The Democrats' Florida and Michigan questionDemocratic Party National Chairman Howard Dean is encouraging officials in Florida and Michigan to consider "do-over" contests for the purposes of delegate selection to the National Convention in Denver, and in what appears to be an about-face, Hillary Clinton's campaign seems prepared to concede that this is a good idea:
"All they have to do is come before us with rules that fit into what they agreed to a year and a half ago, and then they'll be seated," Dean said during a round of interviews Thursday on network and cable TV news programs.
The two state parties will have to find the funds to pay for new contests without help from the national party, Dean said.
The Michigan governor, top officials in Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign, and Florida's state party chair all are now saying they would consider holding a sort of do-over contest by June. That's a change from the previous insistence from officials in both states that the primaries they held in January should determine how their delegates are allocated.
If there are new contests in Florida and Michigan, it seems that the growing consensus is that they will be caucuses since a caucus is much cheaper to run than a primary from the State's perspective. Both States say they aren't sure they have the funds (between 10 and 25 million dollars for each State, respectively), and the Democratic National Committee says they don't have the funds to pay for a re-vote and help fund their Presidential campaign as well.
Both Clinton and Obama have said they'll abide by whatever solution the DNC comes up with.
But CNN analyst John Dickerson said in the tight nominating race, half the party may be outraged with whatever the outcome.
This could be good news if you are a Republican. It may indeed be too late for new primaries in Michigan and Florida, so if there is another contest in those States it may have to be a caucus. Caucuses have favored Barack Obama throughout the Democratic nominating race (even when he lost one in Nevada), and we know that it is for this reason that Hillary and her supporters do not favor them. If there are caucuses in Florida and Michigan to determine delegate allocation and Obama wins them, expect Clinton supporters to cry foul. If delegates are seated under the present operating scenario in spite of candidates agreeing not to campaign in these two States (and all candidates not appearing on the ballot in one), Democratic Party hacks may join Obama supporters in their opposition. If no delegates are seated at all from either State, the voters of those States will likely feel disenfranchised-a winning argument for Republicans there, who did not disenfranchise their voters in either State (delegates were parsed in half to account for the rules violation of voting too soon).
Get ready for the Democrats' train wreck in Denver.