Saturday, May 31, 2008

FL and MI: ½ off

Can we now say it's over? As most expected, Florida and Michigan got a 50% penalty. Those were the rules everyone agreed to in the first place. The tricky part of course was Michigan, where it was hard to gauge how many Clinton voters would have voted for someone else if there had been no other choice than "uncommitted." In the end, the DNC voted 19-8 to accept the state party's recommendation and peeled off four of her delegates resulting in a 59-49 split.

Although Harold Ickes has threatened to take the issue of awarding of the "uncommitted" delegates from Michigan, it may very well be for naught. A battle over four delegates is going to be pointless if they only count for two votes unless there's a dead tie on the first ballot in Denver. The fact remains that even with the magic number now set at 2118, Barack Obama is 66 delegates away from going over the top. Hillary Clinton is 240 away. But by conceding Florida (the committee's vote was 27-0 to split the state 105-69 with a handful going to John Edwards), Clinton effectively admitted the race really is over, even if she didn't say so directly.

With the final primaries in Puerto Rico tomorrow and in Montana and South Dakota Tuesday, the time has come to bring the two sides together. Whether Mrs. Clinton is on the ballot line this fall or not, she and Obama need to at least sit down and come up with a platform that will present the Dems as the party with the new ideas and a bold strategy to turn the world around. We progressives of course know they are already, but they need to appeal to the moderate vote who could still be persuaded to vote for John McCain in the fall.

However, the idea of having such a prolonged struggle as this year's should scare the wits out of those who are thinking about next time. There is a very strong argument for having four regional primaries for each of the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and West rotating every election season -- which each primary about four weeks apart, going from February to May. This would give candidates plenty of time to cover the ground and address issues specific to each region. It would also end the pointless "who's on first" game because everyone would know who's turn it was first.

It would also give late comer candidates time to declare. The idea one has to announce nearly a year or more before Iowa is just stupid -- especially if you have ideas that need to be shaped over a longer period of time.

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1 comment:

Anthony said...

those four delegates are probably gonna be what extends this contest, not because clinton can win, but because it gives her hope.

A HUGE mistake by the DNC to use exit polls to determine the outcome of an election