Monday, February 27, 2012

Michigan Cheating More Ways Than One

The last of the calendar cheaters will vote tomorrow. As I note every chance I get, both parties agreed to a set of rules that barred any contestst before Tuesday, March 6, except for four designated February states, in this order: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina.

So tomorrow is really supposed to be South Carolina's day. That Newt Gingrich win seems like ancient history now, doesn't it? Instead, the voting will be in chronic calendar cheating Michigan, and in Arizona, which shares much of the blame for yet another insanely early calendar this cycle. (Florida used Arizona as an excuse to move their date into January, and thus the dominoes fell with us landing yet again on January 3.)

I was going to give Muchigan Democrats just the slightest bit of credit. They had no say over the primary date, as state government is completely in Republican hands. They're even paying lip service to the calenday; the Democratic primary is a beauty contest and delegates will be chosen in May caucuses instead.

But no, the Michigan Democrats had to go and screw up again. This fascinating Slate article, which explains some of the complications of list management and get out the vote in a state without party registration, notes that Michigan Democrats are playing fast and loose with some other rules:
Some Obama supporters will choose to cast a ballot in the other party’s primary, perhaps with the goal of humiliating erstwhile favorite son Mitt Romney—much as Rush Limbaugh did in 2008 when he encouraged his listeners in Ohio to take advantage of open primaries by supporting Hillary Clinton to derail Obama’s march to the nomination, a project Limbaugh called Operation Chaos. Such efforts last week received the blessing of Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer, who sent an email to his party list letting Democrats know they were eligible to participate in the opposition’s nominating contest.
Regular readers are well familiar with my periodic rants about the ethics of messing with another party's nomination process. I think it's wrong, but you've got the right to do the wrong thing.


Michigan Democratic chair Mark Brewer -- NOT the guy from Flint's Grand Funk Railroad, that was Mark FARNER and DON Brewer -- asserts: "Any Democrat who takes Senators Jones and Meekhof up on their offer will still be able to participate in the Michigan Democratic Party’s presidential caucuses on May 5, 2012." (The cite is from notorious Iowa hater Markos Moulitas himself; he's encouraging crossovers as "Operation Hilarity.")

Let's look at what the national party rules actually say:
Rule 2.E

No person shall participate or vote in the nominating process for a Democratic presidential candidate who also participates in the nominating processes of any other party for the corresponding election.
Hmm. Maybe Michigan wouldn't find so much "hilarity" in crossover voting if its entire national convention delegation was challenged... Sure, Carl Levin and Debbie Dingell, we'll seat you. You just have to say "Iowa first forever!" I didn't hear you. Louder! Now say "New Hampshire Rules, Michigan Drools." Then write 50 times on the blackboard: "I will not vote before the first week of March. I will not vote before the first week of March. I will not vote before the first week of March..."

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