Never Forget May 31 2008

The Majority United
for Women’s Equality, Laws and Rights

  Remember what the RBC did to Democracy on 5/31/08 

Contributed by: Ricki Lieberman

Just a year ago, many of us were in Washington to bear witness and express strong opposition to the disgraceful action of the Democratic National Committee in formally disenfranchising the voters of Michigan and Florida, and throwing the nomination to Obama.  No matter the maneuverings of Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Donna Brazile and others on the Rules and Bylaws Committee (DNC/RBC), the momentum was clearly with candidate Clinton as evidenced by her string of victories in the major primaries during March, April and May.  But the outcome was rigged long before the RBC meeting on May 31 in DC, even though Hillary was the electable candidate.                                                                                                                                      

A year ago:

1) HRC led in the popular vote with nearly 18 million primary votes,

2) HRC won in the states – sometimes with double digits – that Democrats needed to win the Electoral College in the General Election,
3) The trend since late February suggested voters buyer’s remorse in spite of the national leadership clearly preferring Obama, and
4) HRC led decisively in the polls in the blue and swing states against McCain while Obama tied or trailed.

We tend to forget, but the polls, up to about 6 weeks before the November election, were a statistical dead heat between Obama and McCain.  Only when the implications of Sarah Palin’s selection as VP became clear, and with the disastrous collapse of the economy, was Obama’s election secured.

Here are a few of the notes and comments from those days of COUNT EVERY VOTE, leading up to Suspending Not Ending, Together4Us, WomenCount, the Electability Watch, and The 300. 

May 31, 2008 – COUNT THE VOTE Rally, and
A Disappointing Day for Democracy


1. May 31, 2008 – COUNT THE VOTE Rally, and A Disappointing Day for Democracy

The decisions of the DNC/RCB, as odious as they may be, and as embarrassing as the process was, nonetheless advantage Senator Clinton’s campaign by ‘legitimizing’ the popular vote, giving her a clear lead…

To the many of you who wrote in support of the COUNT EVERY VOTE RALLY, we in DC felt your presence and enthusiasm.  The rally was truly an historic gathering, focusing sharply on the fundamental democratic value of one person one vote, and the hubris of a body which was willing to toy with this principle.  Representatives of 33 states came to bear witness to the deliberations of the RCB, a previously little known committee, a majority of whose members were prepared to deny the franchise to two states key to victory in the November election.  Wacky?  Seems that way.

Alice Huffman, in making her motion to fully count the Florida delegates as voted, twice referenced the many emails and communications she received to COUNT EVERY VOTE and how much they spoke to her about the depth of her responsibility to do so.  Even though her motion was defeated by a vote of 15 to 12, she made an important statement about the influence you all have had in trying to get a fair shake for the millions of voters in Florida and Michigan the DNC was willing to punish harshly for the inconsistent application of its own rules.

This was particularly apparent in the proposal to distribute the Michigan delegate results 69 – 55 rather than 73 – 55.  Not only does this deny four earned delegates to Clinton, but as Harold Ickes said, presumed to substitute the judgment of the RCB for votes cast by 600,000 Michigan voters.  Chutzpah and arrogance, indeed!

So, we have to keep the pressure on.  The super delegates must understand the consequences of going against electability.  We cannot afford to lose a third consecutive Presidential election which we should win.  Until they actually cast a vote in Denver at the Democratic National Convention, they can experience a change of mind if they prematurely selected BO, and all the Super Delegates must be encouraged to support Senator Clinton as the electable nominee.

GO GO GO!!!  

 2. JUNE 1 NOTE FROM A HRC DELEGATE who wrote:  

“Ickes had a conf call last night for delegates.  In addition to Hillary delegates, uncommitted super-d’s (300+) were also invited on the call, most of which he used to make the case for their endorsement of Hillary.  Simply put — all the reasons why she is the best candidate to beat McCain.  (Not to put down Obama, he said — he has a brilliant political future, but Hillary is the best candidate this time.)  He asked that the SuperD’s reserve their endorsement at least until Tuesday, by which time H will have a strong lead in the popular vote.  It was a good call, with pledged delegates speaking up during the Q&A to add their thoughts on why Hillary is the right candidate to endorse.

Clearly now is the time to write to Super D’s who remain uncommitted, and to write to those who are committed to Hillary and encourage them to stay with us once the primaries are over.  The next few days are critical.”

3. June 3: When Hillary won South Dakota last night, she won all the states of Obama’s biggest power broker supporters:

California – Nancy Pelosi
Massachusetts – John Kerry & Ted Kennedy
Nevada – Harry Reid
South Dakota – Tom Daschle

4. Vote by Numbers 
NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON  June 6, 2008 NY Times

It appears that Hillary Clinton is going to suspend her presidential campaign this weekend, at the urging of Democratic Party leaders and super-delegates.  Before that happens, Mrs. Clinton and the super-delegates might want to know this: if the general election were held today, Barack Obama would lose to John McCain, while Mr. McCain would lose to Mrs. Clinton.

This is confirmed by the primary results.  Hillary had been the strongest candidate from March 4th on.  Hillary won nine out of the last 15 primaries and won 458 out of the 867 pledged delegates.   Hillary’s most significant win came on June 3 in South Dakota, the last day of the primary season. The primary was only open to Democrats and Hillary won pulling an upset. Democrats voted for Hillary by a 10 point margin even though they knew that Obama was going to be the nominee. They were sending a message to the Democratic Party that they did not want  Obama as the party nominee.

Also Hillary was stronger in the polls v. McCain than Obama.

At this point the Super Delegates, as the so-called wise men of the party, should have supported Clinton who was clearly their strongest candidate.  However, the Super Delegates abdicated their responsibility and supported Obama.  As a result the Democrats have not nominated their strongest candidate.

 5. Moretta Bosley, Kentucky  “Thank you for your message.  I am a super delegate pledged to support Hillary Clinton.  I am doing everything in my power to get her elected.  I will stay with her until she releases her delegates.  I am receiving 40 to 50 e-mails daily in support of Hillary.  I try to answer them all if only briefly.  If every delegate reads and pays attention to the letters that I am receiving, it should bring them over to Hillary’s side.  Thank you for your work on behalf of Hillary Clinton.” 

 6. “It’s really, really hard having a woman who was so strong a candidate not get it. This was our best shot,” said Marjorie Horne. “I’ll support Sen. Obama but with a heavy heart.”   

7. GLORIA STEINEM: “The media was in love with Obama, and in hate with Hillary, hands down.” 

Her campaign was messy, and it made some fatal tactical errors. But nobody who sent her a donation could accuse her of not giving them their money’s worth.   For all her vaunting ambition, she was never a candidate who ran for president just because it’s the presidency.  She thought about winning in terms of the things she could accomplish, and she never forgot the women’s issues she had championed all her life — repair of the social safety net, children’s rights, support for working mothers.