Florida and Michigan Will Not Have Revotes

During the past two days the Democratic Parties in both Florida and Michigan announced that revotes are unlikely to occur for legal and logistical reasons.  So, the only choices open to the Democratic Party at this point are the following:

  1. Do not seat any delegates from Florida and Michigan.
  2. Allow some of the delegates to be seated with full votes based on the January primaries.
  3. Allow all of the delegates to be seated with partial votes based on the January primaries.
  4. Allow all of the delegates to be seated with full votes based on the January primaries.

While option 1 (the current de facto option) would respect the DNC rules, it could hurt the chances of the Democratic nominee to win Florida and Michigan in the general election.  So, it is not really a good option for the party.  While Barack Obama’s lead would be cut with any of options 2-4, it is in his longer term interest to accept one of them in some form after negotiations with the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and the state parties.

I proposed a Plan B compromise in my prior post on this issue which was a form of option 2 above.  This is the proposed compromise I made:

  1. The DNC should refuse to reinstate any superdelegates from either state for the reasons I previously gave here.
  2. The DNC should reinstate 100% of the pledged delegates from each state that manages to hold a new primary or caucus before the June 10 deadline.  The allocation of delegates would be based on the new contests.
  3. The DNC should reinstate 50% of the pledged delegates from each state that does not hold a new contest.  The allocation of delegates would be based on the January primaries that these states held with the following modification:  in Michigan, the 40% of the vote that was “Uncommitted” would be given to Obama on the assumption that he would have gotten most or all of those votes if his name had been on the Michigan ballot.

I think this  plan is still a good option.  However, to make it more flexible as a framework for negotiating a solution between the Clinton and Obama campaigns, I would like to suggest the following modified version:

  1. The DNC should reinstate superdelegates from these states with partial votes ranging from 0% to 50% of a standard delegate vote.
  2. The DNC should reinstate 100% of the pledged delegates from each state that manages to hold a new primary or caucus before the June 10 deadline.  The allocation of delegates would be based on the new contests.
  3. The DNC should reinstate 50% of the pledged delegates from each state that does not hold a new contest.  The allocation of delegates would be based on the January primaries that these states held with the following modification:  in Michigan, the 40% of the vote that was “Uncommitted” would be given to Obama on the assumption that he would have gotten most or all of those votes if his name had been on the Michigan ballot.
  4. As far as the popular vote is concerned, all votes cast in the January primaries in these states would be fully counted if no new voting contests are held with “Uncommitted” votes in Michigan again being given to Obama.

The modified version allows the superdelegates to be seated at the convention but limits their vote, thereby imposing a direct penalty on the politicians who had the power and knowledge to avoid the rule-breaking primaries in January.  Some penalty on the superdelegates is needed in order to send a clear message to all state parties that their members will pay a personal price for breaking DNC rules in the future.  However, it is flexible enough to give both campaigns some room to negotiate.  It also fully counts each vote cast in Florida and Michigan as far as the popular vote is concerned.

I had previously estimated that Clinton would cut Obama’s pledged delegates lead by about 25 via item 3 above.  Florida has 25 superdelegates while Michigan has 28.  The modification to item 1 above adds an effective total of at most 26.5 delegate votes.  Assuming Clinton received 2/3 of these, she would get 17.5 of these votes while Obama would get 9.  This would cut Obama’s lead by an additional 8.5 delegate votes.  So, even if the superdelegates from Florida and Michigan were seated with half of their normal votes, Clinton would only cut Obama’s lead by about 33.5 delegates under my modified plan.  Given Obama’s current lead of about 142 delegates, he can probably live with this.  Clinton will obviously want more, but 33.5 is better than 0 which is all she currently has from these states.

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