Friday, January 18, 2008

VIDEO: Uncommitted: Michigan's Democratic Primary Fiasco

Originally published at

Michigan's Democratic Primary was panned as "meaningless" by critics in the media. In fact, it was quite "meaningful" because of what this says about the current primary system. The two small states of Iowa and New Hampshire have a greater say in who the presidential nominee is going to be than the other 48 states. Michigan's residents (and those of many other states) don't think this is fair.

When Michigan chose to move its primary election to January - before its assigned "Super Tuesday" February 5 date - the state's Democratic Party violated national party rules. As a result the Democratic National Convention stripped the state of its 154 delegates to the national convention in August. The move was intended to gain Michigan more influence, but had the opposite effect. Michigan now has no voice. This demostrates the power of Iowa and New Hampshire in the voting process.

Under intense pressure from party officials and Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire, the leading candidates (Barack Obama, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton) took a pledge stating they would not campaign in the state. Obama and Edwards went so far as to remove themselves from the ballot, and wouldn't allow their names to be written in. Only Hillary Clinton, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel and Christopher Dodd (who had already dropped out of the race by January 15) were on the official ballot.

When you vote in a primary, you're actually voting for delegates who will represent your candidate at the state's party convention (Michigan's is March 29). Those delegates will go to the national party convention to choose the final nominee. Because Obama and Edwards weren't on the ballot, their supporters urged Michigan voters to mark "Uncommitted" when voting on January 15. This would elect delegates who were not committed to any candidate at the convention. In the final talley, Clinton won the primary with 55% of the vote, while "Uncommitted" garnered 39% and Dennis Kucinich gained 4% of the state's delegates.

Even though Hillary and "Uncommitted" made a good showing, unless the national party reverses its decision and agrees to seat Michigan's delegates, the thousands who voted in Michigan's Democratic Primary will have no say in the party's nomination process. Their votes would not count.

For Democrats in Michigan - especially young Dems - the national Democratic party's actions were "frustrating". Michigan was stripped of its delegates because it wanted more of a say in choosing our next president. Instead, the Democratic Party punished the state by taking its voice away.

Is the Democratic Party "Uncommitted" to Michigan and the other 47 states who have primary elections after Iowa and New Hampshire? How does this affect Michigan Democrats who must still rally support for their party during the general election?

This video hopes to answer some those questions by speaking to Democratic Party organizers in Ann Arbor, Michigan and to presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, who states that the Democratic Party is "Uncommitted" on many issues.


Post a Comment

<< Home