Friday, March 14, 2008

An Open Letter to the Democratic National Committee

Yes, I sent another letter. If you would like to do the same thing, you can email Mr. McNamara at mcnamara at dnc dot org

Phil McNamara
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003

Dear Mr. McNamara

I am a life-long Democrat and I have voted a complete Democratic ticket in every local, state and national primary and general election for the last 40+ years. However, I am becoming increasingly hesitant to do so this coming Presidential election as I watch my Democratic party dismiss the votes and disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of other loyal Democrats.

This is an historic primary and the spotlight is on our party. Many disenchanted Republicans are taking a fresh look at our party and may vote as Democrats if they believe that we are the party to restore confidence in democracy. We cannot allow ourselves to become another party that disenfranchises the will of the voters. It is, therefore, imperative that we honor the voices and votes of the people of Michigan and Florida.

In Michigan, Barack Obama made a calculated choice to remove his name from the Michigan ballot even though there was no rule or requirement that he do so. After doing so, his supporters ran a very aggressive campaign in an attempt to get people to vote “uncommitted.”

On January 15, 2008, 594,398 Michigan Democrats went to their polling places and voted in their state's primary. 328,309 Democrats voted for Hillary Clinton and she won all but two counties, Washtenaw and Emmet. 238,168 voted uncommitted. 21,715 voted for Dennis Kucinich. 3,845 voted for Chris Dodd. 2,361 voted for Mike Gravel. Hillary Clinton received 55% of the vote. The uncommitted, whose votes were either truly uncommitted or for Obama, Edwards or Biden, all three of whom voluntarily withdrew their names from the ballot, got 40%. Kucinich, Dodd and Gravel won 5% of the vote.

Barack Obama now proposes that he receive 50% of the state's delegates. Splitting the Michigan delegates 50/50 between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is not consistent with how Michigan voted. Splitting the Michigan delegates 50/50 would be vote-stealing and would be disenfranchising 5% of Hillary Clinton's voters. It would be assuming that every uncommitted voter and every voter for Kucinich, Dodd and Gravel now want their vote to go to Obama. That's called stealing an election. If the DNC allows this, there will be hundreds of thousands of Democrats across the country, including me, who will refuse to vote for Barack Obama in November, thinking better a Republican than a cheat.

There's a very simple, fair answer to the Michigan dilemma: Absent a revote, the DNC should remove the penalty and Hillary Clinton should receive the delegates according to her vote total. The uncommitted and other candidates' delegates should remain "uncommitted" and vote how they want when they attend the convention in Denver.

There’s also an even simpler and equally fair answer to the Florida dilemma. Florida held a primary, not caucuses, on January 29, 2008 and Democrats voted early, voted absentee and voted on their primary day. The DNC was wrong to penalize them. Democrats didn't willingly hold their primary early, the Republican legislature forced the early date on them, but the state party repeatedly assured voters they would try to get the decision overturned and it was important for them to vote, as did elected officials. Florida voters listened and they turned out in record numbers. It would simply be wrong to hold caucuses now in lieu of a primary. Nor do they need a new primary. The voters have already spoken and the election was fair. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were both on the ballot, but neither campaigned in the state so neither had any advantage over the other. The candidates competed on a level playing field. The DNC just needs to count the votes that were cast. Hillary Clinton received 871,000 votes, 49.8% and Barack Obama got 576,000 votes, 32.9%. The Florida delegates should be awarded consistent with those votes.

The Republicans are watching our party. I am sure you can imagine what the Republicans would do with the proposed compromises. We will be portrayed as believing in dividing votes instead of counting votes. Campaigning Republicans will remind Michigan and Florida voters every day that their votes weren’t counted.

The people of Michigan and Florida are, first and foremost, people of America and they are watching our party. Voters all across America are watching our party.

Please take this opportunity to do the right thing.



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