Reflections on the RBC outcome
by Jerome Armstrong, Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 01:17:53 AM EDT
I'm of mixed thoughts regarding the RBC outcome.
First, this needed an outcome, we got one, and whatever it is, it is. There is at least a sort of agreement on the amount of delegates needed to win the nomination between the two camps. There's no more pretending that only 48 states belong in the delegate count. To get that sham behind us is a big step in the right direction.
But second, the 'solution' for Michigan was the worst possible outcome of the three choices the RBC had to choose from in settling the matter. It's true, that the Obama supporters had more votes on the RBC, and that dictated the outcome.
Yes, that they halved the amount of FL and MI delegates, had a basis in the rules (though the pragmatic solution would have been to seat them all now instead of waiting till the convention and thus not have headlines like Hastings boycotting Democratic convention).
They had the votes to do the 50-50 split of MI, not recognizing the caucus. That decision would have had a basis in the rules.
They could have went with a 73-55 seating, giving Clinton the seats she got from actual votes, leaving the uncommitted delegates to go to Obama, which would have also had a basis in the rules.
They went instead with the MDP's 69-59 solution, which had no basis whatsoever in the rules.
In giving Clinton more delegates than Obama, the RBC does so on the basis of their being a vote in MI that Clinton won, yet by not honoring the amount of votes she got, they make not actual votes, but some other measurement the basis upon which to divide delegates. What measure would that be? Polling? The disenfranchised that didn't vote? Irrevocable harm? It's a disastrous precedent. Either it counts or it doesn't, where's the basis in the rules for this decision! And if its not rules, then what is it? If the actual "votes" factor into the decision, but are not at the top of the list, then what kind of democracy does this ruling represent?
No doubt, it was a pragmatic move, but one that was the worst choice to make by a committee devoted to rules. And even the pragmatics of it are suspect.
This decision needlessly gives the Clinton argument ammo, by taking away 4 delegates from votes she earned. Why? Obama, as far as I calculate it, needs about 10% of the remaining SD's for the nomination majority, 4 less PD's from MI would make the amount about 12%. Unless the Obama camp really doesn't know if they have the SD votes by a 1:9 margin, this makes no sense on their part to have had their supporters on the RBC go with this decision.
But its good to officially settle the number that counts 50 states.
2117 is the total. Obama needs 65, Clinton needs 240.5, to get a majority (Clinton supporters not recognizing the RBC's MI decision will argue that the numbers are really that Obama needs 82.5 and Clinton needs 238.5 with 22.5 others as uncommitted but it is highly doubtful that this ruling will be overturned).