I got an email from Hillary Clinton today. She told me that it is important to count every vote (emphasis in original).
This Sunday, voters in Puerto Rico will go to the polls and make their voices heard — the first time the island has played such a vital role in selecting our party’s nominee. At this critical moment, I am depending on you to help me make sure they have a choice. We are depending on the voters of Puerto Rico in our fight to secure the nomination.
It doesn’t matter what the pundits say. You and I know this race is up to the voters, and I’m going to keep fighting for every last vote. That’s why it is so important that we get voters to the polls over the next few days — and we can’t do that without your help.
Let’s ignore the problems with the assertion that Puerto Rico is somehow going to secure the nomination for Clinton and focus on that part about the race being up to the voters. Because if the race is up to the voters, then why did she send out a letter to all the superdelegates today that said, in part:
At this point, we do not yet have a nominee – and when the last votes are cast on June 3, neither Senator Obama nor I will have secured the nomination. It will be up to automatic delegates like you to help choose our party’s nominee…
Ultimately, the point of our primary process is to pick our strongest nominee – the one who would be the best President and Commander in Chief, who has the greatest support from members of our party, and who is most likely to win in November. So I hope you will consider not just the strength of the coalition backing me, but also that more people will have cast their votes for me.
Before we get started with this, we have to remember that there are many ways of counting the popular vote and the only way that Clinton can make a claim to have won it is to give herself 328,000 votes from Michigan and give none to Barack Obama, and to count her popular vote victory in Florida. Having set down that marker, we have to wonder how Clinton can send out an email to her list that says “You and I know this race is up to the voters” on the same day that she sends out an email to the superdelegates that says “It will be up to automatic delegates like you to help choose our party’s nominee.”
Those are contradictory arguments. The truth of the matter is that Hillary Clinton is asking the superdelegates (or automatic delegates) to ignore the will of the voters as expressed by the delegates elected under the rules (even including Florida and Michigan). She’s saying that the whole point of the nominating process is to ‘pick our strongest nominee’ rather than discover the preferences of the voters (since those two things are not necessarily synonymous). Yet she keeps howling about how we have to count every vote? Why is it so important to count every vote if your ultimate argument is that the process should nominate the strongest nominee regardless of the vote?
To be fair, the process does allow for the superdelegates to overrule the preferences of the people, but it is really only for emergencies where the frontrunning candidate is clearly unelectable, or has become so through scandal or health reasons. It’s not true that the process is intended to nominate the strongest nominee. In 2000, the strongest nominee might have been Colin Powell. The process is intended to ascertain the will of the party (with a few independents and Republicans thrown in), and the superdelegates are only supposed to intervene if they think the nominee is a sure loser.
But even if you want to dispute my interpretation of the purpose of the nominating process, Clinton is arguing out of both sides of her mouth. And it is making everyone that pays attention to this crap just a little bit stupider every minute.