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Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and those pesky MI and FL delegates

With the Democratic presidential nomination fight looking more and more like a draw, party leaders are becoming increasingly concerned about internal fallout should neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama seal the deal the old-fashioned way -- by earning enough delegates for a first-round win at the Democratic National Convention.

As our colleague Peter Nicholas reports in today's paper, the Clinton campaign is still pushing the national party to count delegates from the Michigan and Florida primaries, which she won. You'll recall that those states were stripped of their delegates because the state parties jumped the line and held unsanctioned early contests. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican, made a pitch earlier in the week for both national parties to seat all the delegates from the two states (the Republicans stripped half the delegates from the gun-jumpers).

A couple of points: First, courts have been loath to interfere with internal political party spats, arguing, essentially, that it's up to the parties to create the rules and sort out the messes themselves. But one suspects that if the Democratic National Committee changes its mind and seats the delegates -- even with the acquiescence of the Obama campaign -- while the nomination hangs in the balance, there would be a legal challenge by Obama supporters arguing that the party had violated its own rules after the fact. This is especially significant in Michigan, where Obama removed himself ...

from the ballot because of the sanctions, which meant people there couldn't have voted for him if they wanted to. And that's the kind of challenge the courts might take up.

Second, why is Crist so hot to have the delegates seated? His candidate, John McCain, sealed the Republican nomination the night before Granholm and Crist made their pitches. Yes, it would be good for GOP unity to have everyone seated, and as the party's standard-bearer in Florida, Crist certainly has a responsibility to make that case. At this point, the Republican Party loses nothing by letting all the Floridians in, though we're reminded of the necessity of firm and consistent discipline to handle an unruly child.

But the delegates are more important to the Democratic race right now. And with many Republicans preferring that McCain face off against Clinton instead of Obama, Crist's stance sounds like political game playing, similar to that of the Ohio Republicans who voted for Clinton on Tuesday. And it should be noted that Granholm's intent might not be pure, either -- she's a superdelegate who endorsed Clinton last fall.

-- Scott Martelle

Comments () | Archives (61)

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This is a democracy, and the voters of Fla. have voted.
They should be seated at the convention.
I don't care which party changed what dates, or what
rules, it is rightfully so that they be seated.

Since Obama's name was not on the Michigan Ballot
they should have a redo.

OBAMA will not be the nominee if he does not believe in
Democracy, and that the Fla. votes don't count.

Does Obama have the 2025 delegates? If not, please tell him to read the rules and shut his dishonest trap!

The presidency under Hilary.
1) The democrats lose the house and the republicans take over it
2) The democrats lose the new generation of voters
3) The divide between democrats and republicans increase
4) She would not be able to pass Healthcare, because the republicans would veto her decision
5) She would end the war in Iraq on her second term
6) She would start a war or at least blow up a country, to show she is as hard as the boys
7) She would help the economy
8) There would be a greater divide between blacks and hispanics
9) She would play the gender card as president

The presidency under McCain
1)He would heal the democrat and republican divide
2)He doesn't do anything for the economy
3) He extends the war in Iraq
4) He would start a war with a country or at least blow up a country, to show American strength

The Presidency under Obama
1)He would heal the democrat/republican divide
2) He brings new people to the democratic party
3) He ends the war on Iraq over 2 years
4) He would avoid blowing up a country, which would make him be perceived as weak
5) The republicans lose the house, and it helps him pass Healthcare
6) The Racist tag, affiliated with America, disappears
7) He would help the economy
8) He would heal the divide between blacks and hispanics

I hate to dissapoint you, but Hillary already won Florida! And a poll today shows a redo and she wins an even larger percent of voters! Seat the delegates! If this were Obama that had won, we would have Obama supporters and every organization imaginable raising Holly Heck!

There is a divide in philosophy among Dems and Republicans. And that is because of political philosophy of social and economic issues. Not a division among the people of these parties! Obama will not change that. He is further left than any candidate running for office, and with the least experience to back up anything he says he can do. And we have had a divide among the Democrats. He is definitely not healing anything! And it would only worsen in a General Election or Presidency. And that is a fact. Look at the latest polls!
And Florida, thanks for voting for her! You are not forgotten! We will see to it that your vote, just like any other American, does count! and same for Michigan! It is sad when anyone, in either party, says your vote should not count! If roles were reversed they would certainly want their vote counted! that I am sure of!

i wish Howard Dean would step in and get the candidates to keep to the high road. The fact is neither Obama or HIllary have the remote chance of winning in the fall without the support of the other. I started out the primary season fine with Hillary as the presumed party nominee and have enjoyed Obama's rise since then as well. Lately I've become *very disappointed* in Hillary's "kitchen sink" strategy. It's too bad because it's very apparent that if she doesn't get the Democratic nomination, she's going to take the party down with her. I campaigned door to door for her and her husband in the 90s but what I'm seeing now is cleared my sense of what they are about. At this point I just wish they'd do everyone a favor and get off the national stage.

Is DNC in violation of 15th Amendment?
My answer - Yes!
My argument…
1. The DNC with their “Super delegates,” is saying - Black voters votes were once given consideration of 4/5th of how white and other non-black voters vote were counted. So, to make it “fair” the “Super delegates” will not only make Black voters once again a 4/5th of a person - they will make Blacks voters and everyone else a 4/5th s person!
WOW! Is that a 15th Amendment violation or what?

2. The DNC not willing to count the Florida & Michigan votes - is also saying - we will not make the Black vote be worth 4/5th a vote - we will make it worth…ZERO/Fifths! AND - to make it “fair,” - we will make EVERYONE in Florida & Michigan vote be worth ZERO/Fifths!

Actually, Electress, this is not a democracy. This is a republic.

Bottom line, not allowing votes to be counted looks bad. Breaking the agreed upon rules when it's convenient looks bad. Arguing over the whole mess LOOKS BAD. This is a lose-lose situation, that will leave some people feeling disenfranchised no matter what happens.

I am of the opinion that is doesn't make a bit of difference either way. The only individuals that have a chance of being elected are all politicians. Politicians do not bring about real change of any kind, revolutions do.

Whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama wins either or both of these two states, Florida and Michigan are part of this country. Their votes must count, no matter what the arguments to disallow their votes are. A fair political process counts everybody's vote. Both states should be able to re-vote at a date that meets the DNC's rules (perhaps sharing in the cost could be the DNC "and" each of these two states), and then Florida's and Michigan's delegates be seated at the national convention. Fairness to all states, that's what it boils down to... after all, we are called The "United" States of America.

I’m Floridian, African American and under age fifty. I constantly hear the professionals on various shows about what the democrats will or won’t do, It feels as though I was invited to party showed up with my invitation only to be told that told I couldn’t participate, that’s what it feels like. Well I guess I will go to the other party I am sure they would love to have my participation.
The various political professionals that speak on these shows obviously have no idea how we feel. The Super Delegates might want to check with the election offices in Fl and MI to see how many democrats have changed their party affiliation recently I have, they might be surprised.
Then you have delegates and others with a pull that support one candidate then divorce them to marry another before they even lose and they divorce them publicly. That’s called unfaithful ALL day, theses are the kinds of things that divide a house. I will take four years of McCain rather than chance someone that has such a short record to run these UNITED STATES.

Silly me. I thought that we fought and died for the right to vote. I am changing my party affiliation, too. I am not a person of color, like you, but my grandson is. That would tend to indicate that I did not teach my children to be bigots. I am not under 50, I am over 60 and I clearly remember being entranced by JFK and his vision of a better world.
Democrat no more.

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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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