Sunday, August 26, 2007

Florida Democrats Might Want Their Vote To Count

Florida's Republican legislature moved their Primary Election to January 29th in defiance of Democratic National Committee rules. 210 Delegates are at stake since the DNC Rules Committee has imposed the harshest penalty of refusing seat Delegates elected prior to February 5th. Floridians are crying foul and disenfranchisement, seems an odd notion since the rules were in effect before the offense and it was clearly known. Democratic Party of Oregon had extended discussions on the matter last winter and made its opposition known to the legislature.

These front loading states may be making a large mistake in their thinking that they will attract candidates by moving up. The early field may get so crowded that candidates simply will not have the resources to give them the attention they desire. Candidates will definitely have to concentrate their early resources on large delegations if they crowd up. State like Oregon with a May 5th Primary (and a paltry delegation) may well turn into decisive votes if the candidates come out of the early fray bunched up. There are candidate strategies that could turn an early crowd into a low dollar campaign benefit, concentration on the small delegations could turn to advantage as the big bucks brawl in the big states.

The DNC certainly had the right to set the rules and the timetable limits, it is their Primary. Beyond a simple matter of "rights" is the matter of controlling chaos in the process. The practical effect of a DNC cave in on this issue is having Primary elections the day after Inauguration. OK, I exaggerate, but at what point does the thing become ludicrous and fall apart. I'd say it's already become ridiculous. The General Election is November 10th, this isn't a pregnancy, it does not take 9 months from Floridians voting and having an election.

I'd be real pleased to see these numbskulls have to sit on their hands February, March, and April to find out that Oregon just selected the nominee in May. Sure, it might not work that way; but it could and that's something to think about when States consider messing about with the Primary process. Size might not be all, it might get canceled by size, but that wouldn't occur to them - they're big.


Wayne said...

To clarify, while states have the right to set their own rules regarding primary elections, the DNC has the right to set the rules regarding the convention. At this point, we have a collision with the DNC and Florida, and could have it with Michigan soon, and could have it with a bunch of other states if the calendar can be violated.
The DNC's Rules Committee did the right thing.
But whatever happens, it's just another sign of how broken our presidential nominating system has become. Rotating regional primaries are something everyone likes, but states won't do that on their own -- it would take nationalizing the presidential primaries to do that.

Steve Culley said...

How about regional primaries, straight across the country, starting at the Canadian border, Have washington, Montana---Oregon Idaho-------California Nevada, mix it up, far left Oregon at the same time as Idaho, that kind of deal, would resemble the country better.

Steve Culley said...

Something that has absolutely no relevance to this post. Spent the day riding my 4 wheeler with a friend in the mountains. Got the .22's tuned up pretty good. Can hit a body shot on a grouse at 100 yards and with a little more tuning probably a head shot. Season opens in a few days. My mother who is well past 80 can still fry one up and make white gravy and mashed potatoes just like 40 years ago when we lived on the ranch. Pheasnts were darn good. Good to take a break from saving America. Damn I love eastern Oregon. Wish it was possible for a 5th generation eastern Oregon boy to live a country existence. Will open up some letters to the editor on Tom McCall and what he did to this culture later but for now am envisioning blue grouse.

Chuck Butcher said...

Is the Primary system broken? It's sure looking pretty wounded. I'm with Wayne on whether the states would do it on their own, they have "self-interest" in their way. I'm pretty sure that interest isn't congruent with national interest and isn't particularly in their own interest. I noted that there is every chance they will bury themselves in a crowd and if so who will be able to pay attention? I'd actually like to have a Primary that means something.

mbraymen said...

Do the delegates really matter? Seriously. Conventional wisdom is that the nomination will be all sown up after Feb 5th. Florida may actually have a bigger effect on the nomination process by going early with no delegates than later with their normal share. However, I am actually more interested in what we do in the iterim between this and the next election. I fear that we will look at the nomination process in a way that does not serve the Country or the Party. My opinion is that there has been too much emphisis on selecting a nominee as early as possible (to save money for the general, so that candidates don't beat up on each other too much) and not enough on selecting the best candidate and the "seasoning' of an extended campaign. In my opinon a national primary, although "fair" would be the worst way to select a nominee. Not enough voters across the country would be able to evaluate the canidates and money would become an even more important factor. There are a lot of ways to set up a primary calendar and I hope that next time the DNC rules committee looks at this, they look with an open mind for inovative solutions. Just for example, have states bid delegates away for more favorable (earlier) dates. Oh, and remember to keep the purpose in mind and assume that if a state can do something to mess up the plan they will (because we Are Democrats ;-)