Tuesday, January 08, 2008


On the whole, I avoid politics on this blog. I don't really have that much of interest to say (except when it comes to fiction written by politicians), and beyond matters of privacy, I just don't think that most people care who I'm voting for or not.

All the same, I've had a heck of a time trying to think about Michigan's upcoming Democratic primary. On the whole, I like both Clinton and Obama a great deal, and if given a choice between the two, I'm still not sure what I'd decide.

But, at least in the Michigan primary this year, I don't have a choice. Due to a conflict between the state and national parties over how early Michigan's primary date could or could not be, nearly all the Democratic candidates except for Hillary Clinton removed their names from the Michigan ballot. Even worse, while most of us Michigan Democrats have assumed that we would at least be able to write-in our preferred candidates, that turns out to not be the case. The Michigan Secretary of State offer has announced that because no candidates filed the necessary paperwork to accept write-in votes, no write-in votes will be counted. Even the Detroit Free Press is recommending that Democratic voters vote "uncommitted" in order to send a message to the national party.

I don't know that I can get excited about an "uncommitted" vote, which feels like no vote at all, even if, in many ways, it isn't. The worst part is that I like Hillary Clinton, but I'm very disturbed by the apparent choice to vote for her or no one at all.

(Note: I have, of course, ignored in this post Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich, both of whom are still on the Michigan ballot. In all honesty, however, I have no idea who Mike Gravel is, and Kucinich appears to have attempted to remove himself from the ballot, but missed the deadline. Chris Dodd also appears on the ballot, but has withdrawn from the presidential race.)


Anonymous said...

Even if you could write in candidates, it wouldn't matter. Michigan Democrats have been completely disenfranchised in this primary because no delegates from Michigan will be permitted to vote at the DNC. Republican voters will have at least some voice, though not one as consequential as in the past. Half of Michigan's usual 60 delegates will be permitted to vote at the RNC. It really does make it very hard to get excited about voting next week.

Gavin said...

From what I've read, the national Democratic Party has threatened to disqualify Michigan's delegates but not yet made entirely clear that they will actually do so. The state party seems certain that the national party will back down from the threat.

That said, I see no reason to believe that the state party is correct. (And no specific reason to believe that they are wrong.)

Anonymous said...

The NYT claims that neither Michigan nor Florida will have delegates because they violated party rules in moving their primaries to dates before February 5. Here's the website: http://politics.nytimes.com/election-guide/2008/primaries/democraticprimaries/index.html

Gavin said...

You are correct that as it stands now, Michigan has no delegates. Although, once again, the state party believes that Michigan's delegates will be restored before or during the convention: "Michigan officials anticipated the action by the Democratic National Committee's rules panel. But Michigan Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer said before the vote that he didn't think the delegates would be lost for good. He expects the Democratic presidential nominee will insist the state's delegates be seated at the convention." http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22054151/

And again, while I share the hope that the national party would not actually disenfranchise an entire state, I have no real reason to believe that Mark Brewer is right. (Still, it would be pretty stupid to piss off a swing state, wouldn't it? Especially since Romney has such strong Michigan connections. . .)