Sunday, June 01, 2008

Analysis: Will this unify or split the Democrats? Good or bad for John McCain?

Fla., Mich. Delegates Each Get Half a Vote
Compromise Prompts Anger From Clinton Campaign

By Dan BalzWashington Post Staff Writer Sunday, June 1, 2008; Page A01
After hours of emotional testimony and sometimes contentious debate, Democratic Party officials agreed yesterday on a pair of compromises to seat Florida's and Michigan's delegations to their national convention. But a part of the deal drew an angry reaction and the threat of a subsequent challenge from the campaign of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The compromises by the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee called for both delegations, originally barred from the convention for violating party rules, to be seated in full in Denver but with each delegate casting only half a vote.

The actions by the committee were aimed at bringing the long and sometimes-bitter Democratic nomination battle between Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Clinton (N.Y.) to a close and to ensure party unity as the Democrats head into the general election. But the decisions prompted bitter and sometimes-tearful reactions from some members of the audience, who repeatedly shouted over the committee members as they voted.

Obama remains the heavy favorite to win the nomination, with his campaign hoping that he can secure enough delegates over the next week to do so. Puerto Rico's primary will be held today, and the last two states, Montana and South Dakota, will vote Tuesday. The committee's decisions represented a significant setback to Clinton, who had passionately called for seating both delegations with full votes.

The net result was a gain of 87 delegate votes for Clinton and 63 for Obama. Until yesterday's action, the magic number for winning the nomination was 2,026 delegates. Now the winner will need 2,118. According to a count by the Associated Press, as of last night, Obama controlled 2,052 delegates to Clinton's 1,877.

Obama campaign officials said they will redouble efforts to win over enough superdelegates to put their candidate over the top as quickly as possible, but Clinton hopes to emerge with more popular votes and continues to press the case that she would be a stronger general-election candidate than Obama.

"We're extremely gratified that the commission agreed on a fair solution that will allow Michigan and Florida to participate in the Convention. We appreciate their efforts, and those of the party leadership of both states, to bring this resolution about," said Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.
The Florida agreement included a provision calling for the delegates to be allocated on the basis of the state's Jan. 29 primary, a decision that would net Clinton 19 more delegates than Obama. Clinton's campaign had pushed for a proposal to seat the full delegation with full voting power, but when that failed, her supporters on the committee relented, and the compromise was approved without a dissenting vote, 27 to 0.

But it was the Michigan plan, approved by a 19 to 8 vote, that drew sharper opposition because of the way that state's delegates will be awarded. Under the plan, Clinton will be given 34.5 delegate votes in Denver to Obama's 29.5 delegate votes, a percentage distribution recommended by leaders of the Michigan Democratic Party but opposed by the Clinton campaign officials, who said it violates the results of Michigan's Jan. 15 primary.

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Vlad said...

I feel this will split the Democrats because Clinton, I predict, will actually try to challenge the Party's decision. I also watched one of her senior advisers (or someone like that) on Meet the Press discuss the giving of 4 delegates to Obama. If this continues, Democrats will be divided and Republicans will be further united.

KellyH said...

I think this only splits the party sooner than what I expected to happen at the convention. I truly feel that the people who are hardcore Hillary supporters have felt such a rivalry with Obama that many would have voted for McCain out of spite- not because they like him or his stance on issues. And had this split come closer to the general election, the anger wouldn't have had time to calm for more voters to see reason that it's better to vote for someone you hated who has very similar stances on the issues. But people are angry about the race and have really gotten so caught up, that I believe the split was inevitable, but is happening now instead of later.

I think this is actually bad for John McCain. Had this not happened, I think the major splitting and the first big wave of animocity between Democrats would have been felt much closer to the general election, enabling him to gain more votes while the Democrats made themselves look like fools. Now, the first wave of anger has hit, and in the future I think people are going to be much more resigned to the fact that Obama is going to recieve the nomination. So, after the convention and in any other instances where big splits are likely to occur, they will be expected and less upsetting to people. Because of that, we'll look less crazy closer to the general election, and John McCain will have a more composed and ready-to-fight campaign to go up against. So while it looks bad right now, I think this is good for Democrats and bad for McCain that this decision came now.