Bipartisan group: Primary should count

04/28/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday | Listen to this entire show:

Tomorrow Floridians from across the state will protest in front of the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in Washington. They’ll be calling on DNC Chair Howard Dean to decide the issue with Florida’s congressional delegates.

Rallies were held across the state on Saturday calling for that as well. In St. Petersburg, around 50 people gathered at Gladden Park to demand that the votes from Florida’s Jan. 29 primary count. The event was sponsored by the newly formed group, Floridians Demand Representation (FDR). Palm Harbor resident Jim Hannagan is the founder and state chairman of the group.

The DNC’s Rules & Bylaws Committee announced Friday that they plan to take up the delegates issue about both Florida and Michigan at a meeting on May 31.

Earlier this year, Hillary Clinton's campaign said it would help pay for a re-vote of the Jan. 29 primary, but Barack Obama's camp wasn’t interested.

One possible compromise that Sen. Bill Nelson has proposed would be to have the national party restore half of the delegates – which would cut Sen. Clinton’s delegate lead in the state from 38 to 19. But FDR's Jim Hannagan said he’s not interested in seeing anything less that what happened Jan. 29.

Anita DePalma is the former state Director for LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and is running as a Democrat for Congress in Florida’s 9th District. She says as an American, she demands that Florida’s delegates be seated for the Democratic Convention in Denver in August.

Although FDR insists it is bi-partisan, Barack Obama supporters were in short supply at Saturday’s event. Clinton has slammed Obama for supporting the disenfranchisement of Florida voters. Obama’s camp says it is waiting for the DNC to decide how to deal with the delicate situation.

Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court Pat Frank, a Clinton supporter, blamed the Republicans, and said that Florida should be allowed always to vote early.

In the aftermath of the Pennsylvania primary, more political analysts say the race is becoming part of the anti-Obama vote. Among white Pennsylvania voters, 1 in 6 said race was a factor, and three-quarters of them voted for Clinton.

In the increasingly bitter fight between Clinton and Obama, polls have shown a certain percent of those candidates supporters will not vote for the other Democrat in November. Those polls show a higher percent of Clinton supporters saying they will vote for John McCain in the fall against Barack Obama, despite the fact that the policy differences between Obama and Clinton seem negilible.

Frank Sanchez is the National Latino Fundraising Chair for the Obama campaign. Speaking from Washington, he said that he also wants Florida’s votes to count – but not the Jan. 29 primary results.

Meanwhile, the St. Petersburg Times is reporting that FDR Chair Jim Hannagan, the man behind the effort to count Florida’s votes on Jan. 29, did not vote in the primary. Hannagan denies that, saying that the Pinellas County voting records are wrong, and that he did vote.

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annoyed with Florida and Michigan

I am so sick and tired of Florida (and Michigan) pretending to be some sort of victim. I don't care if Florida's state legislature has a republican majority, the bill that broke national party rules by moving the primary was introduced by the democrats. Only one person in the entire legislature voted against it. The DNC had to enforce the rules or the rules are meaningless. The primaries are set up the way they are for a very good reason and letting Florida get away with acting as though the rules don't apply to them would have undermined the entire process and would have seriously negative reprecussions for future elections. So as a democrat, I seriously hope the Democratic party leaders in Florida and Michigan are happy. They have screwed up this election and what should have been an easy win for a democratic candidate has now turned into shambles. Due to your selfishness, your pigheaded idiocy and your pointless disregard for necessary rules, you have destroyed the party you claim to be apart of. I seriously hope your happy when John McCain declares war on Iran, cuts educational funding and nominates two more Alitos to the supreme court just because you, as state representatives of the democratic party, are petty, shortsighted idiots. Good going you flaming morons.

Jonathan, you are woefully ignorant of the facts..

The Democrats only went along with the bill because it also contained a provision for a paper ballot, something that the 2000 election taught anyone with a functioning brain is necessary to ensure a fair election process, and because, as the MINORITY party, they knew they didn't have a chance of blocking the primary date change, anyway. The situation we are in now was 100% TOTALLY caused by Howard Dean. Why? Because the DNC's precious rules recommend cutting the delegates in HALF in such a situation, which would have effectively chastised the state for the date violation, discouraged other states from following suit, YET still left the INNOCENT voters with a representative voice in the primary process. But, no, Dean CHOSE to be draconian and circle up the firing squad, yanking away ALL the delegates from millions and millions of voters in FL & MI, thus disenfranchising us just at a time when we are fired up and ready to vote, vote, VOTE. Dean and his DNC caused this mess. Not the innocent, long-suffering voters of FL & MI, who want nothing more than a voice in selecting the nominee of our party, a party that many of us, like me, have been loyal members of for our entire lives. It is Dean who has destroyed the party. Not the voters of FL & MI. So take your anger out on the right person, please.

Jim Crow Lives Anew--Vote Voiding

It was interesting to hear the Obama representative say, on Monday evening's show, that Obama wanted Florida's primary votes to count but "fairness" and "the rules" justified them not counting, unless Obama gets to say how we voted. As for fairness, there was no rule against Obama or any other candidate campaigning in Florida. He agreed to not campaign here to pander to Iowa and New Hampshire voters, as did all the other candidates. They all stand on equal footing--the ground of politicians who value self-promotion more than counting American votes. As for "following the rules," Obama says he's a "new kind of leader" who will "change the way Washington does business." yet the argument he makes that the vote voiding rules must be followed is EXACTLY the same argument Jim Crow made for disenfranchising other Americans fifty years ago. He's more of the same. Finally, Obama says he'll allow the Florida votes to count if he gets to say how we voted. Where did he grow-up and learn his civics, the Soviet Union? In a democracy, party officials don't get to decide how people voted--votes are simply counted. In a democracy, the voters choose the parties and the candidates, the parties and the candidates don't get to choose the voters. The Democratic Party is not democratic--with its voided votes, half votes, double votes, caucuses beginning as polls close in order to dilute the results of voting and its 800 party-appointed free agents who get to decide regardless of voters. The Democratic party is the second biggest vote voider in American history, behind only Jim Crow. It ought to be ashamed of itself. We ought to be ashamed of it. If the gormless self-promoters who sponsored and went along with the vote voiding aren't punished by the voters, the precedent will enter our political traditions to be repeated later. Is this what WMNF listeners want to pass on as an inheritance to their children and grandchildren? If, in a year's time, Howard Dean can say,. "Gee, that worked out well," we will have let a horrible thing happen--the voiding of millions of American votes, without punishing the perpetrators. I'm offended. WMNF listeners should be offended too. We need new laws to ensure all primary votes are treated on a one-person one-vote basis: then the clown piles that are the political parties can function within boundries that aren't so offensive to common sense and that do not violate the American values that every citizen has an opportunity to improve the world by voting and that every voter should matter.

In Response to Edna

I am angry with the right people. I might agree with you that Dean overreacted, but he had a valid position to maintain. The democratic party in Florida is not a victim, I don't care that they are the minority party. There are 43 democrats out of 120 in the state HOR, and 14 out of 40 in the state senate. One person voted against this bill. ONE. That's it. The democratic party in Florida, supported this bill, they pushed this bill forward because they wanted 'to be more important' and now they want to whine about the consequences. Yeah they could have been stripped by half, but frankly why should they get any delegates in an election where they blatantly ignored the rules? Did they oppose the bill? Did they speak out against it? Did they even try to show that they wanted party unity instead of a selfish desire 'to be more important?' No, they did none of that. Had the bill been passed despite their oposition, then they could be what they now claim to be, victims. Then they would have a sympathetic case and they would not have been stripped of their delegates. They went along with the program and undermined the entire process. Florida deserved to be punished period. Dean went too far and I am upset about that, but I am still far more angry with the democratic party of florida who went along and supported a bill that they knew broke the rules because they felt like they didn't have to follow the rules. It was more important for them to feel more important. Oh and let's go ahead and point out that the DNC warned states of exactly what would happen if they held their primaries early. The democratic party in Florida didn't care because they think they can do whatever they want and that the DNC would eventually cave. And yes I am sorry that Floridians screwed up the 2000 vote. I am very sorry, especially now that my brother is in Iraq, that apparently Floridians aren't capable of voting properly. I am sorry that ballots are just too confusing for the citizens of Florida. But to use that as a justification to support a bill that would screw up yet another election is misguided. As for Doug, what on earth are you talking about? I would love to address your argument but for the life of me I can't seem to gather a single coherent thought in any of that. Jim Crowe? Really? Seriously why stop there? Why not just compare the DNC to Nazis? It would make just as much sense and would be a tad more melodramatic.

Jonathan, you make some valid points, but...

...then you launch right into attacking the voters of Florida again. Speaking as a lifelong, loyal Democrat who has voted in every election since I was 18 years old (and always fully punched through my "chads"), and as an ardent Gore supporter since 1988 no less, I was crushed by what unfolded in 2000. No one was more upset about it than Florida Democrats, I can assure you. Yet people like you just love to blame US and accuse us of being unable to cast a ballot properly or whatever. Don't you realize that the Republican FOB's (friends of Bush) STOLE the election by impeding a fair process/recount? Blame Katherine Harris, Baby Bro', et al. for 2000 (and throw a little wrath at the Nader voters, while you are at it, and how about all the voters in other states that went solidly RED for shrub, versus Florida that had a razor-thin margin of just over 500 votes for shrub)! Folks like you who continue to bash the Democratic voters of Florida really dismay and upset me. Haven't we suffered ENOUGH? Do we deserve to be disenfranchised AGAIN, this time by our own party, by having our primary votes taken away, all for something we couldn't control?! You do make a valid point about the Democratic minority going along with the Republican majority on that bill, but again, that was mainly because of the paper ballot trail thing. Still, that is a fair point. But even so, Howard Dean is punishing the WRONG people!!!! Again I submit to you: Had Dean followed the recommendation of his precious "rules" and simply yanked away HALF of the delegates of FL & MI, none of this would be happening right now. Instead, he chose to go haywire and now we are all paying the price. I just wish people would quit bashing the Democratic voters of Florida. Good Lord, haven't we been through enough? I, for one, voted for Gore in 2000 and fully punched my ever-loving chad. It was Katherine Harris who screwed it all up, not the voters.

Florida decides elections

Count the votes. All states should be allowed to hold their primaries whenever they want. Why is Iowa more important than Florida ? Dems are nitwits: you'll get Iowa, but you'll lose Florida. Wow, and then you wonder why you keep losing to Republicans.

Jack, I fear you are right about my party!

Jack, as a lifelong, loyal Democrat who not even Howard Dean can totally alienate from my beloved party, I must concur that my party is behaving like "nitwits" right now. As Will Rogers said: "I'm not a member of any organized political party. I'm a Democrat." (*tee heeEEE!* Love it.) Dean has managed single-handedly to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We had this one sown up before it even started! But now he has managed to totally alienate and disenfranchise millions of voters, effectively deadlocking the primary and assuming (erroneously) that all these millions of voters are just going to get over it and come back in the general election. Mind boggling. Definite "nitwit" ALERT! I love my party and will never abandon it. Too bad that, right now, my DNC is abandoning me.