Dean to Florida and Michigan: Your Move

Dean to Florida and Michigan: Your Move The DNC is making it very hard for Hillary Clinton to win Florida and Michigan’s delegates through the back door, Marc Ambinder reports.

Howard Dean will not bend the party rules to grandfather in the disputed delegates from Michigan and Florida, the Democratic party chairman said in a statement today.

Instead, he put the state parties on notice: either they can wait and allow the credentials committee to decide whether to seat their delegates, or submit to a re-vote sanctioned under DNC rules. “We look forward to receiving their proposals should they decide to submit new delegate selection plans and will review those plans at that time,” he said in the statement.

“Everyone seems to be asking what the DNC will do,” a Democrat close to Dean said. “But the question is: what will the state parties do.”

This is a dangerous stand for the Democrats politically, in that it threatens to disenfranchise two states that will be important in November and could well artificially decide the nomination in favor of Barack Obama. I commend Dean for sticking to his guns in enforcing the rules despite the enormous pressure to do otherwise.

The Florida Dems, especially, are in a pickle. A caucus would not only be expensive but, as state chair Karen Thurman notes, exclude its large contingent of military members serving overseas — even in combat zones. But it’s a mess of their own making.

Photo credit: Esoterically

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bill W says:

    How does this artificially decide the nomination in favor of Obama? He wasn’t on the ballot in Michigan, and neither of them truly campaigned in Florida. I guess I don’t understand your choice of description of the situation here.

  2. floyd says:

    Florida,Michigan,and now Texas and elsewhere. A party that can’t run a primary, wants to run a country!![lol]
    A regime of Cacophonous Pandermonium{sic}…This is the “CHANGE” we “HOPE” for???

  3. floyd says:

    Oh!!! I forgot the the slogan which was plagiarized from Builder Bob…”YES! WE CAN!!

  4. Anderson says:

    The mess is partly of the DNC’s making. They could’ve been smart like the Repubs and said that they’d seat only half the delegates, which would still have allowed for campaigning & a primary.

    Then if Florida was very very sorry etc., horses could be traded and the remaining delegates seated, or not.

    As it stands, they had NO real primary and face the obstacles you’ve described.

  5. Michael says:

    Oh!!! I forgot the the slogan which was plagiarized from Builder Bob…”YES! WE CAN!!

    It was actually taken from Cesar Chavez:

  6. James Joyner says:

    They could’ve been smart like the Repubs and said that they’d seat only half the delegates

    A fair point.

    Honestly, I don’t think it occurred to anyone at the DNC — quite reasonably, it seems to me — that it’d ever get to this stage. HRC was supposed to benefit tremendously from the tightly clustered primaries and wrap things up by Super Tuesday. So taking a bold stand wasn’t going to really cost anything and the FL and MI delegates would be seated when it didn’t matter.

  7. Michael says:

    Florida’s Gov. Charlie Christ has announced that if the state Democrats were to hold another primary, the state wouldn’t pay for it. I think their estimate is that it would cost $25 million. I wonder if each candidate’s campaign would be willing to contribute $12.5 million of their contributions to a Florida re-primary.

  8. Michael says:

    They could’ve been smart like the Repubs and said that they’d seat only half the delegates, which would still have allowed for campaigning & a primary.

    And if Hillary won a large majority in both, and seating the other half would give her the nomination, don’t you think we’d be right back where we are now?

  9. yetanotherjohn says:

    The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee shall act on the proposed plans as soon as practicable, but in no case later than September 16, 2007, or four months before the respective state’s first determining step, whichever is earlier. Its decision shall be final and binding.

    Given the above line in the Democratic party rules for selecting delegates, wouldn’t holding a second vote be in violation of the democratic rules? As such, whomever loses would be incentivized to go into court to throw it out. How would going ahead and seating the selected delegates be any less a violation than holding a second vote?

    And if they are going to be breaking the rules anyway, why not let them just do a final state convention to select delegates?

  10. Bithead says:

    There is unquestionably a sense of irony surrounding the idea that twice, now, the election hangs, for Democrats on Florida. And now, this time, Mich, too.

    This is imporant, I think, because of the degree of emotionalism that the Democrat party tends to base it’s campaigns… and it’s chocies of campaigners.. on. The combo is a deadly one, either way Dean were to rule on this one. The party is divided at near enough 50/50 as to not matter much, which way he rules… any choice at all is bound to tick off half the party, and likely cost the independant vote, as well… and across the country, not just in those states.

    Either way, it comes off as high-handed, and we’ll see charges of both an arbitrary ruling, and a pre-selection by the DNC.

    However that goes, there’s the image of a party that is in extreme disarray, and over the last 4 presidential cycles, a situation that’s been getting worse.

    In all of this the one thing that shows rather clearly is something I’ve been lamenting for some time; the only thing that makes McCain look good is the Democrats…. now, not only from a matter of policy, but as a matter of sheer organizational inability.

  11. Tlaloc says:

    For as maligned as he is, Dean is a damn good DNC chair. His 50 state strategy was roundly laughed at until it ended up being a huge success, now even some republicans are openly saying they need to copy it. And I respect that he’s not caving in here. Good for him.

  12. Len says:

    It’s half time at the Super Bowl. One of the teams decides that a touchdown should now be worth ten points rather than seven. Do you change the rules?

    Both Michigan and Florida knew the rules and had agreed to them before this process started. They then decided to break the rules. I wish one of you folks on the right would explain to me why you feel they should be rewarded for this. Why should the rules be changed in the middle of the game?

    This Crist character in Florida is really a piece of work. I hope McCain picks him as his running mate.

  13. floyd says:


    From the Wisdom of wiki….

    “”The show emphasizes conflict resolution, co-operation, socialization and various learning skills.{Builder} Bob’s catchphrase is “Can we fix it?”, to which the other characters respond with “Yes we can!” This phrase is also the title of the show’s theme song, which was a Comic Relief hit in England.””

  14. Bithead says:

    Isn’t it interesting, though, that the Clinton strategy for winning the primary this time round, is exactly Gore’s strategy to win the 2000 election? Challenge the agreed upon rules, and demand a re-vote…..

  15. bornonthefourth says:

    COUNT THE VOTES…….. We were in FLA. just before the primary and saw Obama adds on TV talking like Malcolm X, dirty Chi Town Pizza Uno politics. His adds were on TV in FLA. No more John Sweeney stop the vote in Fla. and fix the election. Obama violated the rules with spill over adds. They need to have a state convention.