Thursday, March 13, 2008

Jason proposes a solution for the FL and MI Democratic primary clusterfuck

Okay, I'm taking an incredibly rare diversion to (sorta) talk about politics. I've tried to keep politics out of this blog, but if you're a regular reader (or know me), you can probably guess my politics.

I should be clear, I am an independent. I am registered with no party (not even a third party). I have voted Democratic before, I've voted Republican before, and I've voted third party before (even Alaskan Independence Party, but I swear I was drunk at the time). So there's absolutely no reason the Democratic Party should listen to anything I say (at least about their internal nomination processes). I should also be clear that I believe the First Amendment right to assembly gives them free reign to choose their candidate however they want. If they want to use a dartboard, I have no complaint about that (although I think it'd make them a joke in November).

I'll also say that I'm not outright opposed to a "do-over" be it with caucuses, a new primary, mail-in voting. I'd be worried about the cost and the precedent, but that shouldn't prevent the Democrats from doing the right thing.

So, with all that said, here's my proposal for Florida and Michigan. Allow their delegates (or a fraction thereof, I see some sense in the Republican solution to seat half their delegation) to vote at the convention, but make them all unpledged delegates. There's a little myth that so-called superdelegates can vote for whoever they want but the pledged delegates must vote for the candidate they're pledged to. In fact, there's nothing legally requiring the pledged delegates to vote for anyone. They're "pledged" by virtue of a super-duper-pinkie-swear promise, and nothing else.

But releasing them from their pledge is only half my solution. The other half is to publicize--online and in local papers--the identities and contact information of all delegates, and encourage citizens to privately petition them to vote certain ways. Obviously bribery and threats would still be illegal, but this would allow people (at least, the people who can get off their ass and write an e-mail or make a phone call) to have their say. And if a delegate doesn't want that kind of attention, he or she can decline to be a delegate and be replaced with someone who is willing to take on the task.

I'm sure there are many, many things wrong with this plan. What are they?
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