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January 25, 2008

Speaking of voting in Florida and Michigan... and primary structures

Providing a fitting follow-up to issues we talk about in class on Friday, check out this new press release from Hillary Clinton.  Here is the full text:

"I hear all the time from people in Florida and Michigan that they want their voices heard in selecting the Democratic nominee.

"I believe our nominee will need the enthusiastic support of Democrats in these states to win the general election, and so I will ask my Democratic convention delegates to support seating the delegations from Florida and Michigan. I know not all of my delegates will do so and I fully respect that decision. But I hope to be President of all 50 states and U.S. territories, and that we have all 50 states represented and counted at the Democratic convention.

"I hope my fellow potential nominees will join me in this.

"I will of course be following the no-campaigning pledge that I signed, and expect others will as well."

No mention of "one person, one vote," but a little bit of representational theory in this fascinating public statement.

UPDATE:  Monday's New York Times has this interesting article detailing how the structures of the primaries (and the importance of delegates) are impacting the politicking that surrounds all the voting that will take place on February 5.   Think some more about the concept of "one person, one vote" as you read this piece and think "hmmmm" about our current primary system.

January 25, 2008 in Class reflections | Permalink


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Wow, color me surprised. HRC wants her party to honor the results of the Michigan primary (which she won without Obama on the ballot) and Florida (where she is crushing Obama in the polls)? This is disingenuous AT BEST. Perhaps she could have fought for the voters "voices to be heard" before the results were already determined...

Posted by: Nathan | Jan 26, 2008 12:16:57 PM

An old Washington Post article wrote:
"Donna Brazile, a member of the rules committee who argued for a swift and harsh punishment for Florida, said states' desire to be more relevant in the nominating process does not excuse violations of rules intended to make the system fair for everyone."

I just find it interesting how both parties can legitimately argue that the actions of the other side deprive the average American of their vote's power. The impact of the DNC's decision on the citizens of Florida and Michigan is obvious - they've completely lost their vote in the primary.

However, from a national perspective, there is obvious concern for the states that actually decided to follow the established primary rules that they're citizens' votes could be completely washed out and rendered meaningless because the outcome of the primary was already determined because so many rogue states jumped forward in the election. So in that sense, the DNC and RNC decisions to punish states for bucking the system is an effort to protect the national "one person, one vote system"

The Washington Post article can be found here:

Some good info on the Florida legal situation (the links in the article's side bar are also pretty interesting):

An article on the judge's decision to uphold the DNC's decision:

And just for kicks and giggles, here's a link to a proposed rotating primary plan that is supported by the National Assocation of Secretary of States:
Apparently, it's on their list of things to have adopted in 2008, so we'll probably be hearing a lot more about in the coming months!

And, just to throw in my two cents, I have to agree with Nathan about being highly skeptical of the motivations of Hillary's comments. It was interesting how she left her name on the ballot in Michigan, even though Obama and Edwards took their names off it.

Posted by: T. Nittle | Jan 26, 2008 12:57:04 PM

The NASS proposed plan is interesting. I have been thinking about alternatives a bit myself and think a random lottery would be best (though less economical for the candidate's campaign expenditures). 4 years before the next election the parties could hold the lottery, picking 10 states at random for each "primary day" for a total of 5 "primary days." Hold a "primary day" every weeks or so starting in early January. This would ensure no favortism and a good degree of diversity (in race, geography, size, values, etc).

Posted by: Nathan | Jan 26, 2008 2:03:35 PM

Since we're on the subject of primaries, here's some information that I found useful. I was very confused about the difference between pledged and unpledged delegates and how some candidates already have delegates from states that have not yet conducted their primary.

Here's a link to CNN's page explaining it. Apologies if you already knew about it.


Posted by: T Nittle | Jan 28, 2008 8:02:19 PM

I've got to question HRC's motives here. Interesting that she decided to start this campaign for Florida after getting trounced in South Carolina. Re-read the last line of the press release then check out this article


Makes you go hmmm.....

Posted by: Jordan | Jan 28, 2008 11:44:41 PM

Something that makes me go hmmm:

The average of the final Ohio polls in the 2004 election: Bush had a 2.1% pt advantage.


The final results? Bush won by 2.12% pts.


Perhaps Ken Blackwell and Diebold rigged the results of the polling too? How sinister.

Posted by: Nathan | Jan 30, 2008 3:37:28 PM

Today in class we were discussing the effect of the Electoral College, and how it helped preserve the power structure at the time of founding.

I've never read anything stating how they even came up with the idea of an electoral college, but I wonder if it was modeled on the tribes of Rome. When Rome was a republic, its citizens would vote by "tribe." There were four urban tribes, and 31 rural ones. Since it was much harder for those from the rural areas to get into the city, one could manipulate voting results in different ways. This may have been where our founders got the idea from.

Posted by: Alexios | Feb 1, 2008 10:00:57 PM

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