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Why the whole Florida and Michigan thing sucks for the Democrats

We’ve heard both Obama and Clinton go back and forth on whether the delegates from Florida and Michigan should be seated, but the entire situation is far more complex than either side is making it. Florida and Michigan both had their delegates removed when they broke party rules and moved their primaries before Feb. 5th. In a sign of support for the Democratic National Committee, who made the rules, all the major candidates, except for Hillary, removed their names from the ballot in Michigan. It’s no surprise that Hillary won Michigan by a wide margin. In Florida, all the candidates kept their names on the ballot, but none of them were allowed to campaign in the state. Obviously this hurts underdogs like Barack Obama and John Edwards and helps the front-funner, who was Hillary at the time. After winning decisively in both states, it’s easy to see why Hillary wants the delegates reseated at the Democratic National Convention, but when she won under such unfair circumstances, it doesn’t seem right to allow that to happen.

Here’s where the tricky part starts to come in. Florida is a crucially important state for Democrats to win in the general election this November. By disenfranchising their voters in the state, Democrats are really crippling their ability to compete. To be fair, it isn’t Florida Democrats who are to blame for breaking DNC rules. The Republican controlled Florida legislature was responsible for moving the primaries up, because Republicans faced no such penalty for holding early primaries. Florida Republicans must have known this would help their chances in their general election by forcing their state to break DNC rules. Michigan’ s legislature is also Republican controlled.  It would clearly be in the Democratic Party’s best interest to find some way to seat the delegates.

However, it isn’t as easy as holding another primary. Primaries are costly affairs that take a considerable amount of time to set-up. Hillary is hellbent on not allowing caucuses to be used in a replacement election. Seeing as how Obama has won 14 caucuses and she has only won 3, it’s not hard to imagine why she is demanding primaries. The question that is plaguing progress right now is who should pay for make-up elections. Should the DNC be forced to pay because a state broke the rules, or should Florida and Michigan foot the bill? It’s a complicated issue that’s only going to get worse before as long as both Hillary and Obama stay in the race. If either of them had dropped out, the DNC could have easily reseated the delegates from both states under the correct assumption that the delegates would vote for the only remaining candidate. However, as it appears that neither candidate is going to withdraw from the race anytime so, I imagine Florida and Michigan will continue to be an issue in the weeks to come.


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