NAACP Chairman Julian Bond endorses Clinton (basically)
From the Michigan Messenger,
A noted civil rights leader weighed in the Democratic race by calling on the Democratic National Committee to seat delegates from Florida Michigan.
The AP reports that “In a Feb. 8 letter to DNC Chairman Howard Dean, NAACP chairman Julian Bond expressed “great concern at the prospect that million of voters in Michigan and Florida could ultimately have their votes completely discounted.” Refusing to seat the states’ delegations could remind voters of the “sordid history of racially discriminatory primaries,” he said.”
The timing and thrust of Bond’s letter is both interesting and disturbing. However, we should first examine the context of how the two major political parties allocate their delegates. Unlike Republicans, Democrats allocate their primary delegates proportionally rather than using a winner-take-all approach. Because of that, the Democratic primary has been remarkably close because unless the winner wins by large margins, the actual difference in delegate count will not be that dramatic. As of tonight, Senator Obama has been winning by large enough margins to be leading Senator Clinton in the amount of pledged delegates 1078 to 979, according to NBC News.
Since February 5th, Senator Obama has won eight straight contests. If Senator Obama is able to sustain his momentum into winning the delegate rich states of Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, seating Michigan and Florida’s delegates could prove to be the critical margin of victory for Senator Clinton.
The disturbing part of Bond’s letter is that could easily be interpreted as a backhanded way of endorsing Senator Clinton. By backhanded, I am referring to the notion that any attempts to not seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida can be boiled down to racial discrimination. The Michigan Democratic Party knew full and well that if they moved their primary before February 5th, their delegates would not be seated at the convention, but they did it anyway, thinking that they would be immune from the consequences. The MDP’s bravado and arrogance has effectively disenfranchised not just minorities who are Democrats, but all Democratic voters across Michigan.
If Bond truly wanted to speak up for minorities’ voting rights, he would have written a letter to the Michigan Democratic Party asking them to schedule a Democratic caucus so that Michigan’s delegates could have a seat at the Democratic National Convention.
You can find a copy of the letter here, http://www.politico.com/static/PPM43_080212_naacpletter.html
The major problem I have is that Bond (or Clinton) should have raised this issue long before it was painfully obvious that doing so would give a clear advantage to Clinton. You can’t change the rules in the middle of the game. It should be said Clinton agreed to not seating Michigan and Florida’s delegates before the campaign was underway.
And according to the rules, if there is no clear winner by the convention, who ever has the most delegates has the power to stack the credentials committee which will then have the power to either seat or not seat MI and FL delegates. Strategically, I see Clinton’s strategy as coming into the convention with less delegates than Obama but Obama won’t have enough to cinch the nomination. And if the margin of error is close enough, Clinton will claim that Obama’s refusal to seat MI and FL amounts to his disenfranchising the voters of these states.
Now if you ask me, that is some backhanded stuff and now she has the NAACP co-signing this nonsense? Clinton is on a dangerous road and even if she is successful in the strategy I just outlined, I guarantee she will lose in the general.