March 20th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer: Would a re-vote be that difficult?

 Re-votes in Michigan and Florida appear increasingly unlikely.

Re-votes in Michigan and Florida appear increasingly unlikely.

(CNN) - It’s too bad that Michigan and Florida don’t seem to be able to get their acts together to have Democratic presidential primary re-votes in early June.

For those of us who cover politics, it would have been very exciting to see two more fiercely fought primaries in two critically important states.

But more importantly, it will be a pity for all those millions of Democratic voters in those states if their delegates wind up having no say in the selection of their party’s presidential nominee at the party convention in Denver at the end of the summer. And the ramifications for the party from that could be very significant in November.

The Democrats in Michigan and Florida lost their delegates because they moved up their primaries to January against Democratic Party rules.

Some of those frustrated Democratic voters will walk away from this process with an awful taste in their mouths. And it’s possible that could convince some of them to actually vote for John McCain or Ralph Nader in the fall or simply stay home and not vote at all. At least, that’s what some of those voters are telling reporters and pollsters now.

There is still time for the Democratic National Committee and the presidential campaigns to work out some other compromise that allows the delegates to be seated without having make-over primaries. Indeed, I still suspect something along these lines will occur.

But I still don’t understand why it became so complicated to organize these make-over primaries. The actual ballot would have been rather simple – you could vote for Clinton or Obama. Put an X in front of your candidate. How difficult is that?

- Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    Yes, having a re-do would really be "that difficult". It will set a precedent for people who don't follow the rules to be able to cry foul and get their way. The people of Michigan and Florida should have been crying disenfranchisement back before the primary, not now.

    March 20, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  2. clarity

    For once Wolf, you're on the money.
    Although it's not because of Florida or Michigan...
    I think it's a question that should be squarely put to Obama.
    Why has he stalled the process and stood in the way of a re-vote?

    March 20, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. Jerry, Adams Center, NY

    I beleive it unfair to the American citizens of Florida and Michigan for thier votes not be counted. It is the fault of higher government that these citizens vote will not count, the higher government needs to figure it out and have every vote count from all 50 states. It is a right to vote and higher government has taken it away, give it back and let Florida and Michigan be heard, they have a voice too. It is the right thing to do America.
    Sergeant Major Jerry Finin

    March 20, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  4. Vincent Smith

    I'm so tired of hearing about this I had to respond. I understand that it's the conflict that brings in the news revenue but this is ridiculous. As part of the best political team in the nation" I expected more. Let's take away the spin and focus on the facts. The DNC set the rules (and penalties for Florida & Michigan) before the first vote was cast. Any midstream rule changes render the entire nomination process bogus and will have devastating consequences to the eventual Democratic nominee. Changing the rules midstream will only benefit one candidate (coincidentally the person screaming loudest for the rule change). If it's all about disenfranchised voters, why not just split them 50/50, seat the delegates and call it a day? Why is that unacceptable to the Clinton campaign, because you, I and everyone else can see this for what it is, a way to deliver the nomination to the Clinton campaign. Pure and simple. You know, I was always taught "it doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game". When did that stop being true? Now I understand the news is just like any other business so from a "business" perspective, which scenario has the better long term advantage; a nominee presented under dubious circumstances with a fractured party and a general election route, or a general election with both parties united behind their candidate and it's neck and neck? Seems like the more profitable option is for a "fair" election that goes to November.

    March 20, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  5. JC

    I hate to say this, but it seems a re-vote is nearly impossible without making a bigger mess than it is.
    How am I going to trust these people to manage our country?

    March 20, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  6. JFK

    A re-vote should not be that difficult but if we wanted to avoid this mess, the Democratic party should have allowed either a proportion or all of the delegates be allotted. Otherwise, what was the point of the primaries to send out voters to polling places. Yes, those out there will point out it was decided ahead of time and everyone knew the rules, but why then hold primaries then to begin with? What a waste time and money for everyone. Now it takes an army of people to figure this debacle out! This like sending 5 people to screw in a light bulb!

    March 20, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  7. Tony From Michigan

    You apparently haven't spent the required 5 minutes in Michigan to see how screwed up this state really is. Thats why a lot Michiganders are Independents like me. Expecting our Senate, House, and Governor to get something this simple (that they messed up) fixed is insane. Clinton only would like a new election if only her supporters could vote in.

    March 20, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  8. Kathy, Andover


    March 20, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  9. Jen

    Sorry Michigan and Florida...

    Obama will only let your vote count if they are for him. The tyrannical rule begins!

    March 20, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  10. maynard

    this goes against all principles. both states knew what the rules were, now they want rules changed,.......well leave it alone and stop the crying.move on and forget about this once and for all.

    March 20, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  11. MinOR

    "Election by election, state by stae, precinct by precinct, door by door, vote by vote...we're going to lift our party up and take this country back for the people who built it."

    Governer Howard Dean

    I guess he forgot to say “except Florida and Michigan voters” when he made that statement.


    March 20, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  12. Kris

    Absoutely Wolf! many of us out here in the real world do not understand it either. For crying out loud, set up the polling places, let people come in like they always do, give them a piece of paper, have them write in the name of their chosen candidate or check it off as you suggest, and then count them. This is rediculous, and it's a disgrace in this country, the greatest democracy in the world, that we cannot make this happen. By gosh, the good folks in Iraq can run an election better than we can!

    March 20, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  13. Rob

    I couldn't agree more. However, I'm not too sure it's Michigan's "act" that needed to get together, Wolf. Obama does not want a revote for Michigan, as the pathetic memo released yesterday indicated. I read it and it makes zero sense to me. "too complicated", "a first"...appalling.

    While everyone allows Obama to question Clinton's motivations for supporting Michigan and Florida, why doesn't anyone ask why Obama isn't gunning for a revote and instead is actively suppressing these States' say in this process!

    As for the "rules is rules" card. Are you kidding? Does anyone even take that "defense" seriously?

    March 20, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  14. Goodheart

    No. I re-vote would not be that difficult, especially with private financing available. Howard Dean should do his job and take charge to get this done.

    March 20, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  15. writer28

    We wouldn't be at this point if Michigan and Florida's top Democrats had just left well enough alone and had their primaries when they were supposed to. Greed put them in this position. New primaries would be difficult to do properly with what little time is left before the convention. CNN has probably reported on what the problems would be and now you're rehashing this again? Why?

    I'm from Michigan and I voted in the primary. I voted 'uncommitted' and I'm satisfied that my vote counted. It DID count, because I marked a ballot and it was counted. Plain and simple in my opinion. It looks like a 50/50 split is going to be the only solution to this mess. And, the superdelegates still have to vote.

    March 20, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  16. Betsy

    I agree whole-heartedly Mr. Blitzer.

    Why is it so hard? There is a heafty cost to redo the primaries, but like you said in one of your other columns, that will be offset by all of the campaign and media tourism dollars flowing into those states. It would be very good for both states.

    So what's the problem???

    March 20, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  17. cj

    Wolf, sorry but i don't care. My vote didn't count either and I am from NY. I voted for Obama and Hillary won. After crying for months after the 2000 election, I could care less about Florida's vote!!!

    March 20, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  18. Bart Costa

    No Revotes. They had the policies, rules and consequences before the primaries were held. I will not view any candidate that wishes to change. It is unfortunate that our system has put FL and MI in this spot, but it really looks like we are teaching our children, if you can't win by following the rules, change the rules so that you can win past games. This sends a message from the candidates that it is ok to change their way of thinking and their values just to fit the whimof the day. Clinton wants to revote because things did not go the way sh expected. Shame!

    March 20, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  19. mndharmas

    Please face it Rules are Rules, Why talk of Redo Now when hillary is trailing? Why did you nothammer the DNC about it when they punished the states.
    This is hypocracy. I think no votes should be left out but that should have been resolved at the onset not in the middle of the race (end of the race)

    WB you are so PRO Hillary , You are losing credibility

    March 20, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  20. Sally

    The Democrats have no-one to blame but themelves. They made the rules about proportional allocation of delegates (which is stupid considering that there is no proportional allocation of electoral college votes in a general election); they decided to punish Michigan and Florida by stripping their delegates – and every campaign agreed to that decision. Now they have to deal with the political fallout... so deal with it!!

    March 20, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  21. sally spanburgh

    I agree Wolf. And I also wondered why it couldn't be a vote by phone, like activating a credit card, or texting your vote to American Idol, or joining a "do not call list."

    March 20, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  22. Johnnypie

    The major problem with Michigan is the fact that Hillary wants to disenfranchise Democratic voters who, like myself, voted in the GOP primary in January. Why is she trying to keep me from voting in a real Democrat primary that WILL MEAN SOMETHING? All she has to do is agree to let all Democrats get a new ballot and the problem will be solved. She keeps trying to say Obama is the one who is affraid of a Michigan re-vote but I think it is she who is affraid to allow all of us Obama GOP crossover voters to have a say in a real primary.

    March 20, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  23. josh

    They broke the rules. Nuff said.

    March 20, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  24. jason

    I'm sure CNN is happy that this going with Obama camp

    March 20, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  25. kelly

    Dear Wolf:

    It's not Michigan impeding the re-vote. It's Obama! All parties, save Obama– the DNC, Hillary, Michigan leadership– have authorized the re-vote. Obama's holding out.

    On another note, why do "rules count" when it benefits Obama? Are super delegates not entitled by the RULES of the DNC to vote for a candidate based on their inside judgement? Obama fans cry foul when it suits them. That is why they favor the disenfranchisement of millions of voters– very Un-Democrat, very Un-American!

    March 20, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
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