Thursday, May 01, 2008

All The Way To Denver

In a prior post, I had lamented the current system of around-the-clock campaigning for the Presidency due to the primary structure of both political parties. Longing for contentious conventions and multiple ballots and slates of names for the nomination appeared to be exciting and energizing to the process.

It would appear that the Democrats are not far removed from that occurrence which would fulfill my romantic dream of what a convention ought to be. However, that idealized convention was not to be preceded by months and months of speeches, campaign ads, fundraising and mud-slinging between the candidates. Alas, that would happen most likely in any event where the primary process was in place or not as each candidate would jockey for position at the convention.

Forgetting the abstract, wished-for state, the current tangle that Senators Clinton and Obama face now has compelled commentators to suggest that it is ruining the party's chances in November. That might be a possibility but given the attitudes of most Democrats to Independents, they are not eagerly awaiting a Republican candidate to sweep them off their electoral feet. What could be more poisonous is a convention that switches the public's choice. For all the effort placed into the primary system to let voters decide who the best candidate is only to have a convention switch the platter being served up in November could spell disaster.

More of an insult to the process were the states of Michigan and Florida moving up their primary to make their delegations more important to the convention under the presumption (accurate at the time by most who would make a prediction about such things) that the nominations would be sewn up by the time the candidates arrived in their respective states to campaign based on prior election years. The Democratic Party issued the ultimatum that it would not accept either delegation if it continued on the early path and followed through on that threat. It may be likely that Sen. Clinton would have won both states by a margin of 5% or so given her record so far in larger states but that is not a certainty. To be sure, she ran against no other opponent and left her name on the ballot purposely which had the Obama campaign actively ask voters to select "none of the above" on their ballots. Clinton's counting of these states is a smokescreen of support for her candidacy. Just the same, it happened and is part of the issue.

What is slightly odd on this is that the last primary is June 3rd of Montana and South Dakota. That will wrap up all the pledged delegates to the convention. Terry McAuliffe was quoted by David Corn that they would be fighting for the nomination all the way to "June 15th." Of course the Clinton campaign manager would confidently say that his candidate would be the winner by then, but waiting 12 days after the final primary election leaves a lot of wiggling on the super delegate front. Curious to see what their campaign might do during that period.

Denver could be a fun spot to be in come the end of August.