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.

UPDATE 1:

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.

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6 responses to “NAACP Chairman Julian Bond endorses Clinton (basically)”

  1. Sakara R. says :

    Correct me if I’m wrong; but Michigan and Florida’s delegates were discounted because the DNC felt that changing the dates of the primaries was wrong. What, what, what does that have to do with race? Is it the opinion of Bond that the DNC did that because of the racial make up of the states. That the states did it because of race? Seriously? Is there a conspiracy here? And he’s doing that in the name of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People? No.Words.

    I think it’s dangerous and irresponsible. As a card-carrying member of the NAACP I don’t know what to say.

    If Bond felt that Republican’s or anyone else in either of those states was actively working to make certain they’d have no delegates to block the Black and Brown vote, that should have been brought to the surface and examined at the time; that’s what the NAACP is supposed to do. That’s something I’d expect to read about here, on the SuperSpade, particularly since at least 2 of you rep Michigan. Did I miss something?

  2. Brandon Q. says :

    Sakara, you are right. It has nothing to do with race and I think it patently dangerous to try to frame this issue in terms of racial injustice. Let me be clear, if Bond wants to endorse Clinton that is fine with me but at least be up front with it.

    You can find a copy of the letter here, http://www.politico.com/static/PPM43_080212_naacpletter.html

    Sakara, 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.

  3. Garlin II says :

    I see at least 6 problems here:

    1. The DNC is not consistent on how it applies election rules to each state. According to the rules, any/all primaries that pre-dated Super Tuesday (5 Feb 2008) are not allowed without special permission (what does that mean? More on that later.). That means that New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina should also not be counted. Apparently tradition and legacy allows the votes in New Hampshire to be counted, but there is no other explanation to accompany this invalid one. New Hampshire state law actually says that it must be “the first primary in the nation” and precede all other primaries by at least 7 days, which is interesting to me because their primary was scheduled for the 22nd (before Super Tuesday), and was moved up to the 8th in order to be 7 days before Michigan. I wonder if Michigan and/or Florida had such a law, would we be having this conversation? I also wonder why no retribution was taken against New Hampshire, even though they their moved their primary up (note that the Democratic Party threatened to do this, and did not).
    2. States apparently had to apply to get their primaries moved up before Super Tuesday. I wonder what the application process was and why only 2 of the 12 states that applied got accepted: South Carolina and Nevada. What makes said states so much different than Florida and Michigan that they should be given the freedom to move their primary date and other states cannot?
    3. All of the rule stupid-ness aside, the whole idea of disenfranchising voters as a result of party decisions is not only anti-democratic, but utterly criminal. The idea that a decision by the Democratic National Committee or the Michigan Democratic Party or Florida’s Democratic Party would strip any voter of their right to vote is inexcusable and indefensible. Parties are not constitutional entities, and should not be able to conceptually or practically take away voting rights. Voter suppression has been a Republican-driven movement for the past 20+ years, and seeing this from the Democratic Party makes me sick.
    4. It was absolutely horrible that any politician, let alone Democratic Presidential Candidate would sign off on not interacting with voters in any state and co-sign on their votes not counting. Further, it was stupid for them to take their names off of the ballot in Michigan. To do this is actively saying to a voter that a party is more important to a voter. That is the tipping point towards the fall away from democracy and into fascism the day something like that happens. Clinton, Obama, and everyone else should have been like Dennis Kucinich and not signed off on this nonsense. Clinton, however, should not have backed off of her commitment, since I don’t really buy that she’s doing this because she cares about the voters.
    5. If the goal was to “play by party rules,” why were the people whose names did not appear on the Michigan ballot left on the Florida ballot? That makes no sense to me. This inconsistency, modeled by the Democratic Party rules and furthered by the candidates, is deplorable. Obama should have had his name off of both ballots if he really, truly wanted to be consistent on this matter.
    6. B, I disagree that the proper course of action for Bond or anyone is to write the Michigan Democratic Party and ask them to have a caucus. Why should a caucus happen and not another primary in Michigan? Why should voters do something different because the parties and the candidates did something stupid? Again, it is the voters that are being punished here, despite their doing nothing but their civic duties.
  4. Sakara R. says :

    One Love and B.,

    This info is extremely helpful, as I’m working to inform some folks about what is going on. I especially appreciate the link to Bond’s letter and the breakdown of inconsistencies on behalf of the DNC.

    So, what do ya’ll plan to do with this? (smile)…

    Seriously though, I am disgusted by this latest move.

  5. Clarence says :

    So, before I get into some of Garlin’s arguments let me just say this. I think it is important that we remember that the DNC and RNC are nothing more than organized political parties, and can essentially govern themselves in however they see fit. If you don’t like their rules, don’t vote for candidates of that party, or don’t run as a member of that party. Any of the candidates, if they were so appalled at the rules of the DNC could have disassociated themselves from the party and run as an independent. The DNC has its rules, and the rules have always been just that. There has always been grumblings over the special status of NH and Iowa, and so to satisfy that the party agreed to take applications from other states to be considered for having their primaries within the special pre-Feb. 5th slot. Nevada and South Carolina were selected for several reasons, the chief among them being the relatively high Hispanic population in the former, and Black population in the latter.

    If we were really going to be “fair” all primaries would be on the same day, and it would essentially be like a national election. However, that has some drawbacks for both the parties and the candidates, and again, a party is under no obligation to name its nominee in any particular way. The DNC could throw names in a hat and pick one if it wants to, but those are not the rules it outlined and it would be stupid, but there would be nothing criminal about it (the supreme court has no jurisdiction over this).

    So, after these new states were selected, other states got upset about this, and wanted to test the DNC and the RNC in some senses, said, “well, we don’t care what you say, we’re just gonna do this anyway.” Now, for those of you who somehow think the states have a right to do this, imagine if all of sudden Michigan decided it wanted to hold its general election on September 2nd instead of November? Anarchy would ensue unless there was some strict punishment that was levied. Well, guess what, the DNC levied that punishment. Mind you, the Legislatures (Republican controlled) in Michigan and Florida knew full well that they would be punished for this, and this is precisely where the blame is at, no further than that, and that is who should have been held accountable. What pisses me off is that nobody said s#&t about this when it took place back in AUGUST. Now that the inevitable candidate isn’t so inevitable anymore, people are coming out of the woodworks and flailing away. It’s all very disingenuous to me.

    I think the notion that the “parties and candidates did something stupid” is off base. As an employee at company X (and the democratic candidates can essentially be thought of in a real sense as “employees” of the DNC), if you don’t like company policy you either keep working for the company and bare it, or you leave. No one chose to leave, which they all had the option to do. But the DNC absolutely HAD to keep some order, and this was they only way they could do it. Had they not, we would have been voting in July of last year.

    As far as politicians signing off on this or not, they all did it, which is why none of them campaigned in those states. Kucinich actually tried to pull his name off the Michigan ballot also, but did it to late, so it was left on. Michigan had a provision to allow the candidates to take their name off the ballot, Florida did not have such a provision, and thus all the candidates had to keep their name on the ballot. And, outside of all of that, given that the delegates were not going to count, any way u slice it, it was simply a smart political move for the others to take their name off the ballot.

    I say all this to say. The rules are what they are. They were set at the beginning of the game this year. To try to change them in the middle, because the golden child isn’t so golden anymore is utterly bullshit. Where was Mr. Bond in August?

  6. Brandon Q. says :

    Garlin,
    Clarence made many of my points as to why Obama’s name was on in FL but not in MI. As to the redo contest, I think that MI should have a new caucus and here’s why.
    Primaries are financed by taxpayers and caucuses are financed by state parties. Michigan’s primary cost ALL Michigan taxpayers roughly $10 million dollars in a state that has the worst economy in the country. Another primary is tantamount to Detroit taxpayers paying for Kwame’s misdeeds. It is not right.
    I have read that the DNC is open to the idea of helping fund a caucus whose results would be honored and it’s not like MI doesn’t know how to hold a caucus.
    I don’t get the idea that it would be unfair to have a new round of contests. There was no real contest and if we are content to having contests when people don’t have to campaign, we could just have elections via elections. It is honestly not even an Obama v Hillary argument. Fairness must be the overarching value that governs what to do with MI and FL and refusing to have a caucus smacks in the face of fairness.

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