How 2008 Is Like the Florida Recount

When the Clinton campaign sent up a trial balloon arguing that Democrats pushing for the race to end were trying to”disenfranchise” the remaining states, we figured they’d be laughed outof the room. (Would that mean Hillary’s initial plan to wrap up thenomination on Super Tuesday would have disenfranchised half the statesin the Union?) We were young and foolish then.

Instead of backing off this line of argument, the campaign manager has now fleshed out an entire memo on the subject. Having all the states vote is “the American way,” writes campaign manager Maggie Williams: 

The last time that we were told we’d better cut the process short or the sky would fall was when the Supreme Court stopped the Floridarecount in 2000. But Chicken Little was wrong. What was true then istrue now: there is nothing to fear—and everything to gain—from hearingfrom all of the voters.

Curious that Williams chose the Floridarecount as an analogy. It’s frighteningly apt. In 2000, thepresidential race was too close to call and therefore had to be decidedby an imperfect, undemocratic process—a Supreme Court vote. Clinton,like all Democrats, would no doubt argue that the whole mess was anaffront to democracy. Fast forward to 2008. Again, we again have anelection that’s “too close to call,” according to the Clinton memo. But, in fact, they’re the ones who need the imperfect, undemocratic system—the superdelegates—to bail them out. Unless superdelegates push Clinton up and over Obama’s inevitable pledged delegate lead, she can’t win. ( Do the math yourself .) So really, if the 2008 Democratic primaries are the 2000 Florida debacle, then Clinton is Bush.

It’s tough to make the lofty case for democracywhen winning relies on an inherently undemocratic page in the partyrule book. I suppose it’s admirable that they try.