Saturday, May 31, 2008

Count Every Vote Rally: Photos

Paws up and a couple of tail wags to Donna Darko and the Red Queen for promoting Roxie's World's on-the-ground coverage of the Count Every Vote Rally today in downtown Washington. Welcome to everyone who stumbled upon our happy little corner of the blogosphere by way of their awesome pro-Hillary sites! Sorry to disappoint those of you who were expecting live-blogging from the event, but the moms are way too techno-challenged for such snazziness. We can't do much more right now than throw up some pics, because the moms are having company for dinner in a couple of hours, but we can tell you that the rally was a success in bringing attention to the issues of fairness to voters in Florida and Michigan who did nothing wrong when they went to the polls in January. The moms arrived at the Marriott Wardman Park, where the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee was meeting, a little before 9. Crowd at the entrance to the hotel was thick. Signs were overwhelmingly focused on voters rather than candidates. The overall vibe was excellent, despite the macho zealousness of cops determined to keep the streets clear. Most Obamaniacs seem to have followed His Hopeness's order to stay away, though there were a few in the crowd. Media were everywhere. Goose was interviewed three times, while Moose roamed around playing press photog with her sleek new Canon G9. (Do let her know what you think of her work.)

Bottom Line: It was a good day for the issues and a powerful message to the Democratic party that voters are watching and waiting to see how this mess is resolved. We heard a lot of talk in the crowd from pro-Hillary voters threatening to stay home or vote McCain in November as a way of registering their outrage toward the party. Roxie's World doesn't endorse either of those moves -- yet -- but we think the party must be made to understand that unity cannot be assumed. It must be built, and it must be earned.

Wa Po coverage of the meetings and events is here. All photos by Moose.

(Baby's first protest! One-month old Dana Weems Sussman-Martin puts up a cry for the voters of Michigan and Florida at her very first political rally.)

(Like many hard-core politicos, Dana finds comfort with a bottle in her mouth and a Hillary button on her head.)

(Rally organizer Jehmu Greene speaks at the rally.)

(Best eyewear spotted in the crowd at the rally.)

(The crowd at the hotel entrance greeting meeting attendees as they arrived.)


  1. that baby is so cute I want to eat her (in a good way)

  2. Rox,

    Thanks so much for telling all of your readers about the strong show of protest for the UNdemocratic processes of the Democratic Party. Yes, I was interviewed 3 times. Two of the reporters were quite deft and excellent at their craft. The third kept trying to put words in my mouth. I told all three that I was there for the voters who participated in the Democratic primaries this past season, all of them, and most especially the voters of Michigan and Florida whose VOTES HAVE BEEN CERTIFIED BY THOSE STATES’ SECRETARIES OF STATE. I also told all three about the fact that Obama won Idaho by 7,000 votes and netted 12 delegates while Clinton won New Jersey by 100,000 votes and netted 11 delegates. Who can look at that and claim that our electoral processes are designed to give voice and action to the will of the people?

    I don’t think the DNC or the Democratic Party, certainly not the Democratic leadership in Congress, realize how angry so many of the little people, we ordinary citizens who have faithfully supported them for decades, are. Will they act in a way that favors one-person-one-vote or will they act like rigid elementary school teachers and insist on their interpretation of rules enforcement (there’s actually quite a lot of leeway for interpretation and enforcement of the rules here). Will the spirit of democracy prevail or will legalisms?

    Who’s afraid of democracy? I guess the same folks who are afraid of Virginia Woolf and Hillary Clinton.

  3. Anonymous5:27 PM EDT


  4. Roxie, thanks for sharing these pictures!

    Prof. Smith,

    Just a minor quibble: the Idaho caucuses, which Obama won by over 13,000 votes, determine the allocation of delegates in Idaho, not the Idaho primaries, which Obama won around 8,000 votes.

    Moreover, if you compare any two states, you are likely to find similar, absurd differences in the ratio of voters to delegates awarded. To the extent that this is unfair -- and I do believe it's unfair -- it goes both ways. For instance, in Oregon, Obama had almost exactly the same margin of victory as Clinton did in NJ (113,000 votes) and he netted 10, not 11, delegates; Clinton won New Mexico by under 2,000 votes and netted 2 delegates -- about the same ratio you see in Idaho. And that's nothing next to American Samoa where Clinton netted a delegate for a 42-voter difference. Obama won South Carolina by over 150,000 and netted only 13 delegates, a ratio much lower than Clinton received in NJ, let alone New Mexico or American Samoa. I could go on and on.

    I agree with your argument that the Democrats need to reform their primary/caucus system(s), that caucuses are less democratic than primaries, etc. But I also think each candidate organized in each state knowing how the rules stacked up: Clinton could have devoted more resources to caucus states; she could have fought for more at-large caucuses so that working people could vote (instead of fighting against at-large caucuses in NV); she could have fired Mark Penn earlier. But this is the way she crumbled the cookie.

    As for Michigan and Florida, I tend to agree that some of the delegates should be counted. (And I opposed the delegate-stripping right from the start, and I later wrote letters urging the DNC to fund new primaries.) But if you buy that caucuses amount to voter suppression, you must also accept that holding a primary when people are being told their votes won't count amounts to voter suppression, too -- and in a more direct way. The facts that neither candidate campaigned in those states (Clinton's Florida fundraisers notwithstanding) and that the DNC unequivocally said the primaries wouldn't count weaken the moral force of the MI and FL results. The compromise this evening seems about fair to me.

  5. I see a typo already. Last sentence of second paragraph should conclude: "won *by* around 8,000 votes."

  6. Stephanie,

    Thanks for your "corrections," but I think that some of them are not quite right. However, I'm too happy with the lovely dinner we just had with dear friends to go back to my research and get into a long discussion this evening. But I'm happy to do so at a later time (and soon).

    Here I'll simply say that I don't think the compromise is satisfactory. How would you feel if your vote was just counted by 1/2? Why not punish the party leaders, the superdelegates, who created this mess? Why not strip them of their votes and let the rank and file voters' votes stand? Clearly there are some of us who want to count all of the voters and others of us who don't. My point is that there should be no fear in counting all of the voters. But there clearly is. That disturbs me, especially since it's coming from a candidate who knows damned well that he lost Texas by more than 100,000 votes yet had no problem in collecting more delegates than Clinton (because of the caucuses that cheapen the enfranchisement of those who are elderly, infirm, have to work in the evenings, and so forth).

    And are you not bothered by the situational ethics of Obama regarding his church? His resignation this evening from the church says nothing about what either Rev. said, but only about how the presidential campaign is subjecting that church to scrutiny. And he has yet to apologize to Clinton for Rev. Pfleger's hateful diatribe last Sunday or for his own supporters wishing for her death (those are death watches for HER death, not for the death of her campaign). Such conduct does not persuade me that this is a man who is committed to or can actually help us realize a different, more positive way.

    Until the Democratic Party comes up with a primary process that champions one-person-one-vote and goes out of its way to count the votes that way, the Party of my entire voting life has lost me. Winning through rules enforcement may get one into the White House (it sure did that for George W. Bush), but it will never win the hearts and minds of those of us who have not been persuaded by rhetoric without clear plans uttered by a man who claims that he will lead us in a different way but who has just stood back and been silent when his minions have attacked the other candidate and wished for her death. I trust that, if he indeed is the one the Dems choose, he will honor rules enforcement in November and not complain if it doesn't go his way.

    In Peace, and let's all agree to push the Dems to develop a much more fair process. Now we're going to have one candidate who wins the popular vote and another as the nominee. So we cannot, until we change our own processes, ever complain about a Florida 2000 or an Ohio 2004.

  7. 1. Just to clarify, I am not an Obama supporter. (I also didn't say anything about "situational ethics" -- that was another commenter.) My candidate is long out of the race. I am anti-McCain enough to support any viable Democrat this time around (if my state comes into play), but not pro-Obama (or pro-Clinton). I was disgusted that Obama left TUCC (honestly, his membership in such a progressive congregation was one of the few things I really liked about him), I was disgusted by the RFK emails the Obama campaign sent around, and I remain disgusted about all of the horrible misogyny of some prominent Obama supporters. I might quibble about some of the specifics, but I wouldn't deny that Obama's campaign has, at times, been ugly and that some of his supporters are repulsive. Obama needs to do a better job of answering for these things. (For what it's worth, I think Clinton needs to do a better job of answering for her supporters and surrogates as well.)

    2. I agree that we should work to reform the primary process for next time. (Of course, this was McGovern's big push before '72, too, and that didn't turn out so hot for the Dems.) Your moral argument for seating the entire delegation has some rhetorical force, but when you think about the rights of people who stayed home because they were told in certain terms that their votes wouldn't count, it's hard to justify treating those elections as legitimate ones. The half-delegate compromise is just a gesture to appease Florida and Michigan voters, not a principled way of reflecting their votes.

    As far as I'm concerned, there's still plenty of time to have new primaries or caucuses. Why not agree to the terms in advance and hold new contests? That's the real way to vindicate the rights of all Florida and Michigan Democrats. Both Obama and Clinton should be fighting for this. Anything less just looks like a cynical vote grab to me.

    In any case, I await your "corrections" to my comment. I just randomly grabbed some numbers from CNN, so I don't doubt that I got something wrong. It certainly wouldn't be the first time :)

  8. Interestingly enough, the big winner today was Obama. (Except for the Trinity resignation... as a person who has a job at the intersection of LGBT rights and faith, I feel rather ashamed that Obama left a church with one of the most visible --albeit controversial, of course -- supporters of Christian-based LGBT equality.) Your last comment to me touched on the notion of legitimacy, and while I still think that the FL and MI primaries were at best a sham and at worst pretty similar to a one-candidate election in a fascist dictatorship, I see now how counting the votes of those voters actually gives Obama even more credibility as the nominee. It appears now that Obama would have clinched the nom within a few days regardless of what happened with the delegates, so having all 50 states present and voting in Denver will certainly give his nomination more gravity and credibility.

    I worry, though, about what will happen in the future. I think that Iowa and New Hampshire's monopoly on the early primary calendar is a great thing. As they say, in IA and NH, "ideas count... not money." I respect the tradition and, possibly with a few modifications, hope it continues. I think a political party is nothing without its grand traditions. What happened today at the RBC meeting was basically a carte blanche for any future state to wreak havoc in the primary system and basically get off scot-free. FL and MI now have all the exposure they could have ever asked for. Obama and McCain are going to go nuts trying to win those voters over in November, and the two states will be immortalized as rebels who broke the rules and were rewarded in the end with a pat on the back, a simple warning, and endless publicity. Before today, who knew the name of the Michigan Democratic Party Chairman? No one. Now I can tell you practically anything you want to know about Mark Brewer.

    There are a lot of things that are undemocratic about the primary season. Caucuses are an interesting concept, but in application, they're hardly more viable than a traditional primary. But everyone knows the rules of the game going in. Bill Clinton won with basically the same system in place in '92, and cruised to victory again in '96, both times playing by the rules. Stephanie is right. If the Clinton campaign had anticipated Obama's strength in caucuses, where he had more grassroots muscle, they could have crushed him. You can't blame the Obama campaign for beating the Clintons at their own game, and for keenly maneuvering themselves through the arcana of a delegate-by-delegate victory. You should be thankful that the candidate who won has an ingenious and revolutionary online fundraising system, and possibly the best ground game in the history of presidential politics. These things will come in handy in November.

  9. Eitan, what do you think of the four-delegate shift in Michigan. I understand that Carl Levin proposed these numbers based on write-in votes and exit polls. Counting the write-in votes seems fair to me, inasmuch as any of this is fair, but I think the exit polls should be considered only to confirm that the people who voted "uncommitted" intended to support Obama or Edwards if their votes were eventually counted. Otherwise, we might as well apportion the delegates based on current polling data, no? It's bound to more accurately reflect the will of the voters -- those who went to the polls and those who stayed home alike.

    I don't think half-counting the delegates legitimates Obama so much as it makes it possible that some Florida and Michigan Democrats will support the eventual nominee. This whole thing is a clusterf*ck.

  10. Yes, Stephanie, the whole thing is a "clusterf*ck." Obama may have won yesterday, but there's a huge price to pay, as Anglachel makes clear.

    As for this voter, I cannot and will not get on board with a candidate who:

    1) finagled back in March to make certain that revotes were not done in MI and FL--what's he so afraid of? I think we all know. . . .

    2) proves to be weak when it comes to real tests (such as that with TUCC -- what does faith mean to this man? what has changed over the past few weeks with TUCC except that the church has embarrassed him. . .again);

    3) bullshits on matters such as LGBTQ rights; he is no more progressive than anyone else concerning my community, and his offensive interview with The Advocate in April (yes, 2008, so just a month ago) suggests that he is less so; Hillary Clinton does not talk about my "lifestyle" nor has she praised people like me for "not recruiting"--there's a reason most LGBTQ folks support her;

    4) keeps referring to one speech given in 2002 as if that speech were action; BO has led no movement as a Senator to get us out of Iraq, has skipped out on important votes, and when he has voted has voted to continue the war.

    All of the above makes my deeply ingrained West Texan/Irish bullshit meter go off. He may at some future time be qualified to be President, but he is not qualified now, and was pushed by Kerry, Kennedy, and company just to make sure that Hillary Clinton is not the nominee. Envy is a terrible thing that begets messes such as this one, and the Pudd'nhead Party is held hostage by the envy of those guys who couldn't get elected themselves and are blind with hateful envy of the man who got elected not once but twice. They are so blind with that hatred and so sexist that they are taking it out on his wife. . .and on half of the party who voted for her.

    Ah the Pudd'nhead Party, as WaPo says on a front page headline this morning, coming "Together To Tear Their Party in Half."

    30 years ago I argued passionately with my socialist friends that the Dems were the way to go because a major mainstream political party was the only way to get things done. 30 years later, the ERA is still not passed; the right to choose has effectively become illegal--you have to be wealthy to choose (Roe v. Wade has been neutered); wealth has been redistributed UP so that the rich keep getting richer and richer while everyone else just keeps getting old. . .and without the kind of health care that the rest of the Western world enjoys. So I'm thinking that my socialist friends were in fact right: the Pudd'nhead Party has not followed through on its promises and is now drunk on backslider's wine.

    As for the bandying about of the 4 delegates in MI that should have gone to Clinton, the Pudd'nhead Party will be beat up relentlessly by the GOP on that one. One of the GOP's critiques is that the Pudd'nheads manipulate votes, and, as Anglachel says, the Pudd'nheads handed a campaign issue to the GOP that will stick, and that will fuel votes for the kind of voter ID initiatives, etc, in states that BO delusionally thinks he can win. Those voter initiatives will get conservative votes out, just as anti-queer initiatives got some votes out in 2004.

    The Pudd'nhead Party has lost me. I never thought that would happen.

  11. :) Funny how the tables have turned. I am now the socialist friend arguing that my Democrat friends should vote for the eventual nominee to defeat McCain. It's largely for the same reasons you offered, mostly about the war and the Court. I am very scared of a McCain presidency; Bush has shown us what kind of damage can be done in a very short time. I agree the Democrats are a continual disappointment (including my Senator Clinton and former President Clinton, for that matter), but I think a progressive agenda has a much better shot with them than with the other guys.

    While I disrespect Obama's decision to leave the church, I have a slightly more generous assessment: he says part of the reason he did it was to free the church from scrutiny and to stop the harassment some members have faced since Revgate flared up in March. This seems like something a good person might do in good faith.

    But I am not here to defend Obama. FWIW, I'm queer and as offended by the things he says about gay people as the next guy or gal. I do take some comfort in his former TUCC membership (the church is outspoken about LGBT rights), however, and I don't see anything he says as worse than what the Dems have said and done in the past -- whether it was the betrayal of DADT and DOMA or Kerry's Mary Cheney dog whistle. So this is not enough for me to hope for a McCain presidency.

  12. I don't hope for a McCain presidency, but I'm not persuaded that an Obama presidency would be much, if any, better. Senator Clinton did not vote for DOMA, and I've seen no evidence that she would have had she been in the Senate then, so any critique that ties her to DOMA does not wash with me.

    By their decision on Saturday, the Dems have given up any moral high ground they had regarding the conduct of elections, as has Obama surrendered any ground he had on "she knew the rules, blah blah blah." Whenever it suits his interest, he's perfectly happy to accept not simply a bending, but a flagrant breaking of the rules intended to enact the spirit of democracy. He pulls his name off the ballot in Michigan because he's behind in the polls, and then is willing to accept votes from Michigan re: Saturday's DNC decision. He got a vote from my sister-in-law that she never intended to give to him. This does not wash with me. This is no strong man with backbone, and so I find it very difficult to believe that he has his Trinity's interests in mind when he throws that spiritual mama from the train.

    "Vote for the Dem at any cost because the Republicans are so terrible" has been hijacking my vote for 35 years. What do I have to show for it: NO ERA; the evisceration of Roe v. Wade, so no real choice without $$$; NO firm federal standing for my 24+ year familial relationship; NO thoughtful debate on the wars we're currently in; NO health care that even comes close to that offered by all of the other countries in the Western world. So I hope you'll understand that I refuse to fall for this yet one more time. I've long wondered when the time would come that disappointment in the faux liberal Dems would be the deal breaker. That time has arrived.

    Y'all can stick a fork in my support for the Democratic Party: I'm/we're done. They don't *really* care about me, so I don't think they'll miss me. And that's sad.


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