It wasn't very long ago that Florida put Bush in the White House so every vote is important. Next time abide by the rules and we can be part of the primary process as well as the General Election.

The democrats don't give a damn about anyone's vote. If they did, they wouldn't have agreed to ignore MI and FL in the first place. And if you count MI and FL, guess what happens in four years? Every single state will move its primary elections way way up. There had to be some way to stop that madness, and the democrats came up with a way. Hillary is crazy. And I mean crazy, like literally crazy. She's a pathetic loser who signed a pledge to ignore FL and MI and now is a big cry baby about it and is acting like she has amnesia. And if she won MI and FL by 75% to 25% she would still NOT EVEN BE CLOSE to having more popular votes or delegates than obama, and in reality, the vote would be within 8%, so...again...she is a crazy woman who doesn't give a damn about you, your country, or your vote. She would rather destroy a political party than do the right thing.

It sure doesn't give me confidence when the Hillary team conveniently forgets what happened that caused this mess.

The facts seem to be that MI and FL in an attempt to make their votes count, decided to move their primaries up in the schedule. The DNC warned them that if they did, their delegates wouldn't be seated. What else was the DNC to do - allow all states to move their primaries to January?

When that happened, the candidates all agreed to those rules. It seems the voters in MI and Fl should complain to their state party and to their elected offcials who did this to them.

In my opinion, if there is a re-vote, in addition to selecting which candidate, the voters should also get to toss the elected officials who helped create this mess out of office.

Coming into the primary season, clinton thought she had the nomination "sewed up" and that ANY challenger to her campaign was in a "no-win" situation. Now that Obama has proven to be a MOST viable alternative, clinton is proving, on a daily basis, that there is NOTHING that she won't "stoop" to to win - and THAT will contribute the most to her own defeat. People are finding out that the outgoing friend-to-the-people facade is nothing more than a schrade and that in actuallity she is deceitful, spiteful, and completely vindictive towards anyone NOT blindly "serving" her in this primary contest.

You cannot change the rules during the middle of the game. It was clearly understood by everyone involved that these votes would not count in the primary. It is once again the same old dirty tricks by the people in Washington DC. I say ""Not this time".......

Go Obama Go....

The people of Michigan and Florida both had a chance to vote and have their votes count. Unfortunately their local Democratic Party leaders betrayed them by moving the date of the vote, contrary to DNC rules.

Now, Hillary has Flip Flopped on the issue. She wants to change the rules, that she agreed to, so she can become the President. Apparently her message to America is, The Only Rules For American Society Is No Rules At All.

Had Hillary followed the other candidates (or led) with taking her name off the ballot in Michigan the controversy about the fact that the votes wouldn't count would have been more evident and might have been addressed sooner. Clearly she thought keeping her name on would give her an advantage if the DNC changed their position which they now obviously won't do.

Hey. Since the crats are determined to throw away the crucial States of Florida and Michigan I have figured out how they can still win in November. All they got to do is convince McVain to pick a Crat for VP. If he croaks then crats will have total control over the government. It is obvious even to Bubba that the crats want McVain in the Whitehouse. Mcvain is almost as liberal as Bush. Them crats sure is smart. You would think them Publicans would wise up to the strategy on the left. Four more years of a liberal RINO and we will all be broke.

To darryl Touchet:

There is nothing democratic about allowing results to stand that did not have every candidate on the ballot, nor allow the candidates to get to know the local populous through campaigning. Do people even realize that those who wanted Obama in Michigan voted Uncommited, which amounted to 40% of the vote? How much higher would that be had he campaigned, were on the ballot, and voters who didn't vote (like me) knew instead that their vote WOULD be counted in the end? Rules are rules, fair is fair, and breaking them to favor one candidate over the other, while upsetting those who didn't have a chance to voice their opinion accurately, is PATENTLY undemocratic! Your bias is ridiculously obvious, and your argument for your version of democracy is equally ridiculous.

What part of breaking the rules = consequences do you not understand?

Another falacy is that the Democrats that did vote in Florida came out for the presidential primary. The fact is, a long awaited property tax amendment proposal was on the ballot that most Floridians cared more about than either party's primary. The property tax brought the voters out, not Hillary, as her campaign would have you believe.

I guess that the restriction to be over 13 years of age is related to the fact that children DO say the truth! The truth and nothing but the truth is that the fight is about "AT BAT ROTATION"! New team with new “supporters” needs to slice the American dream pie, a pie that is more restricted than ever. "WE" want to know everything about a presidential candidate, even his kindergarten “essays” papers in order to vote for him/her. The irony is that “WE” did this for all our past presidents that now “WE” are complaining about. Did we ever learn anything along all these “presidential campaigns”? Not ever, every 4 years “WE” get caught in the same mistakes, “WE” are bombarded with myriads of analysts/pundits/bloggers opinions about a process that hardly can be called democratic. MI re-do election is ready to be bought by sugar daddies in the name of democracy, the Democrat Party has “supper delegates” that are ready to turn down the vote of the people, the electoral vote is there for the same reasons at the national level. There is no doubt WHY people do not want to be a part of the process, what happened with BO is just a ride on the back of people desire to change all these, the crude reality just crashed it. Look forward for the majority of people getting back where they were before – NOT INTERESTED. It seems that “WE” are smarter than “supper delegates” and electorates.

So, I am proposing, for the sanity of the people, to just scraped the whole process, let’s elect our future president based on SSN lottery and a panel of our best psychologists –“Born in the USA and SANE at the moment of the election” you get a 4 year dream job!! Imagine what we can do with all the money saved, create green jobs, pay for universal healthcare, schools, education or just maybe start another war. Nice, easy and in accord with American spirit – PRAGMATIC! Maybe, for all the people that participated with all their hearts until now, Obama should thinnk seriously about a 3rd party - the base is there!

Please see below which puts more perspective on this issue of voter disenfranchisement. "...a new study suggests that counting the two states’ results would disenfranchise almost as many people who probably would have voted in a party-approved primary, but didn’t go to the polls because they figured their ballots wouldn’t be counted..."

I am a Florida voter myself who would have voted for Obama and opted not to based on the DNC edict.

Additionally, Clinton agreed to the DNC rules and commented on it way back in October when FL & MI were not factors.

Oh we go again!

I voted in the Michigan primary. I voted despite the fact that it was made clear that my vote would not be counted. I voted a) to participate in the process and b) to come out and be counted to hopefully point out to the DNC and Michigan Democratic Party how many people they screwed.

Hillary was not the only candidate on the ballot. Kucinich and Gravel were also on it (maybe one more, I don't remember), and the other option was "Uncommitted".

Others people I know voted in the Republican primary because they at least got half their delegates, and many others skipped it as meaningless.

So, as someone who went through it in person, I think it's ludicrous to try and count those votes. The only possible way to do it is to hold a new vote, which is not going to happen.

Amusingly, "Uncommitted" actually beat Hillary in a few counties. In the others, Uncommited wasn't too far behind, the state totals had 40% Uncommitted.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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