Blog written by Shawn M. Kahle, APR
I grew up in a political family in Indiana. My mom was an elected official or worked in jobs that came or went based on the party that was in office. That meant from the time I was three years old I went door-to-door with mom registering voters, handing out bumper stickers, watching political conventions on television, and believing that if you wasted your opportunity to vote – shame on you!
I vote — in primaries, in school board elections in the rain, and especially for the big races for state and national offices. I am a registered voter in the state of Michigan – have been for about 30 years. Generally, when I must declare a party, I go with the Democrats.
Last week, my party let me down in an unforgivable way.
There is so much spin surrounding what really went wrong with the move by Michigan to an earlier primary that it would take months to unearth the whole story. Here’s what I know.
Leading Democrats in Michigan – Governor Granholm, Senator Levin, and others wanted to move up the Michigan primary so the state would be more relevant sooner in influencing the presidential election cycle. In the process of doing so, the Michigan Democratic Party and the National Democratic Party had a major falling out – big time! The controversy grew so great that leading candidates such as Barack Obama and John Edwards refused to file in the state of Michigan rather than face the reprisals of the national party. Democrats who went to the polls on primary day could either vote for Hillary Clinton, or Dodd (no longer in the race), Kucinich, Gravel or “Uncommitted.”
On Jan. 15, 2008, Senator Clinton “won” with 55 percent of the vote, leading “Uncommitted” by only 15 percent. While a weak showing, her victory was irrelevant. She did not garner any convention support as the National Democratic Party says the Michigan delegation will not be seated at the convention. In effect, Michigan Democrats don’t count – at all – in deciding the candidate who will represent “their party” in the November general election.
We live in a world where people still die every day fighting for the right to vote. Party politics killed the right for Michigan Democrats.
But, let’s give the wolverine state credit for accomplishing one goal — Michigan became more relevant in the presidential election cycle … FOR THE REPUBLICANS!
Yes, nationwide every major news service focused on the fight between Mitt Romney and John McCain. In Chicago, local media traveled 90 minutes to New Buffalo and Union Pier to snap photos, and do stand-ups for stories that went on and on about the results of the Republican primary and the debacle of the Democrats. Yes, the GOP won the airwaves and the jealousy of real voting Democrats who still want to have a say in who will be the next President of the United States.
People wonder why Michigan is losing population so fast? Add one more reason. They strip away the true right to vote from their residents. No blood was shed, only integrity. Talk about “Uncommitted”.