Monday, January 28, 2008

Florida and Michigan

The states of Florida and Michigan decided through their legislatures to jump the Primary schedule in the face of DNC promises that they would not be seated. The DNC owns the Democratic Primary, period. No state owns it, they can do it several ways, the State Party can self finance a Primary, go with State financed, or self-finance caucuses. What they cannot do is violate DNC rules.

The Republican legislatures of Michigan and Florida convinced people that their states were too important to have to follow the rules and some Democrats went along. Either State Party could have opted out of the state financed Primary and either self-financed one or caucused. They followed the deluded Republican view, instead. The Democratic voters of those states were betrayed first by the Republicans and then by their own State Party; not the DNC.

Because presidential candidates actually know the score on who owns the Primaries, they all agreed to not campaign in those states because the DNC was not going to seat delegates chosen on the basis of an illegitimate Primary vote. This agreement is now broken.

Hillary has decided that her Clintonism is more important than the rules of the DNC, she has stated that she will have her delegates seat Michigan and Florida. This sort of behavior is one that I cannot abide. Breaking a deal without the assent and cooperation of the other parties in the deal is lying and cheating. It is despicable behavior, there is not another word for it. She can pretty it up as respecting their voting franchise, which is entirely inaccurate. Until the deadline for delegate selection these states are free to participate in caucusing, by DNC rules governing caucuses.

If you believe that the pursuit of the Democratic nomination justifies any sort of behavior what ever, you will have no problem with this. I have a huge problem with it and I am quite confident that the DNC will have huge problems with this idea of Hillary's. She may believe she holds a whip hand of some sort, I'm pretty confident that despite her pals in the DLC she has just walked right into a wall. My guess is that with its neutrality in Primaries, the DNC will have little to nothing to say, right up until it denies seats to the rule breakers and their delegates to the deal breaker.

***Update***
this excerpted from comments and I want it up here:
Hi Chuck,

I'm actually not pro-Clinton at all, I'm pro-Michigan; see WhoStoleMiVote.org for details. I did read your post, and while I agree with your analysis that the DNC has the final say in seating delegates, I think that the way they chose delegates in this election disenfranchised Michigan voters such as myself, and so far Florida voters. A core component of a democratic process is "one person, one vote". By ignoring the votes of Michigan and Florida voters, the Democratic party used an process to select its nominee which was not a democratic process. As you say, they have every right to do this, but having a right to do something doesn't make it the right thing to do, and here I think the Democratic party has made the wrong decision. As such, I think that anybody doing anything to oppose their un-democratic delegate selection process is doing a public service. While Clinton did not take any action at all until it would clearly benefit her, at least she is taking some action, and I feel that it's important to give her some credit for that.

Scott,
It has nothing to do with the DNC, you can fix your mess if your state party will do so. You all had the opportunity and the warning well before you went ahead and broke the rules. If you want to get pissed, you have your Republican legislature first, then your State Party to blame.

Let me give you a simile:
you're in the bank, gun in the teller's face, cops at the door, and you say, "I've changed my mind, I want to make a deposit, not a withdrawal."

Your legislature broke the rules, your state party went along, you got caught (knowing it was breaking the rules from the start), now you want to go on as though nothing happened? Nope.

Our OR leg (Dem) was talking about jumping also, DPO (state) went nuts, leg quietly forgot it. We go May 5, most thought we'd not count at all. Yeah, we think we're important, we don't have squat delegates but the (D) does real well in our state.

In many ways MI is back home to me, I was mostly raised in OH, but all of my immediate family lives in N MI or Lansing area, I went to college at MTU in Houghton, I was born at U of M at Ann Arbor. My family has huge history in forestry, unions, GM clear back to founding, and other real interesting MI tid bits. You have my sympathy, to the extent that every vehicle (6) I own is Chevrolet, including 04 SSR. I buy American and I support Americans and I especially support the VOTE.

I don't support "I'm better than the rules everybody else has to play by." I am a construction contractor and every employee I've ever had was absolutely legal and paid more than my competition. I play by the rules or exceed the rules even when it hurts.

Hillary is a liar and a cheat and she's causing national problems over something that is a)none of her business, b)out of her hands entirely, c)fixable by those involved.

If you want to jump me when you're acknowledging my analysis, you should get familiar with the guy you're jumping, there are a bunch of tags on this site as well as archived posts on the side bar.

15 comments:

Scott said...

When the deal being broken is a deal to disenfranchise entire states, perhaps there is more honor in breaking the deal than abiding by it.

Chuck Butcher said...

Did you actually read the article I wrote? Man, some of you Hillary people...

Chuck Butcher said...

Let me be even clearer, the States broke the rules knowing the consequences. They have alternatives, they've not taken them. Hillary is a liar and cheat for her advantage only, not the citizens of those states. NOBODY else is disenfranchising those people, that is a lie also.

I don't care if you all want to come around and disagree with me, but you sure better bring some facts, not candidate talking points. Whether I like your candidate or not, I'll play fair.

Scott said...

Hi Chuck,

I'm actually not pro-Clinton at all, I'm pro-Michigan; see WhoStoleMiVote.org for details. I did read your post, and while I agree with your analysis that the DNC has the final say in seating delegates, I think that the way they chose delegates in this election disenfranchised Michigan voters such as myself, and so far Florida voters. A core component of a democratic process is "one person, one vote". By ignoring the votes of Michigan and Florida voters, the Democratic party used an process to select its nominee which was not a democratic process. As you say, they have every right to do this, but having a right to do something doesn't make it the right thing to do, and here I think the Democratic party has made the wrong decision. As such, I think that anybody doing anything to oppose their un-democratic delegate selection process is doing a public service. While Clinton did not take any action at all until it would clearly benefit her, at least she is taking some action, and I feel that it's important to give her some credit for that.

Chuck Butcher said...

Scott,
It has nothing to do with the DNC, you can fix your mess if your state party will do so. You all had the opportunity and the warning well before you went ahead and broke the rules. If you want to get pissed, you have your Republican legislature first, then your State Party to blame.

Let me give you a simile:
you're in the bank, gun in the teller's face, cops at the door, and you say, "I've changed my mind, I want to make a deposit, not a withdrawal."

Your legislature broke the rules, your state party went along, you got caught (knowing it was breaking the rules from the start), now you want to go on as though nothing happened? Nope.

Our OR leg (Dem) was talking about jumping also, DPO (state) went nuts, leg quietly forgot it. We go May 5, most thought we'd not count at all. Yeah, we think we're important, we don't have squat delegates but the (D) does real well in our state.

In many ways MI is back home to me, I was mostly raised in OH, but all of my immediate family lives in N MI or Lansing area, I went to college at MTU in Houghton, I was born at U of M at Ann Arbor. My family has huge history in forestry, unions, GM clear back to founding, and other real interesting MI tid bits. You have my sympathy, to the extent that every vehicle (6) I own is Chevrolet, including 04 SSR. I buy American and I support Americans and I especially support the VOTE.

I don't support "I'm better than the rules everybody else has to play by." I am a construction contractor and every employee I've ever had was absolutely legal and paid more than my competition. I play by the rules or exceed the rules even when it hurts.

Hillary is a liar and a cheat and she's causing national problems over something that is a)none of her business, b)out of her hands entirely, c)fixable by those involved.

If you want to jump me when you're acknowledging my analysis, you should get familiar with the guy you're jumping, there are a bunch of tags on this site as well as archived posts on the side bar.

Scott said...

Hi again Chuck,

I'm not sure what you mean by "jump you", I'm just acknowledging that your facts seem to be correct while disagreeing with your interpretation of those facts.

The situation here has everything to do with the DNC, and also the Michigan Democratic Party, our state legislator and governor, and the candidates that removed their names from the ballot. All of them worked together to gut Michigan's primary, effectively disenfranchising our entire state and making the Democratic primary into an un-democratic process. In other words, any one of those parties could have acted differently to protect our vote, but none of them did. Do you agree with that?

The rest of the question is whether disenfranchising a state is a legitimate retaliation for that state's representatives breaking party rules. I think it's far too extreme. Preserving a democratic process in the primary is much more important than strict adherence to party rules.

You're right that without any enforcement at all the rules would be meaningless, but the DNC had many other options for enforcing those rules. They could refuse to give any funding to Michigan Democrats that participated in this, such as our legislators and governors. They could refuse to spend any ad dollars in our state, which would hurt us economically.
They try to to unseat all of the Michigan Democrats that participated in this, by filing recall petitions against them or running alternatives who supported their position on primary dates in their next re-election. They could eject Michigan Democrats that participated in this from the Democratic party. They could simply arrange for DNC-run caucuses here and in Florida and ignore the state-sponsored ones. Any of those would be an effective enforcement technique that would make other state legislators think twice before supporting moving their primary up. But all of these actions would have forced the DNC to make a sacrifice to support their ideals. Instead, they decided to take their anger out on Michigan's voters.

There's very little I, as a Michigan voter, could have done differently to protect my vote. My state legislators did not say they were going to do this when they were campaigning. Our governor did not say she would sign a bill like this when she was campaigning. Before the election I contacted all of the parties involved, including the MDP and the DNC, and told them I would no longer support them them in if they weren't able to work this out. When none of that worked, I set up WhoStoleMiVote.org to provide a place for Michigan voters to learn more about the issue and see how to contact the various parties to let them know how they felt. I tried everything I could think of, and some things other people thought of, to get this changed, but still I lost my vote. Isn't being punished for what others do the very definition of collective punishment?

Chuck Butcher said...

You assume DNC has tools it does not have, it cannot, absolutely cannot, oppose a Democrat, it is entirely uninvolved in Primary politics, by rules. It is not the primary source of dollars for any candidate, though significant in the General Pres.

DNC has, really, one stick, delegates. DNC has been fighting an increasingly out of control Primary. Both states were told before the legislation passed what the outcome of an illegitimate Primary would be, they ignored that as did their State Parties. You offer no route for the DNC in your complaints.

I will emphatically stress to you that this is not the DNC desired outcome, it is the next to last thing they'd tolerate, no control of Primaries is the last thing.

You impression of the importance of MI & FL delegates pales next to DNC's appreciation, not to mention bad feellings in the General. But the deal is this, that was the only hammer available and either it was used or next election nobody would pay attention and we'd have Primaries starting on Inaugeration Day. Somebody is going to be first unless all are held on the same day which would kill the candidates and most state's chances of ever seeing the candidates.

I understand your point of view, and I totally sympathize with YOU. But your state can take its medicine. If you, the Democratic populous, had pushed the state party hard enough they'd have done something. You didn't, they didn't. Don't expect DNC to allow you to do whatever you please, make your State Party act, caucus. If you whine instead of acting, it will be too late. Your Primary vote is dead, that's it. Hillary is stalling you into irretrevably screwing this.

Scott said...

Hello again Chuck,

Thanks for continuing this discussion with me. You make some good points in your recent post. Let me make sure I'm understanding you correctly, and please correct me if I am not: Your position appears to be that the only possible way for the DNC to enforce its rules is to refuse to seat delegates, and enforcing these rules is more important than letting everybody in the nation vote in a national primary.

I take issue with both of these.

As far as enforcement, first I have to say that the DNC is made up of some very smart people who know the game and their rules much better than I do. I am certainly not an expert on DNC rules. However, It is very difficult for me to believe that there is simply no other possible option available to them. The DNC has at a minimum the same powers any random group of people does: to refuse to support a candidate, campaign against a candidate, or mount a recall campaign against a candidate. Perhaps DNC rules prohibit some of these actions, but the DNC made the rules and they can change them if they are so inclined. I suspect they also have the power to eject members from the party, which may make it easier to challenge them in elections.

Another option available to the DNC if they wish to maintain tight control over their primaries is to ignore the state parties, and schedule and fund the primaries on their own dime and their own timetable. Yes, this would be very different from how things are done, and it may require changes to rules and procedures, but I can't imagine it's impossible.

If there really is no other way to enforce the rules, then it comes down to priorities. If the choice is between having a primary process which is a chaotic mess or a process which systematically excludes voters, I will take chaos any day. Democracy is a little chaotic anyways, and while we certainly don't need more chaos, it seems to me better than the alternative.

I understand your point about the state taking its medicine, but the state is made up of voters like me. I took every action I know how to take, as did many other voters I've spoken to, and still this happened. Voters have only very rough control over what their legislators do, and the retaliations we have available as voters are coarse, slow, and extreme. The average voter has very little control over what happens in the Michigan Democratic Party.

I do agree that it's important to push the state party to fix this, and the national party as well. Apart from writing letters, the only tools I have available to me are refusing to contribute to candidates or the party, and refusing to support Democratic candidates in the general election. That is the path I have reluctantly decided to take.

Chuck Butcher said...

First point, DNC is the official Democratic Party national organization, that is, for the entire nation. The DNC's obligation is to its entire membership, which is ANY registered Democrat. That includes ALL (D) candidates, DNC by its very nature cannot interfere in Primary elections nor harm a Democratic candidate. It makes no difference if your Democratic legislator was an instigator of this mess or the biggest prick ever, DNC cannot harm him. It would destroy the organization to begin harming candidates. It does not have to help them, but it doesn't help much with non-Federal campaigns anyhow and your problem is State.

DNC has a limitted ability to enforce its rules, they set the sanctions high to discourage such behavior - you did it anyhow. If DNC lets you get away with it at all, there is no further discouragement - think about it, you did it in the face of that severe a penalty. (because you didn't think it would stick - documented)

You're right, you have limited power over already elected officials. You have exactly as much power within the State Party as you Democratic voters wanted to exercise, you didn't. I know the reality of County Parties, 0.5% of registered voters participate. That is part of your problem, but it also was a key to success, it would not have taken many to overwhelm Co. Parties and take that action to State. State Party (I don't have MI's name at hand) is where your real difficulty and solution lay (or may still lie), not DNC. Your State Party can still be forced into action, though the time is shrinking fast. They didn't believe the sanctions would be upheld.

I can tell you that our DPO certainly believed they would be, we had contingency plans in place if our leg pushed us out of order, but mostly we made it clear that they would screw us and they did not do so. We have a strong relationship with our State elected officials, we've worked hard to have it and we benefit and they do from that. Our DNC Committee people are well respected at DNC for their dedication and their clear thinking. (and because Oregon is real Blue) Our Chair (past Vice Chairwoman) was a representative to and from the Western Democratic Caucus and a similar type voice. We have power because we're good at what we do and we play by the rules. (we have squat delegates - we don't have any population) Our DNC reps believed DNC, and they're just exactly smart enough and good enough that everybody took their word.

To make the point clear, DNC is a responsive organization, but you have to do it right and you have to be good at doing it. Your State Party decided it could just force DNC's hand, even when they were told in the clearest possible terms they could not. You're acting as though DNC wanted any part of removing MI/FL delegates. They did everything possible to avoid this outcome, your State Party went ahead. I have no idea what is going to be left of the leadership structure after you get done with them - I'd be for a serious wholesale removal. I don't know what you can do and I don't know that DNC can advise you about an insurrection, your Party has Bylaws and that should hold an answer. You have malfeasence at least.

I doubt I can dig into your problem sufficiently from this distance to get advice to you, maybe 6 mos ago, but not at this date, and I certainly wouldn't go into this any farther than this on an open forum.

You might not like this particular answer I'm going to give you, I think it's way too late for an insurrection to get organized and then still deal with a way to select delegates and it is YOUR own fault as MI Democrats that you let your State Party go ahead with this, you could easily have stopped it then, but you didn't get involved and you just went along even though you knew what faced you. Your vote wasn't that important last year, not so important that you wouldn't risk it for the chance to go early. So the real answer about DNC is that YOU voters own your State Party and you didn't care. Why is DNC supposed to fix YOUR problem? I know it sucks, but really I work my butt off inside DPO so standing outside and complaining to me doesn't get a bunch of traction. I'm real damn sorry it came to this, but I don't think DNC owes you guys the time of day over this, or really can do anything about it.

Chuck Butcher said...

I've said more than I probably should on an open forum, I am not a DNC spokesman, I am only speaking from my personal point of view and analysis with what information I have. If you want to get into this any farther than it has gone, cbutcherATbakervalleyDOTnet will reach me. I have very good contacts with much more inside and current information than I have, but I really doubt I can help you. I think your best resources are right at hand - your County Party Chair.

Scott said...

Thanks again, Chuck, for your thoughts and advice.

You're right, there were solutions available at the local level, and there was very little involvement back when involvement could have made a difference, including from me. This is largely because, even until late December, I and everybody I talked to thought that a compromise would be worked out. All of the news coverage talked about rumors of ignoring the primary and setting up caucuses, and I simply could not believe that the MDP and DNC wouldn't work something out with so much at stake. By the time it was clear there would be no compromise, it was just a few weeks before the election and there was very little that could be done. In retrospect, I had far too much faith in my party, and I will remember that if something like this arises again.

For now, the action I have decided to take is to refuse to contribute to, support, or vote for Democratic candidates. My hope is that if candidates, state legislators, the MDP, and the DNC see support drop, all of them will think twice before taking action like this again. I think it's necessary that there be measurable consequences for all of these groups, at least for this election cycle.

When I am a little less angry about this, I will decide with a clearer head whether to get more involved with my local Democratic party, or just stop supporting them.

Zak J. said...

Hillary is trying to change the rules after the game has already been in play. You can't do that and call yourself honest. That she kept her name on the ballot in MI when the other candidates did not indicates this has been her back-up plan all along if she got into trouble, which she has. This little incident shows her character as clearly as anything could and it's not a pretty sight.

Chuck Butcher said...

Scott,
There is little point or justice in punishing those not responsible for this predicament, that would exclude DNC, which made the best possible efforts and played exactly and completely straight. The Federal candidates that have kept their fingers off and whatever State legislators who voted against don't deserve punishment. Obviously Zak and I feel Billary should be penalized.

joshdestardi said...

"politeness" Chuck?

You might want to evaluate your responses...

"jump you"? What, is this a hood, and you're being robbed at gun point?

What's the chip on your shoulder from?

This blogpost and your responses read as follows:

Billary, blah blah, witch blah blah, lying, blah blah, cheating, blah blah.

It's a good thing you're not paying attention to the actual voters of Michigan and Florida..we wouldn't want to think you're just a Billary hater.

Chuck Butcher said...

Paying attention to which voters? The ones that paid no attention to the validity of their election, or the ones that took DNC seriously?

Why would I be polite to Hillary? She is deliberately creating more trouble for her own advantage and the destruction of the DNC. Um, she can suck an egg.