As all signs point to Hillary Clinton finally bowing out of this historic Democratic Primary, I would like to take a moment to laugh loudly at all the Clintonites and media that absorbed and parroted her argument about seating Michigan and Florida delegates. She couched her argument in terms of some sort of moral standard: how could we discount the votes of those in Florida and Michigan? This is a Democracy! One vote, one person!
Of course, this is absurd and it's always been absurd. That fact that she's making this argument gives me all the more reason that I'm secure in my vote for Obama. It's a shame that she's willing to pit the voters of Michigan and Florida against the rules of her own party...all it does is make winning those important states more difficult for the Democratic Party in November. It does...almost...nothing...else.
A primary is not a pure national election, is it a party nominating process that has specific rules made up by, essentially, a very big club. The rules are wonky and often counter-productive. But if the Democrats decided that their nominee should be decided by a dart board, they could. It would not make for a smart process, but it would be completely within their rights. The fact that Florida and Michigan's Democratic leadership chose to skirt the party rules and move their primaries up is what disenfranchised their voters, and that, in the end, is not the fault of the current leadership.
Fault aside, many voters probably DID NOT go to the polls when they learned their votes were not being counted and candidates were not running in their state. That fact alone should disqualify some high-minded talk of democracy being made mock of. Clinton wants states counted that benefit her, and because no one else was on the ballot in Michigan, and because name recognition was the only SORT of running going on in Florida, she received those votes.
If name recognition were the entire contest, Clinton could have been handed the nomination at the start, and moved on. She, in fact, came in THIRD in Iowa to begin the very long process of finally giving up the ghost. When all the candidates were in the race, she didn't win. When the primary is primarily uncontested, she did just fine.
She also did well where primaries were hotly contested. That shows just how tough she is. But in the end, she hasn't won, and wins only by intellectual slight-of-hand, and that has been true for a very long time.
It's time for her to stop doing damage to her legacy, to the party, and to the Democratic Nominee. Especially with smoke and mirrors and disingenuous outrage about "counting every vote." If she truly felt that way, her own math wouldn't start counting on February 19th.
Let's hope she makes the right move tonight.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.