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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Michigan Delegate Situation Gets Debated - Again

For those who haven't been watching the Presidential primaries closely, Michigan Democrats are still in a bit of a quandary. Last year, Michigan party officials on both sides decided to break Democratic and Republican party rules by holding primaries before Super Tuesday. While the intentions were good (They decided to move up the primary dates in order to draw national attention to the state of Michigan's economy, currently 50th in the nation), both Michigan political parties were rightly punished for their actions. However, while the Michigan Republican party made a decisive call on what to do with the primary results (The winner received half of Michigan's traditional Republican delegate count), no such decisive action was taken on the Democratic side. It is particularly complicated on the Democratic side as candidates were warned not to campaign in the state. While most Democratic candidates chose to have their names taken off of the ballot, Hillary Clinton did not. She felt she was in compliance by simply not campaigning in Michigan. This is where it becomes complicated.

As the Democratic party is considering various options with regards to this precarious situation, Michigan Democrats might be left without any representation whatsoever. Currently, there are three options. Option Number One: Let the primary results stand and give the delegates to Hillary Clinton. You can bet that Barack Obama won't allow this to happen uncontested. While I'm not an Obama supporter by any stretch of the imagination (He's actually the person I would support the least out of the three contenders; I'm somewhat frightened as to what would happen if Obama became President due to the fact that he is unproven), I certainly agree with not simply giving Hillary Clinton the Michigan delegates. Option Number Two: Hold a special primary in Michigan in order to determine who will get the Democratic delegates. While at first this appears to be a fair solution, it will cost the State of Michigan dearly. Our State government almost shut down this past fall due to budget difficulties (As more and more people leave Michigan in order to find work, the tax base is severely eroding). The last thing Michigan needs is to pay a large sum of desperately need money in order to simply hold a second primary. Option Number Three: Simply don't allow any Michigan delegates to be seated at the Democratic National Convention this summer in Denver, Colorado. Sadly, this leaves an important state (As much as the rest of the country likes to try and forget about us, we are important; we are currently educating large portions of the workforce of Arizona, Texas, California, and Florida) without any representation on the Democratic side. If I was Democrat, I would be incredibly angry.

Fortunately, I'm a Republican. I can stand back, observe, and comment on my observations. If it isn't clear that the Democratic party has severely damaged this state, that point should now be driven home for the Democrats. Until recently, many Democrats blamed Michigan's dead economy on George W. Bush. Maybe now they will take a second look at the Democratic leadership of this state, namely our Canadian Governor Jennifer Granholm (otherwise known as Two-Penny Jenny). No one seems to have a solution for Michigan's peculiar situation, and no one seems to care much. Supposedly Granholm has started to reach across the aisle to Republican state legislators. I just hope that it isn't too late.

As a Michigan native (for better or worse), it disheartens me to think that so many people have give up on this beautiful state. We were once known as the "arsenal of democracy" for our efforts during World War II (I'm proud to say that my Grandma was a riveter in Detroit during that time and later became a riveter in Fort Worth, Texas), but we've never been able to look past the automobile industry. I was born in 1980, and for as long as I can remember, there has been discussion on how to diversify Michigan's economy. Quite simply, it hasn't happened in over 25 years. During that time, education has been stressed as a way to move beyond the manufacturing jobs. Sadly, once those students graduate from our fine universities and colleges, there are no jobs for them. I'm a gleaming example of what happens when new college grads stubbornly want to create a life for themselves in Michigan. They become unemployed. Almost all of the people that I graduated with from Michigan State University were forced to move out of state in order to find work. In fact, I lived and worked in Houston, Texas for nearly a year before I decided to come back to Michigan.

Unfortunately, the more we push education here in Michigan, the more we'll see a new generation of Michiganders leave to contribute to the states of Texas, California, Arizona, and Florida. There has been a lot of talk on how to lure young people back. It is all about jobs. There is simply no reason to settle here without jobs (unless, like me, almost all of your family is here). I just don't see how this situation will be resolved any time soon, but something needs to get done. We desperately need leadership here in Michigan, and I just don't see anyone here to provide it.

For those of you living elsewhere, you may think that this situation is already old news (regarding the Democratic delegates), but rest assured, the delegate situation only speaks to much larger issues here. We lack leadership and an economic future. It has been local news for a very long time, it briefly became national news in January, and it is time that this economic issue becomes a permanent fixture on the national agenda until it is resolved.

Bloomberg.com: Worldwide


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