Rep. Robert Wexler (FL) @ Rules and Bylaws Committee /Part 3
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Uploaded on May 31, 2008
12:02 p.m: Wexler is yelling. "We must find a way...to resolve this situation so that Florida may participate in this historic nominating process that will soon come to a close." ... Says the rules provide for a reduction in the NUMBER of pledged delegates... Wexler announces Obama campaign's support for Ausman petition... -- says it would award Clinton a net 19 delegates... "Sen. Obama should be commended for his willingness to offer this extraordinary concession.... "
11:58 :Wexler acknowledges that the election was held without a compliant delegate election plan; "both Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton pledged not to campaign in Florida and both agreed at the time that the primary would not count. This contest was not a normal primary election." Argues that Obama's decision to follow the rules. Wexler notes said that the RBC told the campaigns that the process was non-binding; addresses a "canard;" this is "completely untrue." Wexler downplays the Obama campaign's roll in pushing against a new Florida primary.
RBC member Alice Huffman asks why a full delegate seating would be tantamount to be disunity.
Wexler: "Respectfuly, I wish you had asked this question last year."
Huffman says she couldn't have envisioned the future
Wexler declares that no one supports voters rights more than he does.
Harold Ickes then asks Wexler why he thinks Obama has conceded anything.
Wexler: "What we are saying is that up to the number 19, which is the maximum amount allowable under the Ausman petition and your rules, we the Obama campaign ... have agreed to a concession..." He notes that "In the state of Ohio and the state of Pennsylvania together, Sen. Clinton won a total of 19 delegates.." (He means NET delegates)...
As the DNC prepares to decide the fates of the Florida and Michigan delegations...it turns out that while the Florida primary turnout was high relative to past primaries within the state, the relative Democratic turnout vs. the Republican primary lagged way behind relative party turnout in other primaries and caucuses across the country, where the voting counted from the start. And in Michigan in particular, the voting level there was simply abysmal. This suggests the possibility that far more Democratic voters would have come out in both states if they'd expected the contests to count, meaning that it's hard to argue that the primaries that actually took place really reflected the will of the people...Democratic primaries and caucuses have had proportionately much higher turnout than Republican contests...In a year when Democratic primaries had disproportionately high turnout compared to the GOP, it tells us something if a particular state's Dem contest was disproportionately low...two particular states were behind the Kerry baseline by a serious margin: Florida, where relative Democratic turnout was a few points behind Kerry's vote percentage -- and Michigan, where relative Dem turnout lagged behind Kerry's vote by a whopping 11 points.
It makes sense that Michigan would suffer more from this problem, as Barack Obama and John Edwards had both taken their names off the ballot in recognition that the state wouldn't count, while Clinton kept her name in the race. As a result, many Obama and Edwards supporters would have failed to show up just to vote "Uncommitted" in a race that they were told wouldn't matter under the rules, and even some Clinton supporters wouldn't have viewed it as worth the time and effort.
Indeed, the Michigan turnout wasn't even halfway decent by the standards of state-level Michigan primaries. The 2002 primary for governor saw over 400,000 more people turn out than this year's presidential primary, and the second and third-place finishers had almost as many votes combined as this year's presidential race had in total...if these two states had held recognized contests with turnout in line with the best-fit curve for the other states, it seems likely that many more voters would have turned out -- possibly as many as one million in Florida, and over half a million in Michigan -- and we simply can't know how those people would have voted. These simple facts render both contests, especially Michigan, seriously dubious as actual measurements of the will of each state's electorate.
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