NPR logo FL, MI Democratic Voters and the Civil Rights Movement

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."

Article continues after sponsorship

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?