With the Democratic presidential nomination looking almost impossible for either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton to win in the primary season, many people are clamoring for Florida and Michigan to have primaries that "count".
As punishment for moving their primaries ahead of February 5th, the Democratic National Committee banned the two states from having seats at the national convention. That being the case, no candidates campaigned in either state, and in Michigan, Clinton was the only candidate on the ballot.
But with the race between Obama and Clinton running so tightly, there have been calls from many quarters to have Florida and Michigan count. As it is, voters in both states already feel somewhat disenfranchised.
The question is, if they are to send delegates to the convention, how will that be determined?
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has had to deal with a very difficult situation. He has stayed the course. Both states knew the rules and decided to break them. The party meted out a punishment which Dean has said repeatedly will stand. If the results of the two primaries run so far were allowed to count, not only would that permit Florida and Michigan to flout the rules, but the results themselves could be heavily skewed. Many voters have claimed they did not come out for the primaries due to them not counting, and as mentioned previously, Clinton was the only name on the Michigan ballot.
The other option would be to run new primaries, certainly more fair to the constituency and to the candidates. The situation would not be skewed. And most people who want Florida and Michigan to count do think the right course is for new primaries to be run. The problem is, who will pay for them?
The two states want the Democratic National Committee to pay; Dean says the state themselves should pay, since the DNC's monies must now be focused on winning the national election. It's a tough situation, since no one wants to disenfranchise voters anywhere and every vote counts (particularly so in this race), but Florida and Michigan are acting like spoiled, petulant rich kids, misbehaving and being punished by Daddy (the DNC), but then asking Daddy to forgive them and bail them out with money. Dean not only has to maintain some semblance of law & order (as well as set an example for future years so this doesn't happen again), but as the overall presidential campaign grows more critical each and every day, his focus (and the DNC's finances) can not be distracted from the greater goal of the Democratic party to win the White House.