Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean (above, singing for his metal band, The Dean Scream) said in a letter today that he would not manipulate party rules to allow Michigan and Florida’s delegates to be seated at the Democratic National Convention, an announcement which will be a disappointment to the Clinton campaign. Sen. Clinton “won” both Michigan and Florida which were stripped of their delegates and therefore she didn’t receive any tangible benefits. Both states were penalized after moving their primaries up and now are calling for their delegates to be seated. Candidates were asked to remove their names from the ballot in Michigan by the DNC (Clinton was the only major candidate who left theirs on) and were barred from campaigning in Florida (Clinton had “fundraisers” there instead and arrived to celebrate victory the moment the polls closed).
The Democratic Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, and the Republican Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, released a joint statement pleading for the seating of their delegates:
The right to vote is at the very foundation of our democracy. This primary season, voters have turned out in record numbers to exercise that right, and it is reprehensible that anyone would seek to silence the voices of 5,163,271 Americans. It is intolerable that the national political parties have denied the citizens of Michigan and Florida their votes and voices at their respective national conventions.
However, I would imagine that they left some key interests out of that statement. For Granholm it would be something along the lines of, “I am a Clinton supporter and realize that it is nearly mathmatically impossible for her to win via pledged delegates so PLEASE seat the delegates from Michigan even though there was only one candidate on the ballot.” Crist I’m sure wanted to add, “Please seat our delegates in the interest of prolonging the Democratic nomination process so McCain will have a huge head start, get elected, and essentially be Dubya’s third term.”
While I do feel that they should have delegates at the convention, they must be seated within the legal confines of the Democratic Party. Thankfully, Howard Dean agrees and released a statement today saying that they can either appeal to the Convention Credentials Committee to seat their delegates as is or submit for a re-vote. However, the former option is unlikely as the Credentials Committee currently doesn’t have enough members for quorum and is highly unlikely to get members who would be willing to just hand over the delegates to Sen. Clinton in what were clearly unfair elections. I believe Howard Dean said it best himself:
The Democratic Nominee will be determined in accordance with party rules, and out of respect for the presidential campaigns and the states that did not violate party rules, we are not going to change the rules in the middle of the game.