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Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sat Aug 25th 2007, 04:27 PM
I noticed on several forums today that many from Florida and elsewhere honestly did not understand the issues involved. I am very passionate about this because my friends were misled and confused. That is no way to run a state party. Honesty up front works best.

All of the Florida Democrats in congress signed a letter to Howard Dean and the DNC that they might call for an investigation if the DNC did not go along with their early primary.

Congressional Delegation threatens Dean and the DNC

That would hurt everyone in the party. Finally today I see many of the bloggers coming around to an understanding of what was going on. When your own state party is using the media in an unfair way it is hard to counter.

A comment below already accuses me of posting about this because of Dean. Sorry, folks, keep thinking that...while Florida starts expensive lawsuits to break the party's back. I won't go down easy on this. It would not have happened to other chairman but because this one is not caving in to the usual power is happening to him.

Jane Hamsher has a good post up today giving some background. It is complicated. But it did not have to be that way. The Florida Democrats decided to use a slogan that implied that "Dean and the DNC are taking our votes away."

That did it for a lot of us who know the identity crisis of some of our Democrats here. It angered us. Not over yet, but the DNC Rules Committee made a good decision today.

DNC to Florida Democrats: Not So Fast

Basically, here’s what happened: last summer, the DNC approved a plan by which Iowa and New Hampshire remained in January, with Nevada and South Carolina also wedged into the early schedule to ensure that states in the South and West, with larger Black and Latino representation, had significance in the early primary process. (States had the ability to apply to the DNC to lobby for their selection as an early state; Florida did not seek such a move at the time.)

All the other states were told — and my understanding is that even Florida voted for this — that no one else got to hold a delegate-selecting primary before February 5. If they did, it would be mandatory and automatic that half their delegates would be eliminated from the Convention, with additional penalties possible including the loss of the entire delegation and — believe me when I tell you this is pretty serious — having the state bumped to the back of the Denver hotel selection pool.

She posts a quote from Chris Bowers at MyDD, which I had forgotten. It pretty well lays it out there. It is from March this year.

For a state that already has so much sway over presidential elections, and which has such a horrendous track record of verifiable electoral infrastructure, a decision to leap ahead of virtually all other states in the primary calendar can only be characterized as a power grab in the tradition of Bush, DeLay, and Gingrich.

It is also almost certainly an attempt to stick it to Howard Dean of the DNC, whose new primary calendar finally allows minorities such as Latinos, African-Americans and union members to have a say in determining the next president, which is an anathema to Florida’s elites who have done everything in their power over the past decade to make sure that those groups are not even allowed to vote. The move is also a huge boon to the frontrunning campaigns of Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton, both of whom have tremendous advantages in Florida. If Florida is on January 29th, it will be extremely difficult to see a path for any other candidate as long as Clinton or Giuliani manage to come within a close second in New Hampshire. As I type this, that is a criteria both candidates meet quite easily.

And a more involved explanation here. You may have to read it twice. I did.

The Florida Dem Primary: Delegates V. Influence

Florida Democrats act as if they're not worried about the DNC penalty. They believe that the eventual nominee will restore its delegation to full strength as the convention begins. They therefore conclude that presidential candidates will contest the state as if the DNC had done nothing.

But here's why the DNC's penalty actually has some teeth. If Florida had no delegates to compete for, presidential campaigns have two choices about competing in a penalized Florida. They can spend money to explain why they aren’t spending money to just win a beauty contest. . Or they can spend money to try and actually win what is just a beauty contest.. The former option is much cheaper than the latter option.

And delegates, to the campaigns, matter more in January than they do in July. The Democratic campaigns don't assume that the convention will be brokered; they assume that the nominee will be known by the middle of February. The only metric available to really assess the strength(s) of the candidates at that point is their total number of delegates.

The media could well decide to cover Florida as a "real" primary, but here's a further complication. Two presidential campaigns -- Sen. Barack Obama's and Sen. John Edwards -- are close to concluding that they shouldn’t compete in Florida if Florida's delegate selection process doesn't matter. Publicly, these campaigns say they hope Florida resolves its dispute with the DNC. Privately, they admit that if Florida has few or no delegates, they are unlikely to compete. That means that Hillary Clinton will face enormous expectations to win the state solidly. Unless she decides to scale down her activities in the state, too.

So, if the state party is only concerned about being seated at the convention, then the RBC's penalty doesn't matter. But if the state wants to play a role in determining the nominee, then the RBC’s penalty matters a lot. The two interests are in conflict.

It did not have to be this complicated. This is what we live with here in Florida. My emails today from fellow Democrats and DFAers here have expressed all kinds of feelings.

It would have been simpler if the Democratic Party in Florida had chosen not to blame the DNC and not to threaten them with a lawsuit. But that is how the mindset is it our way or else.

The DNC Rules Committee made a good decision today. Now Florida needs to back off that silly threat of a lawsuit.
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