Michigan’s Democratic primary was basicallly worthless. When Michigan decided to move its primary up to Jan. 15, the Democratic National Committee said it would refuse to seat all of the delegates from Michigan, effectively disenfranchising voters from its own party because it wanted to preserve the Iowa-New Hampshire monopoly. Still, a primary was held and taxpayers paid an estimated $10 million for it. Now, the DNC wants to make nice, proposing that Michigan holds a caucus to award its delegates for real this time. But holding another election would be a mistake, a very costly and possibly irrelevant mistake.
By offering Michigan delegates through a caucus, the DNC is handing the state a solution, but a not a prudent one. The Michigan Democratic Party is clearly not in a financial position to dole out millions of dollars to have a caucus. While the DNC is giving us the privilege of a redo, it is not helping with the cost of such a solution.
If Michigan chooses to pay for a caucus, there isn’t even a guarantee that it will matter. The proposed date for this new vote would be March 15, and by then, it is possible that the Democratic candidate will already be chosen. Today Wisconsin and Washington will hold their nominating contests. Then Texas and Ohio will vote on March 4. If the close contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is secured after these contests as some predict, then Michigan would have wasted millions of dollars not once, but twice. Both would have made no difference. This from a state with already desperate finances.
The saddest part of it all is that when given the choice of whether to accept the DNC’s offer to have a redo election, the state Democratic Party seems more interested in politics than what’s best for the state. Most of the state Democratic Party leaders are not without bias in making their decisions. State Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer and Gov. Jennifer Granholm are only two of the many Clinton supporters nestled in state politics. Instead of concern about the logistics of a caucus, these leaders seem to be more concerned that having a caucus to reassign the delegates opens up the possibility of another win for Obama. There is also concern that if Michigan’s delegates are reinstated and awarded to Clinton, many will cry afoul.
Either option is unfair to Michigan voters and citizens. The state Democratic Party needs to stick by its decision to move the primary to the front of the pack, but it needs to do it for the right reasons. Trying to secure a Clinton victory is not the right reason – the cost and logistics of a second election are, though.
None of this squabbling makes up for the how the DNC slapped Michigan voters in the face for holding an earlier primary, caucus or not. Instead of trying to solve this delegate debacle, the DNC should stick to its promise not to award Michigan its delegates and win back Michigan voters when it really matters: the general election. Michigan Democrats may be upset, but they will certainly be forgiving if the Democratic nominee makes the economy a central issue in the campaign and, God forbid, actually campaigns in Michigan.
Michigan doesn’t need more than delegates – we need solutions and a political party that will do more than make us waste money on do-over elections.