In a blow to Hillary Clinton’s hopes for overtaking Barack Obama in the Democratic nomination fight, Democratic officials in Florida and Michigan this week all but ruled out conducting new primaries. Both states were stripped of their Democratic convention delegates last year for moving up their primaries, and they have been scrambling to figure out a way to manage and pay for revotes. But Florida Democratic officials announced that they had dropped plans for a write-in primary because of intense statewide opposition. Michigan Democrats also were on the verge of abandoning efforts for a revote, as officials there raised new questions about both its costs and legalities.
Clinton has been pushing for new elections in Michigan and Florida, hoping to close her delegate and popular-vote gap in order to bolster her argument to superdelegates that she is the more viable candidate in the general election. Neither candidate campaigned in Michigan or Florida, and Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan. But Clinton won both contests, and as the race has tightened, she has been arguing that refusing to seat the delegates would be unfair to Michigan and Florida voters.
“Clinton’s time—and options—are running out fast,” said Mark Halperin in Time.com. Florida was her last, best shot at closing the pledged delegate gap. Now she faces the daunting task of persuading superdelegates to override the judgment of a majority of Democratic voters. “The Obama campaign has cleverly slow-walked the debate over the Florida and Michigan primaries, knowing that the clock is on their side.”
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Still, the party is in a terrible bind, said David Shribman in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The fight is so close, so emotional, so raw,” and to cap it off, it is virtually certain to be ultimately decided by the 800 superdelegates—party and elected officials who can vote however they want. That means that in the end, one of the party’s most important constituencies—blacks or women—is going to be “really, really upset.” And that spells trouble for the Democrats in the fall campaign.
Nothing would be worse for the party than this thing dragging out until the August convention, said Democratic Gov. Philip Bredesen of Tennessee, an uncommitted superdelegate, in The New York Times. That would only mean “a summer of growing polarization” and “lost opportunities.” So I am proposing that all superdelegates come together for a special primary in June. We can then cast our votes, make it clear who the nominee is, and “get on with the business of electing a president.”
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