Monday, February 11, 2008

If you are a Democrat in Michigan, please read this

I usually try not to go on political rants here, but today is the day that, had the Michigan Democratic Party not screwed it up, I would have been able to vote for my chosen presidential candidate. As it is, I went to the polls in January and my vote counted for nothing since the Michigan delegates to the Democratic Convention won't be seated.

So today I am writing and e-mailing prominent Democrats to urge them to schedule a state caucus and to reinfranchise the Michigan Democratic voters. Yes, they do have the ability to schedule a caucus and use the results of the caucus, rather than the fiasco primary, to send legitimate candidates to the convention. The DNC wants them to do this. But guess what is getting in the way? The egos of the people who decided on the January primary in the first place.

If you'd like a little more info about this mess here are a few recommendations:
  • Article by the Associate Press in the Boston Globe (may require free registration)
  • The first hour of Monday, Feb 12th Diane Rehm show on NPR
  • Unfortunately a good Wall Street Journal Article is now only available to paid subscribers but if you happen to be one, go here to read it.
  • An "Other Voices" column in the Ann Arbor News ran today. It is a bit more anti-Hillary than I'd like since I think that the failed primary disenfranchised these voters too, but lots of sentiments and the frustration level are right on.
If you have other good sources of on-line info, please leave the link in the comments section and I'll try to update this list.

I've copied in the letter I intend to send below, and I urge you to copy whatever parts of the letter you like or write your own letter and send it to the prominent Democrats who could fix this problem.

These are the people to whom I'm sending this letter (contact information for each of them is listed below the letter):

Mark Brewer, Michigan Democratic Party Chairman
Governor Jennifer Granholm
US Senator Carl Levin
US Senator Debbie Stabenow
US Representative John Dingell
(my rep)
State Senator Liz Brater (who is my state Senator)
State Representative Rebekah Warren (who is my state Rep.)
Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee
Debbie Dingell (an MDPC spokesperson who has been vocal in support of the failed January primary and in her assertion that she thinks Michigan's delegates from the fiasco primary will be seated at the national convention)

If you can think of anyone else I should be contacting, again, please let me know in the comments section.

And to State Senator Tupac Hunter, who has already publicly called for a Democratic Caucus to be scheduled, I plan to write a letter of thanks.


Dear ____,

I am writing to you today to urge you to support scheduling a Michigan Democratic Caucus to select a presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.

The point of the January primary was to bring attention to Michigan’s unique issues from candidates. Clearly that policy backfired, with no candidate except Dennis Kucinich campaigning in our state and with the absurd predicament of 40% of voters claiming they were “uncommitted” when really the name of the candidate they supported was not on the ballot. Instead, Michigan’s Democratic primary has become a bad joke and a show of incompetence.

Recently, there have been articles in the Wall Street Journal (2/9/08), discussions on NPR’s Diane Rehm show (2/11/08), and most importantly, discussions among the Democratic voters in the state about reinfranchising the Michigan Democratic voter. Scheduling a Michigan Democratic Caucus in the coming months will serve the purpose that was initially intended by the early primary—all eyes will be on Michigan if there is a caucus, Clinton and Obama will campaign in our state and address our unique (particularly economic) issues, and Michigan could play a pivotal role in deciding the next President of the United States. I can’t think of a better way to put Michigan and our issues at center stage.

This will also eliminate what I think is an even graver issue—squabbling at the Democratic National Convention about whether or not to seat Michigan’s (and Florida’s) delegates. I believe that if this happens, it will not reflect well on our party and will present to the world the image of a party that can’t get along. This will not improve the opinion of undecided voters and could alienate loyal Democrats as well.

It will require some courage to stand up and admit that a mistake was made in holding the primary in January. I don’t think anyone likes to admit they made a wrong decision, much less prominent politicians. But I believe that the Democratic voters of this state will feel such a sense of relief that they will support any politician who has the guts to do this. I also believe that the DNC could ease this problem and allow these politicians to maintain their dignity with a show of enthusiastic support for the caucus idea and for the leaders who stand up and call for it.

I honestly don’t think it matters which candidate you support; if you support Clinton or Obama, you want your vote and your delegates to count. I think the stakes are higher for Obama supporters since his name was not even on the ballot, but I think Clinton supporters would prefer to re-vote in a caucus than to have their vote for their candidate seem illegitimate.

I have a wide circle of friends who traditionally vote Democratic and all of them have expressed frustration with our disenfranchisement in the January primary. I would be an enthusiastic caucus goer if given the opportunity, not resentful that I have to take the time to vote (again), but relieved that my vote will finally count.

I urge you to publicly support and call for a Democratic Presidential Caucus.


Kate Remen-Wait
817 W Summit St
Ann Arbor MI 48103


Mark Brewer, Michigan Democratic Party Chairman
606 Townsend St.
Lansing MI 48933

Governor Jennifer Granholm
Governor's Office
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing MI 48909

US Senator Carl Levin
(because of security issues, it takes 1-2 months for a Senator to get a letter--much better to contact them by e-mail)

US Senator Debbie Stabenow
(because of security issues, it takes 1-2 months for a Senator to get a letter--much better to contact them by e-mail)

US Representative John Dingell
(because of security issues, it takes 1-2 months for a Representative to get a letter--much better to contact them by e-mail)

State Senator Liz Brater
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing MI 48909-7536

State Representative Rebekah Warren
House Office Building
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing MI 48909-7514

Howard Dean
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St.SE
Washington DC 20003

Debbie Dingell
19855 W. Outer Dr.
Suite 103A-E
Dearborn, MI 48124

Thank you letters can go to:
State Sen. Tupac Hunter
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing MI 48909-7536


Mary Jean Babic said...

I hope the caucus prevails; it's really a shame how things got screwed up in Michigan. Not to defend the Michigan Dems, because they disenfranchised voters, but I'll fault the national party, too, for getting into a needless snit. The primary system is already so stupid, and while it may be tradition for Iowa, NH and SC's to go early, it's all just arbitrary, so what would it have hurt to have a few earlier primaries? In the end, isn't it all about electing Democrats?

For what it's worth, I don't think my vote was counted either. We were out of town on Feb. 5, New York's primary (Super Tuesday), so we voted absentee. Turns out (maybe people knew this, but I didn't) that if the vote isn't close, they don't even open the absentee ballots, and I think HRC won by enough here that I'm guessing my ballot went straight into the shredder. Ah well.

Jodi said...

Bravo. We needed this.

Anonymous said...

Try this link to directly contact to the michigan democratic party

Sarah said...

Brian sent some letters last week but I didn't so i'm going to use yours. Thanks. I also passed on this site to others. Thanks for doing the work.

Nancy Lindquist-Liedel said...

My understanding is that the delegates will probably be seated at the national convention, but what a bunch of dorks our state government is! I cannot believe they did this. For what? My candidate is gone now and I feel sick about it.

Anonymous said...

The democratic election is going to come down to super delegates. Go tot his link to see a lsit of the delgates. If you still want to influence the election this where to start

Kate said...

I agree it'll come down to Super delegates, but I think the Florida and Michigan delegates (and their super delegates) will also play a role. I don't think a caucus would decide the presidential nominee, though it could incrementally help one or the other candidate. But I do think a caucus would legitimize the delegates from these states so there is no argument about whether to seat them or not, reinstate our super delegates, and reinfranchise the voters. I'm not advocating a caucus so much in favor of one candidate or another, but in favor of party unity and legitimacy. I think no matter who your candidate is, you should be pissed off with how the primary was run.

Sarah said...

Maybe CC some press too on your letter? CNN & Detroit press? Or maybe you are through with it all . . .

Shayne said...

thank you for all this great info.