FL, MI Democratic Voters and the Civil Rights Movement

While many pundits may have expected Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) to withdraw from the Democratic presidential race since her mathematical chances of winning the nomination are almost zero, Clinton has instead intensified her efforts. On Wednesday, she was in Florida to argue that Democratic officials should allow the votes from the Florida and Michigan primaries to count.

Both of those states were penalized by the Democratic National Committee for holding their primaries before an agreed-upon date. DNC chair Howard Dean has said he wants to find a way to seat the delegations from these two states (Morning Edition reported on just such an effort today), but it has to be a compromise agreed on by both the Obama and Clinton campaigns. So far that compromise has not been found.

Clinton argues that all the votes should be counted. And yesterday she advanced an interesting argument. Ken Vogel at Politico.com reports that Clinton "compared her effort to seat Florida and Michigan delegates to epic American struggles, including those to free the slaves and win the right to vote for blacks and women."

Those people, she said "refused to accept their assigned place as second-class citizens. Men and women who saw America not as it was, but as it could and should be, and committed themselves to extending the frontiers of our democracy. The abolitionists and all who fought to end slavery and ensure freedom came with the full right of citizenship. The tenacious women and a few brave men who gathered at the Seneca Falls convention back in 1848 to demand the right to vote."

Vogel wrote that "The pointed speech marked the kick-off of a last-gasp effort by Clinton to prolong her Democratic presidential campaign by making the states count."

The connections drawn by Clinton were powerful ones. But were they appropriate to the situation? Is Clinton's linking of her fight to get the Florida and Michigan votes counted — in order to improve her election chances — to the other great civil rights struggle in American history a persuasive one? Or does it ring false?

Comments

 

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There is absolutely no comparison between the fight to end slavery and the women's suffrage movement and the internal quarreling within the democratic party and the primary schedule. Sen. Clinton's latest attempt to boost her campaign is a joke and a bad one at that.

Sent by Joe K. | 11:16 AM | 5-22-2008

In politics you should ALWAYS be careful what you wish for, in case you get it!

Example:
If Clinton (somehow) gets the DNC to add FL and MI delegates doing so will give the nomination to Obama.
(Unless she can arrange a "back room deal" where FL gives "only" 34.5 to Obama, and MI gives "only" 34.5 to Obama.)

How (in a universe of real numbers) does Clinton propose to do this?

When FL and MI voted to moved their primaries, they voted to nullify themselves!
Whether by (GOP) design or percieved self-importance, they (FL and MI) did this to themselves and should bear the consequences! Like grown-ups.

Sent by Harold | 11:31 AM | 5-22-2008

I live in MI - and I voted.
But I did not vote democrat in January. I may have if those votes were going to count.
I do not think MI democrat votes from January should be counted now.
In MI, registered voters do not have to pre-declare a party. instead, anyone can declare when they go to vote.
It is unfair to count MI votes from january, bc many MI citizens either didn't vote or didn't vote democrat bc their votes didn't count. Counting them now is misleading.

Sent by Kelly Nieman Anderson | 12:59 PM | 5-22-2008

Completely absurd and desparate! And mirror into the soul of the woman and the campaign. No depth is too low for the pathologically egotistical Hillary Clinton. Did she say she was more of a Rosa Parks or more of a Harriet Tubman?

Sent by MO | 1:25 PM | 5-22-2008

Noticed all the comments displayed were from Men or disgruntled republican voters. Didn't any women have something to say. that's hard to believe. I am a woman and I voted for HRC and will continue to vote for her. Obama has to much to explain from his minister, his wife's comments and his calling a female reporter sweetie I'll get back to you later comment. Michlle thinks that budgeting 10M$s for fine arts education for their daughters equates with people trying to pay rent and buy groceries. He only sounds presidential he when sticks with a prescribed script, and by the way who is writing his speeches. And who is his friend Valerie who he doesn't make a decision without checking with her first. I don't want to hear about HRC mistakes. Monday morn. quarterbacks don't interest me. But the out- ragegous gender bias will stay with me for a long time. We no longer have reporters finding the truth, but script readers saying what their bosses tell them to say. When I have to turn to Lou Dobbs and Fox News for information I should just stop watching & listening to the news, and that probably will include NPR, who I at least thought was honest. Now I'm not so sure.

Sent by Jean c Zappia | 1:33 PM | 5-22-2008

I voted for Senator Obama in the Florida Democratic Primary where a record 1.7 million Democrats turned out to vote with the expectation that our votes would count somewhere down the line.

It probably won't make enough of a difference to win Senator Clinton the nomination and I plan to vote for Senator Obama if he wins the nomination. However, having my vote count means more to me than any particular candidate, and in that respect, she is taking the principled position and he is not. She's fighting for my vote to count. I don't how anyone could disagree with that.

The Republican party compromised by giving Florida half its usual number of delegates. The Republicans seem to be much more flexible in their rules while the Democrats, by comparison, seem authoritarian. The whole system of superdelegate and caucuses seems undemocratic. What are they afraid of?

Sent by Dave | 6:32 PM | 5-22-2008

It is clear that within the Democratic Party the popular choice is undeniably the wrong choice if they want to win come November. I have watched this campaign unfold and from the bottom up "the Obama movement" has caused many to ignore the obvious. Comparable to the Iraq war, the Democratics have found themselves too far down the road to pull back and do the right thing; consumed with "saving face" vs looking at the real evidence... I am perfectly at peace to accept McCain as President come November.

Sent by ard | 10:18 AM | 5-24-2008