Dear Jeralyn, Armando (Big Tent Democrat), Jerome Armstrong, Taylor Marsh, etc.:
I’m confused about something. You all keep saying that it is vitally important that we count every vote before determining who the nominee should be. It’s a fine principle, and one that is familiar to all Democrats from the last two presidential elections. So, if we agree to count all the votes from Michigan and Florida and to seat all the delegates based on those votes, and Hillary Clinton is still behind in the pledged delegates (as she would inevitably be), it is my understanding that you then expect the superdelegates to vote overwhelmingly in the opposite direction, thereby not only countering, but reversing the will of the voters.
This strikes me as akin to George W. Bush joining Al Gore in insisting that every vote be counted in Florida, and then once the Electoral College flips to Gore, having the Supreme Court overrule the Electoral College and hand the presidency to George W. Bush anyway. Is there some sense in which I have this comparison wrong?
I know the superdelegates have the right to do this in a way that the Supreme Court probably did not. But it’s not the right I am talking about, but the principle. We all know that Al Gore didn’t deserve the presidency because he won the popular vote. If that were how presidential contests were decided, George W. Bush never would have campaigned in Delaware or any other vote-poor state. He would have stuck to campaigning in vote-rich states like California, hoping to limit Gore’s gains there.
It’s true that the superdelegates basically only exist to overturn the will of the people if they feel that is absolutely necessary. They really serve no other purpose, and that is what you are arguing they should do. But where I’m having trouble computing your argument is where you say that it is a violation of some sacred principle to deny the people of Florida and Michigan their votes, but not a violation of any sacred principle to overturn the will of all the people that have participated in the nominating process.
You might argue that there is a scenario where Clinton might be able to claim that she won the most votes if Florida and Michigan are counted in the most favorable way for Clinton. It’s a big if, but it could happen. But you have already signed on for another principle…that the superdelegates have absolute discretion to vote for whomever they want, regardless of the popular vote. So, you’re hardly arguing that the popular vote is sacrosanct.
It seems to me like you are just fighting for Clinton, and that is the only principle that you applying. If it helps her, you advocate it, and if it hurts her, you bemoan it. You’re not really arguing that the winner of the popular vote should automatically be crowned the victor. You are arguing the opposite in the case of the pledged delegates. So, what difference does it really make whether Florida and Michigan are counted?
Obviously, a failure to allow their delegates to participate in the convention might make it harder for the Democrats to compete in those states in the general election. But you don’t recognize the will of the overall electorate as decisive, so why do you care whether Florida or Michigan are seated this way or that…so long as they are seated?
Let me finish with just one more point. Since you are arguing that the superdelegates should overwhelmingly reject the will of the people, as expressed under the rules by the pledged delegates, don’t you recognize that the superdelegates already know the results (and the circumstances that led to the results) in Michigan and Florida? Is it really necessary for those results to be official for the superdelegates to disregard the overall results?
At bottom, you are only angling for numbers. You know that counting Florida and Michigan makes it possible for Clinton to win with less superdelegates choosing to disregard the will of the people.
So, correct me if I am wrong, but you really aren’t operating according to any principle at all.