Even some prominent Clinton supporters don’t buy her campaign’s argument that the Michigan and Florida delegations should count toward candidates’ totals at the convention. From today’s Los Angeles Times:
Clinton backers at odds with her on Fla., Mich.
Two leading governors tout the Democratic Party’s rules. Seating barred delegates, they say, is a suspect proposal.
By Peter Nicholas, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Two prominent Democratic governors, both supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign, voiced doubts Saturday about her argument that her victories in Florida and Michigan should count toward her delegate total.
Pennsylvania’s Edward G. Rendell and New Jersey’s Jon Corzine suggested that it would be seen as unfair to award those delegates to Clinton, given the Democratic Party’s ruling that the vote in those two states would not count.
Rendell seems especially skeptical of the Clinton campaign’s arguments, particularly regarding Michigan:
Rendell said the Clinton camp could not make a convincing case that Michigan delegates should be added to her column: “You can’t make any argument in Michigan, because Hillary was the only person who was on the ballot. I’m as avid a Hillary supporter as there is, but I don’t think we can make an argument in Michigan.”
In Florida, Rendell said, the Clinton campaign can mount a “tenable argument” that delegates should be awarded. Obama was on the ballot in Florida, for one thing. And Obama ran a television campaign ad there. It was part of a national cable ad buy. Rendell said it was likely an accident that it ran in Florida:”I believe he just didn’t think to redact Florida from the buy,” the Pennsylvania governor said.
The Clinton campaign has said that by airing the ad, the Illinois senator violated the pledge not to campaign in Florida.
Corzine, at least judging from his quotes in the LA Times, is more cautious, arguing that Florida and Michigan voters should not be disenfranchised, but also saying, “I think actually given how the votes came about, we probably need a revote.”
Ironically, the less difference the Florida and Michigan delegates would make, the more likely they are to be seated. That is, if either Clinton or Obama ends up ceding the race before the convention, then it seems almost certain that the winner will want the Florida and Michigan delegations to be recognized, because they will want to win the hearts and minds of voters in those states for the general election. But if the convention rolls around and there is not a clear winner yet, then the seating of those delegations would be widely seen as undemocratic, and the chances of it happening seem very slim. So one can’t help but feel sympathy for voters in those states — the only way their primary votes will count is if they don’t really count.