Democrats and Florida

The Miami Herald reports that Democrats are nowhere close to resolving the dilemma on what to do about having Florida’s votes count in the nomination process:

As the Florida Democratic Party gets ready to decide Monday whether to pull the plug on a long-shot bid to restage the state’s presidential primary by mail, it faces a larger question: Is there a Plan B?

Democrats say there are a few options — though none that the state party controls — to give the state’s voters a voice in picking the Democratic presidential nominee. Most of them, though, have as many political flaws as the technical hurdles involved in mailing ballots to the state’s 4.1 million Democrats.

For starters, Democrats are hoping for a negotiated settlement between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. But with both candidates casting for every delegate, neither is likely to accept a compromise that would give a rival an edge.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, a Clinton ally who backs voting by mail but acknowledges its lack of popularity, has floated a second compromise: Strip Florida of half its delegates and assign the remaining ones to the two candidates based on the Jan. 29 presidential primary, which favored Clinton. A spokesman for Nelson said the idea has morphed into giving each of Florida’s delegates a half vote.

But over the weekend Clinton’s campaign tossed cold water on the proposal, which would cut her delegate haul in half.

”The 2.5 million people [in Michigan and Florida] who voted deserve to be counted,” Clinton said Saturday, signaling her support for a re-do in Michigan, which like Florida violated national party rules by holding an early primary. “If it were my preference, we’d count their votes, but if not, then they should have the opportunity to have a full-fledged primary waged for them and revote.”

Tom Bevan at RCP lays out the Clinton strategy:

Clinton won’t be able to close the gap with Obama in pledged delegates, but she may be able to overtake him in the popular vote with victories in Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and revotes in Michigan and Florida. That would give her a legitimate claim to the nomination and would be a persuasive argument to put to the superdelegates – especially if over the course of the next few weeks of campaigning Obama starts to look like damaged goods with Wright, Rezko, and a continued pounding from Clinton on national security.

This would be the ultimate nightmare scenario for the Dems: a massive food fight on the floor of the convention in Denver with half the party supporting a candidate who won more pledged delegates and more states, and half the party supporting a candidate who won more popular votes. And, ironically enough, Clinton’s argument in Denver may be stronger if Obama is the one who refuses to assent to revotes in Florida and Michigan.

That toast slathered with a healthy amount of schadenfreude this morning tastes soo good. Coffee, anyone? ~o)

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