Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ouch! Florida Democrats Hit Where it Hurts

Out to avenge the irritation of having it own primary calendar plan defied, the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic National Committee moved today to strip Florida of ALL the state's delegates to next year's convention if they continue with the plan to hold their 2008 presidential primary on January 29. State Democrats now have thirty days to revise and resubmit a delegate selection plan to the national party.

All week Florida Democrats talked a good game: urging Florida Democratic voters to contact the committee, arguing of the disenfranchisement of voters stripped of a meaningful primary, and today before the committee, claiming that the party had gone to lengths to prevent the GOP-controlled legislature and Republican governor from defying both parties' delegate selection rules. None of that seemed to pass with the members of the Rules and Bylaws Committee though.

So what does all this mean? First of all, Florida Democrats will most likely hold a caucus on February 5. But does the beauty contest on January 29 now open the door for candidates to campaign in Florida again? That is the big question. If that is a loophole candidates can now take advantage of, then it would put to rest the arguments that preventing an official primary on the 29th, effectively hurts any nominee in the general election (An argument I don't put much stock in in the first place. Primary voters are the parties' core constituents and aren't going to be dissuaded from voting in the general election because of something like this; especially in light of the experiences the state had in the 2000 election.). This also sets a precedent for how the Committee would deal with the Michigan case should the State House pass the bill moving the state's primary to January 15. That decision could come as soon as next week.

EDIT: Well, apparently Florida Democrats doubt the feasibility of holding a party-funded primary. They seem somewhat taken aback by the severity of the party's decision, but are nonetheless holding their ground.

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