This Just Makes Me Sick

This isn’t a “Bush Sucks” entry, but consider the icon to apply to politics as a whole. I am not well-versed in politics, so this whole thing may be utter crap – and if it is, please tell me so. Help me to learn and to understand why this is not a clusterfuck, or if I’ve got the right idea but the wrong reasoning.

This has been on my mind for quite awhile, but I’ve been focused elsewhere. Tonight, reading a link from the Stilyagi list, I read the article from group member Larry Kestenbaum and that pretty much broke me. I have to say something.

As many of you know, in a slow-moving train wreck, Michigan has moved up its Presidential primary election to January 15. Officials made the move ostensibly to make Michigan’s primary election outcome “more relevant.” The battle has been long and I feel haggard after having watched it. It’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen.

Instead of “making Michigan more relevant,” they have made Michigan completely irrelevant. We’ve been stripped of our Democratic delegates entirely, and our Republican delegates have been halved. How flipping relevant are we now?! We have 156 delegates, a not insignificant number. So now what? We hope that the media attention our election gets will influence other states’ elections?

Michigan is a state that both parties have taken reasonably seriously over the years; with our auto-making industry and other important sectors, Michigan has been an important state to win. With our economy in the trash and businesses leaving town as if they are on fire, is this really the time to go mucking about with our political relevance? Seriously, I’m asking – is it the perfect time or the worst time?

Granted, I think the electoral college is complete bullshit. Its era has come and gone – we need a straight popular vote to avoid the types of debacles we’ve seen in recent times. [See comments for some really good discussions of the electoral college] However, I also don’t want to start having primary elections before Christmas, so I understand that there needs to be some sort of cap on the earliest possible date.

One of the most vexing problems is that now I can’t even vote for my candidate of choice, Barack Obama, in the primary because he withdrew due to pressure from the states whose primaries we’re trodding upon, Iowa and New Hampshire.

I’ve still got Hillary to vote for, but good grief – I don’t really want to. If she wins the nomination, I’ll vote for her … but once again, it would be voting for the lesser of two evils, rather than for someone I’m really excited about.

Also, I feel rather strongly that two families should not have a stranglehold on our highest office. If Hillary is elected and serves out her full term, maybe even two… think back to how long it will have been since a Clinton or a Bush was not in the Oval Office.

One of my Senators, Carl Levin, had this to say:

“The threat not to seat the delegates of Michigan and Florida at the Democratic convention is a hollow threat. They will be seated, and when they are, it will be plain for all to see that the privileged position that New Hampshire and Iowa have extracted through threats and pledges from candidates is on its last legs.”

Of course the Senator is far wiser in the ways of politics than I am, and perhaps our delegates will be seated. However, as Larry Kestenbaum notes in the article below, neither hotel rooms nor floor space are reserved for them at the convention.

Everyone wants to be first.

What. The. Fuck? Why the pissing contest? Is a failed attempt at relevance actually worth this punishment?

If Senator Levin, a man I’ve long respected, is correct, and this is a battle mainly to uproot the status quo, then I’m a little less annoyed by it; however, I can’t help but see it as anything but bad news.

Debbie Dingell, a DNC member from Michigan, said (from the same article as Levin,) “Michigan will pull together. We know how to fight.” Yeah. We know how to fight amongst ourselves. Our state representatives are fan-freaking-tastic at in-fighting. Our unions and companies know how to trade body-blows. But this is the damn Presidential election! Have we not learned yet what happens when we have the slightest screw-up during this process?

Am I missing the whole point of this rebellion? tlatoani, help me out here.

Larry Kestenbaum, Washtenaw Clerck/Register (and just a heck of a nice guy with a brain weighing more than you and I put together) wrote an informative article about what’s going to happen with the primary. Unfortunately, and I would imagine, due to his position, he cannot speak extensively about what the pros and cons of this outcome are. Instead, he concludes with this: “We election officials aren’t happy with this state of affairs, but it’s our job to conduct the election according to law.”

Who is happy with this state of affairs?

Who wins?

Not Michigan.

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