Friday, January 18, 2008

The Idiocy That Was the Michigan Democratic Primary

Several of you left comments or wrote and were confused as to why my vote didn't count in Michigan.

So was I.

I mean, by the day of the primary I understood, intellectually, why my vote wouldn't count, but I didn't understand the idiocy of the Michigan Democratic Party's actions in terms of why my vote wouldn't count.

Basically, the situation was this: Michigan didn't like having a late primary date. Both Michigan parties felt that it was time that Michigan broke the stronghold of the influence of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. And you know what? I agree with that part.

Because I believe our primary system, and our national elections system in general, is irreparably broken. But that's fodder for another post.

In any case, the Democratic National Party apparently has rules that the Republican National Party does not. The DNC's rules are that no state aside from Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada can hold a primary prior to February 5th. But Michigan decided to, and so did Florida. And the delegates from both states were stripped for the National Convention. We should have had 156 delegates. We now will have none, 17, or 34 (at least those are the numbers I've heard bandied around - if anyone wants to correct me on this, I'd be delighted). All the major national Democratic candidates said they would not campaign in Michigan for that reason. To avoid offending New Hampshire and Iowa, and to be fair to the rules of the DNC, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson and Joe Biden withdrew their names from the Michigan ballot. Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gavel remained on the ballot (apparently, these candidates care less about fairness). Since Dodd and Gavel had withdrawn by the time of the election, that left Michiganders with three choices - Hillary Clinton, Dennis Kucinich or a strange category called "Uncommitted." We couldn't even do write-ins, even though a write-in slot was listed, because no candidate had registered to be a write-in candidate.

This created a huge mess for the absentee balloteers, because the Michigan Democratic Party neglected to mention this fact until after many of the absentee ballots had already come in. The only way to support Barack Obama or John Edwards, for example, was to check off the "uncommitted" box and hope/pray that a. Michigan would actually be given a few delegates, b. that the Michigan Democratic Party would deign to acknowledge that not every Michigan Democrat wanted either Hillary Clinton or Dennis Kucinich, and c. that the folks who went to the convention as "uncommitted" delegates actually voted for the candidate you wanted - which is anybody's guess, because the votes for Obama, Edwards, and even those who want to draft Gore (yes, they're still out there) would all be lumped together.

So, because I really, really believe in the importance of voting, I voted.

But as you might have guessed, since neither Ms. Clinton nor Mr. Kucinich are my candidates, I didn't really have a say. And it stinks, as far as I'm concerned.

For perhaps clearer information on the DNC's ruling on Michigan, please see this article.

Okay, and for something a bit lighter...

This is a last gasp reminder for The Writing Game. I'm still having people join, although I'm disorganized enough that I can't list them today. I'll list the final group some time early next week. If you still want to join, please check the rules here, and send me your ideas by midnight tonight, GMT -5, to jenshaines at aol dot com.

17 comments:

cablegirl said...

I hear you. I'm in Florida and will be int he same situation come the 29th.

Flower Child said...

I think DC might have a primary. not really sure. I'm pretty much used to not having my vote count. Mad as hell, but repressing my rage a little.

Luisa Perkins said...

That's so very stinky. Grrrrr.

thailandchani said...

That is really weird. I'd never heard of that before.

anno said...

It sucks. At least they can't strip us of our electoral college votes. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in November.

Marianne Arkins said...

Because everyone starting bumping stuff up, and NH still wanted to be the "first in the nation primary", we bumped, too... and lost half our delgates.

So, though my vote did count (unfortunately, it only counted once, so my candidate didn't win), we still don't have *as much* prestige as we once did.

The whole thing is a bunch of hooey. Seriously. In this day and age, do we really even need delegates or the electoral college?

Okay... you're right. That's a whole 'nuther blog post.

Mariposa said...

Lurking and just saying present! I can't vote...lol

Karen Olson said...

I heard about this on NPR last week, but your explanation is a lot clearer. How odd this is.

I lived in Connecticut, and we have always had our primary in August. But this year we're on Super Tuesday, so we'll feel like we'll have more of a say.

I don't like it that people are already calling it. Up to now, everything's been a surprise. The poll have been way off. I don't think this is over yet.

capitolady said...

I hear you there! We sure do need an overhaul in our political process but to just throw away votes like that is just unreal!

But... You did vote. As is your right!

Congrats!

Jan said...

I don't pretend to understand politics...I admit it... LOL You got a raw deal though. (((HUGS)))))

Leslie said...

It all seems so made up, you know? As if, these can't possibly be the real rules.

I'm interested to see how things will play out.

As for The Writing Game, as much as I hate to abstain from anything, I think I've got to sit on the sidelines for this one. I've got the dumb right now. My brain is on strike.

painted maypole said...

the whole primary thing is beyond ridiculous, and then you throw in what MI just did? so stupid!!! and caucuses? what on earth is that folly? ack!

government by the people for the people my foot!! archaic nonsense.

Wholly Burble said...

These things are getting so odd, I really don't see how any intelligent decisions are made.

Alex Elliot said...

That is nuts! Thanks for the explanation.

Greg said...

While it might be worthwhile to consider the order of the primaries in the different states, it never fails to amaze me how the Democratic Party shoots itself in the foot.

Goofball said...

so why do NH, Nevada, and those other states have a different role than the other states?

Scott said...

Yes, this was a ridiculous fiasco of a primary. I hope you'll let party leaders and your state legislator know how you feel. You can find some tips for doing that at WhoStoleMiVote.org