Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Postage Paid

That's how serious Florida is about making its voice heard at the Democratic convention. They are going to do a mail-in revote and are determined to remove every barrier to voting, including not having a stamp

Under the emerging plan, estimated to cost as much as $10 million, the state's four million registered Democrats would be mailed self-addressed, stamped ballots that would be tabulated by an independent party, such as an accounting firm or a company that runs corporate shareholder voting.

Fla. Dems settle on new plan for vote-by-mail primary
While I formally oppose making Florida and Michigan revote rather than simply seating them as-is given that the initial ruling against them had more to do with penalizing two strong HRC states than developing a realistic plan to prevent a mad rush to the head of the primary line, the political scientist in me is fascinated to see what will happen. There will be a lot of confusion, of course, which will be used by both campaigns to make political hay, but the prominence of the mail-in should go a long way to encouraging more states to use this very democratic and paper-trail-producing voting method.

All voting procedures can be gamed, of course. There is no method of voting that does not permit very determined cheats from gaming the system. However, mail-in ballots are very good ways to increase participation without significantly raising the cost of elections. And, I can't emphasize this enough, it provides a paper trail. You can't have only mail-in voting. There must be provisions for "day of" voting, giving people a location for dropping off unmailed ballots, encouraging some kinds of same-day registration and provisional voting (as it is called in California), and other ways to accommodate the procrastinators and the clueless. Oregon has had enormous success with their mail-in system.

In terms of the Florida contest, this forces Obama’s hand. The only reason for him to oppose this revote (and it’s a big reason) is that he will lose and probably by a larger margin than he lost the first time around, given the crap his campaign and surrogates have been throwing at Florida. They wanted a caucus where they could control access and intimidate voters and they won’t get it. They can’t suppress turnout with mail-in, and using an independent party to count the votes cuts down on the post-vote shenanigans like stealing tally sheets and misreporting numbers. They can’t get the “Democrat for a Day” people because you have to already be a registered voter.

My mother-in-law will be able to vote. She’s just had major knee surgery in the last week and it would have been very hard for her to physically get out and go to the polls. Now she can fill in her ballot from her easy chair and have her sister take it to the mailbox.

This is a win-win-win for Hillary. She won the state when no one thought it would matter and after Obama had just come off a huge win in South Carolina. She has championed the right of Florida to be hard even before she won the state and when polls were not going her way. Florida, like Ohio, is a must-win state for the Dems in November, and she is coming in as the person who fought for Florida’s voice to be heard.

If Florida does the mail-in, I suspect Michigan will follow suit, and it will be another good situation for Hillary. Again, it enfranchises her supporters, who have the greatest difficulty getting to the polls, and it counter-acts impulse and cross-over voting. While I think she will extend her margins in Florida, I think she will maintain and perhaps slightly increase her margins in Michigan. Then there is Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico, both of which favor her, plus Kentucky.

I’m going to hammer away at nomination strategy and not listen to the whining of the A-List Blogger Boyz. Neither Hillary nor Barry can get 2025 delegates prior to the convention unless there is a massive defection of super delegates. That is unlikely. The decision will be made by super delegates and the pledged delegates who are not in either camp as of yet. This means making some tough choices about who will be best for the party in the November election.

Most important, regardless of who the candidates are, the Democratic convention cannot be held without Florida and Michigan’s full participation. I’m not even talking Hillary’s advantage here, though I admit that makes it easier to argue. To exclude these two states is to guarantee a Democratic loss. This simple fact does not seem to be getting through the skulls of the people who keep insisting on “Teh Rulz”. People like Kevin Drum, who plaintively call on Hillary to gracefully concede when she is absolutely even and probably has a small edge, are aware of this. If only she would concede, the thinking goes, then Obama could graciously allow Florida and Michigan to be seated and we’d avoid the November debacle. That is at the root of the frantic demands that she bow out when no male candidate would be badgered in such a way. That is the only way to avoid having to fight about whether the Democrats will disenfranchise a substantial portion of their constituents in order to allow Obama to win.

Well, the DNC created the situation and Hillary is not their mother. They can clean up after themselves by either seating the delegations or else helping fundraise to pay for the mail-in revotes. Hillary is already raising money. I suspect the state voters will look appreciatively on a candidate who helps them get their voices heard.

There is also the problem that Obama’s coattails do not appear to be very long. His voters are much more likely to show up only to vote for him and then ignore the down ticket races. This is the exact opposite of his supporters’ talking points, which is that he would bring out voters who would support the party ballot. Surprise, surprise, it is the dedicated Democrats supporting a solidly Democratic candidate who can be relied on to vote for the Congress critters, state politicians, and ballot measures. Just what advantage does the party gain if they lose strength in the Congress and State legislatures, or fail to turn back racist measures like those that will be proposed in Missouri and Colorado?

Frankly, after Gore and Kerry so gracefully conceding their presidential races to C+ Augustus, I really like having a candidate who will not be backed down by a bunch of people getting in her face and screaming that she’s not playing nice. Hillary Clinton is firmly dedicated to Democratic policies and principles, completely supports the party, and will fight with the tenacity of a pit-bull bitch defending her puppies when confronted by Republican threats and dirty tricks.

Our passage has been paid for.



ccp said...

Thanks again Anglachel for explaining why a mail-in party benefits everyone involved except for Barry. It says a lot when he's against the best possible system that allows everyone to participate. Anyone who can't see right through his strategy must be an Obamabot. How is it fair to win by excluding two huge states, millions of voters, as well as intimidate and exclude voters in cacuses? I never liked Obama all that much but I've lost all respect for the guy who has resorted to Republican tactics to win the nomination.

Anonymous said...

Anglachel, not sure if you have heard this, but apparently the Florida Congressional Delegation is not OPPOSING this mail-in plan and are totally opposed to a revote. I understand it in principle, because I do not see why Florida should be redone, but I understand that it must be redone for either nominee to have legitimacy...however, it is very odd that the Florida Congressional Delegation is opposing this when Nelson supports it and HRC seems to support it. Any thoughts?

Also, BO backers in Michigan (and Florida), along with Dodd and others, are now touting what appears to be the official party line - split them 50/50 no revote, it is too wasteful, etc...

Anonymous said...

You hit another one out of the ball park. I love to read your take on this all too important election.You do your home work and do it well.Way to go girlfriend!

Anonymous said...

Additionally, the RULZ crowd never seem to mention the lapses from Rule Following by the DNC iin this matter. From BTD at Talkleft:

This is where the "rules are rules" crowd really bothers me, they actually are not for the rules. The DNC delegate selection rules (PDF) called for a number of things (Rule 21 provided Florida a safe harbor for its delegates; Rule 20C.1.a. provided for a 50% penalty, not complete stripping of the delegates; Rule 20.C.7 called for the DNC to perform an investigation of the Florida situation, it did not; and Rule 20.C.5 provides the DNC the opportunity to approve a new process for Florida and Michigan to devise alternative means of selecting their delegates). None of these ex ante rules have been followed to date. One is being worked on, the revote primaries. ....Yes, rules are rules, except when they are not. More . . ."

William said...

I'm not at all sure that we will see a revote in Florida or Michigan (where two AA Democratic officeholders were quoted yesterday as saying that the only fair result is splitting the delegates 50-50). Obama is in it to win, and only to win. Anything that allows votes to be counted in these two states hurts him. So his people will just make ridiculous demands, act like they are concerned about the fairness of any revote plan, and the time will tick away.

If the FL and MI delegates are not seated as previously voted, and there is no fair revote, Obama wins the nomination. Clinton wold need a couple of hundred superdelegates to move to her, and it won't happen. Obama knows this. He does not care if the voters are disenfranchised, as long as he wins. As you said the other day, if the DNC is willing to throw away FL and MI for the general election, they can get Obama the nomination. I think they are willing; they are more afraid of an AA backlash; and a Clinton presidency costing them their cushy positions, than they are about doing the right thing.

I hope I'm being too cynical and that something fair will be worked out. But as time goes by, and the Obama campaign apparently rejects mail-in revotes in Michigan and nothing is settled in Florida, I begin to think that we are seeing Obama's version of the Bush 2000 strategy--stall into it's too late to count the votes, and once you win, it's all going to be water under the bridge.

working class artist said...

Texas dems are giving up on the count, and is ceding the caucus to Obama after only 40% prec. reporting. Since the new math is 40% = majority and in texas we just can't bother counting cause well it's too complicated and them numbers are so confusin... Prelude to Fla. and Mich. where the majority is the working class. Ya'll don't worry cause we'll count them new mail in votes until we get too tired or them numbers get too confusin. Then we'll just give it too the guy with that pretty smile. By the way who pays Al Sharpton's rent while he's in Fla. collecting signatures in prep for lawsuit against allowing the primary vote or a re-vote.

Daryl said...

This simple fact does not seem to be getting through the skulls of the people who keep insisting on “Teh Rulz”.

I think this goes back to your posts about the left's achilles heel. They disdain politics. They're saying a rule trumps pissing off a couple of million voters across two powerful swing states.

And exactly what was their crime? That they moved their primaries up along with Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. That's worth risking a general election?

working class artist said...

Got this off whizbang blue. Victor DiMaio has filed a law sit against the DNC for violating his civil rights by excluding his vote in the democratic primaries in Florida. He is suing for the seating of Florida's delgation and although his suit was rejected in Florida, The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the arguement and cleared the calendar. He was an Edwards supporter but is now a nuetral. The Atlanta Journal has the story. This could be an answer and a fair resoloution as he is suing for his vote to be counted and that the DNC's insistance on rules are a violation of his civil rights. The DNC needs to see that this is how the base will react if Fl. and Mich. are discounted. If Obama gets the nod, will he represent all democrats? Certainly not Fl. and Mich. and his reluctance to allow new primaries or his insistance on caucuses is blatant and plays right into GOP hands. Hope the court does the right thing and protects the rights of even one American Voter. Salutations! Mr. DiMaio. You've got courage.