Chicago Sun-Times
Discussions across the racial divide

Dirty Tricks?

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When I first heard that Michigan and Florida would be stripped of delegates because of the states' decision to hold early primaries in violation of DNC rules, I knew this would come back to haunt Democrats. Understandably, Sen. Hillary Clinton has been quietly calling for the delegates to be seated at the convention since she won both states (her name was the only name on the ballot in Michigan).


What I didn't expect was that the battle over this controversy would be waged by black leaders and politicians.

Civil Rights Chairwoman Mary Frances Berry and Roger Wilkins, a former Justice Department official also wrote Dean asking him to settle the dispute before the convention.

My problem is this: Why didn't these people speak up when this scenario was unfolding? Now it looks like these African-American icons are carrying water for the Clinton camp. Hillary Clinton, who appears to be losing steam in her bid for the White House, presumably would benefit if the delegates in Florida and Michigan were seated.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been lukewarm when it comes to Sen. Barack Obama's campaign and hasn't officially declared for either candidate, has jumped on the opposite side of this issue. See press release below:


REV. SHARPTON CALLS ON THE DNC TO NOT SEAT MICHIGAN AND FLORIDA
DELEGATES, CALLING IT A MASSIVE CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION


Dear Governor Dean:

I write this letter as a former Democratic candidate for President of
the United States and a civil rights leader who has fought his entire
life for fairness and justice for all people regardless of the color
of their skin. I firmly believe that changing the rules now, and
seating delegates from Florida and Michigan at this point would not
only violate the Democratic party's rules of fairness, but also would
be a grave injustice.

As former Presidential candidates we both know that, whether we liked
them or not, we adhered to the rules set forth by the Democratic party
to select its nominee for president. For example, I would have much
preferred starting the nominating process with caucuses and primaries
in South Carolina and Washington D.C. than Iowa and New Hampshire.
Nonetheless, I knew the rules, abided by them, and ultimately accepted
the consequences. Changing the rules in the middle of a presidential
contest is patently unfair both to the candidates (including Senator
Edwards) and to Democratic voters everywhere.

Some have said that not seating delegations from Florida and Michigan
disenfranchises Democratic voters -- especially African American
voters -- from those two states. That claim, if true, should have been
made many months ago before the decision was made to strip these
states of their delegates, and, once the decision was made, it should
have been vigorously objected to and contested by those who felt it
disenfranchised voters. To raise that claim now smacks of politics in
its form most raw and undercuts the moral authority behind such an
argument.

As a civil rights leader who is neutral in this presidential primary
season and who highly respects both remaining Democratic candidates, I
think we have a responsibility to protect both candidates from charges
that the process was tainted so that our eventual nominee does not
start the general election campaign under a cloud. Clearly, the
justifiably proud and intense passions of each candidate's supporters
will be on full display in the months leading up to the convention.
However, the Democratic Party and independent voices within must
temper over enthusiasm by either side and the party must be resolute
in ensuring that there is one set of rules by which we select our
nominee.

In Progress,


Reverend Al Sharpton, President of National Action Network

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6 Comments

This is outrageous. The time to protest the DNC decision was last year, when it was made. Back then, it was assumed that Hillary would get the nomination, and this wouldn't be an issue. Since the nomination is not assured for her anymore, she's trying to get delegates anyway she can. Julian Bond should be ashamed of himself. It's quite obvious that he is in the Clinton camp. If he were really concerned about the voters in Michigan and Florida being disenfranchised, he would have protested when the initial decision was made by the DNC - in August of 2007, not now at this late date.

Seriously you are quite possibly the worst journalist Chicago has ever seen!

Unofficial Tally Might Have Overstated Clinton Victory
Some New York Results Initially Failed to Record Obama Votes
Last Edited: Saturday, 16 Feb 2008, 7:34 PM EST
Created: Saturday, 16 Feb 2008, 7:34 PM EST

2008 Election Coverage on MyFoxNY.com

NEW YORK -- Unofficial returns from New York's Democratic primary may have overstated Hillary Clinton's margin of victory over Barack Obama.

On election night, 80 election districts in New York City initially reported that they had not recorded a single vote for Obama, despite logging thousands for Clinton and hundreds for former candidate John Edwards.

Official tallies, released later, revealed that Obama had indeed received many votes in those districts.

Statistically, the discrepancies were tiny, occurring in just a few of 6,106 election districts in the city, and they had no impact on the election's outcome.

It was unclear why the errors had taken place. Unofficial voting results are reported by election officials to police officers, then released to the media.

Marcus Cederqvist, the executive director of the city's Board of Elections, told The New York Times that human error in reading off the columns of election returns was probably to blame.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


You have been made fun of in the blogs for your shooting column.

Google yourself

The clinton campaign is slightly hypocritical on what is democracy.Governor Rendell went on Meet the Press and said "caucuses were undemocratic."When Senator Obama wins a "red state", the clinton campaign commonly just discounts it like some states matter more than others (a party that hasnt held the executive branch in 8 years should not discount any state).Senator clinton on a radio show in October is on record saying that Michigan and Florida wouldnt count.Harold Ickes (a senior adviser to Senator clinton's campaign) voted in favor of having the Michigan and Florida delegates stripped away also.So to hear the clinton campaign argue that Senator Obama stopped the re-votes is ridiculos.The Democratic legislature in Michigan voted to have the primary moved up despite the ramifications.Governor Granholm (a clinton supporter) signed the bill knowing the consequences.Michigan and Florida should learn a lesson and follow the rules like the other 48 states.

What was so dirty about it, the rules were broken and even Hillary herself said does states wouldn't matter. How do we teach our children about breaking rules and the consequences that come with that if adults break rules and nothing is done.

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Mitchell published on February 14, 2008 4:19 PM.

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