Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Florida and Michigan Redux

The idea of Florida and Michigan holding caucuses to come in line with Democratic National Committee rules has come up in the past on this blog--in an earlier post and in the comments last night. But outside of speculation do we have a sense of what is going on here? We do have some pieces to the puzzle that begin to help us construct a picture of the environment. It just may not be a very clear picture.

Here's what we know:
1) The DNC is pressuring both states to hold caucuses as a means of resolving the issue of seating delegates at the convention in Denver this summer. Obama would like that. Clinton wouldn't.

2) This caucus idea keeps coming up. See the links above as well as this one from CNN's Political Ticker blog from yesterday (Rob, you get the assist on this one.). The issue isn't going to go away until it gets resolved.

3) Looking at the state parties' web sites reveals little. But here's what I did find out:
a) Florida has congressional district caucuses planned for March 1 already. Huh? These caucuses were planned in advance so this isn't a new development. They are in place to confirm the results of the January 29 primary and elect the actual delegates that will (hopefully, in their view) attend the national convention. My question is, if this caucus is already in place, why not go ahead and hold a do-over election instead of wasting time with confirming a series of delegates that run the risk of not being seated anyway?

b) Michigan has fewer possibilities (or more possibilities simple because less is known). The issue does keep popping up in the local news there with Michigan Democratic party chair, Mark Brewer, outside of the caucus movement. Things have progressed somewhat far though. T-shirts with "Do Over!" emblazoned across the chest are in production and on sale online. [I'm on the verge of getting one just to commemorate how fun the ride leading up to and into the 2008 cycle has been. Ah, memories. And it's still only February.] All humor aside though, the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee does convene this weekend in Flint, MI. It is hard to imagine this caucus idea not coming up at all during that meeting. In other words, we may know something about the fate of a possible Michigan Democratic caucus after the weekend. It may not even be remotely likely, but again, this is a topic that one would assume would make its way into the discussion of such a group.

The dust will have to settle on the 2008 election before the question of how these two states were ultimately counted can be accurately answered much less analyzed. I'm sure I'll be around to do some of that work though.


David Damore said...

It seems that some sort of caucus in May or June is the best way to deal with this problem. I do not think that the Dems can hold a convention and not seat any delegates for what will turn out to be two important states come November. At the same time, the DNC does need to stick to its guns and not accept the outcomes of the non-sanctioned pre 2/5 primaries. Between this issue and the potential superdelegate mess it appears that the Dems are doing their very best to snatch defeat from the jaws of (potential) victory.

Josh Putnam said...

Excellent points Dave.

May and June have enough contests. Why not place those caucuses in the period between Mississippi (March 11) and Pennsylvania (April 22) when it could best benefit us political junkies? I know, selfish.

Robert said...

I think that the Florida and Michigan votes will be moot if Clinton loses in Ohio, Texas or Pennsylvannia. I think that some type of "Do Over" in late March or early April would be good. If you buy one of the tee-shirts, get one for me. I'll pay you back.