Sunday, June 01, 2008

Michigan Exists!

On Meet The Press for Sunday, May 1, 2008, Tim Russert asked Harold Ickes, Senior Advisor to the Clinton campaign, about the campaign's claim that "seventeen million Americans have voted for Hillary Clinton, more than for any primary candidate in history." This exchange ensued:

MR. ICKES: Well, we're going by the AP projections, and we're counting both Michigan and Florida. And, and in our...

MR. RUSSERT: You're counting Michigan when...

MR. ICKES: Yes, we're counting Michigan.

MR. RUSSERT: ...Senator Obama's name wasn't on the ballot?

MR. ICKES: We're counting Michigan. He voluntarily took his name off the ballot, Tim. There was no party rule, no exhortation from the Democratic National Committee. He, he--it was a voluntary, strategic choice that he made. He could have kept it on there.

MR. RUSSERT: But Senator Clinton said it didn't count for anything...

MR. ICKES: Well...

MR. RUSSERT: ...but now it counts for everything.


Tim is very skeptical of the idea of counting the results of Michigan's primary in calculating the total popular votes nationwide of the two candidates.

That was a legitimate, and perhaps sound, position as of May 30, the day before the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic National Committee met in a Washington hotel and decided that the delegates and superdelegates from both Florida and Michigan would be seated, with each individual granted a half-vote. Of Florida, Clinton was granted 105 (52.5) and Obama 67 (33.5) delegates. Of Michigan, based on exit poll and other data (which favored Obama), Clinton was granted 69 (34.5) and Obama 59 (29.5) delegates. Delegates won by Clinton in the two primaries were allocated to her while Obama was allocated delegates won in the Florida primary and in Michigan, the vast majority of the "uncommitted" delegates. The two primaries were held, the party has decided that the delegations will be seated and delegates will vote. And now....

The Michigan primary never happened?

Sorry, folks, but the Michigan primary occurred. The party now has acknowledged that it did and has acted accordingly. Hillary Clinton won those popular votes in Michigan. Barack Obama and John Edwards, in part to curry favor with Iowa voters, took their names off the ballot. And the ploy worked. Not only did Obama win the Iowa caucus (admittedly primarily for other reasons) but HRC came in behind Edwards. It was effective strategy in the critical first-in-the-country vote, with the only downside that Obama has no popular votes (but a lot of delegates in a state he probably wouldn't have won, anyway) to count toward his national total. All in all, a good tradeoff.

No comments:

This "R" Stands for More than "Reprehensible"

He's not insane but if Jim Steinman was right that "two out of three ain't bad," three out of four is quite good. Th...