Actually, I keep coming back to it in many ways: it's my favorite vacation spot, and I'm so hoping that a trip to Seaside is in the not-too-distant future. But today, I'm coming back to it for a much less pleasant purpose.
I still remember watching Tim Russert the night of the crazy 2000 election, writing "Florida ! Florida ! Florida !" on a marker-board sometime during that long evening, when it became apparent that everything was going to boil down to dimpled chads in the Florida boonies.
Anyway, it's back to Florida (and Michigan) again. As is well known, the Democratic National Committee is refusing to seat the Florida and Michigan delegates, because those States violated that entity's edicts on the timing of their primaries. It looks to me like, if Hillary Clinton is to have any chance at all at capturing her party's nomination, that she will have to have these delegates.
As best I can determine from a very unscientific and rapid internet search, there are approximately 210 Florida Democratic delegates, and of these, Hilla would garner approximately 111; St. Barack 69; Edwards 13; with 17 unpledged).
Michigan would have 156, with Hilla taking 81; the Chosen One 57; and 18 remaining undeclared. This is avoiding the whole pledged/unpledged question, and laying aside the question of unpledged and undecided delegates.
As of today, according to the Real Clear Politics delegate totals, giving Obama 1546, and Clinton 1449, (advantage to Obama of 97 delegates), addition of the Florida delegates would close the gap to 31 delegates in Obama's favor (St. Barack 1672, Hilla 1641).
I don't see how Hillary can avoid some kind of effort to put these States back on the board. I really think she must try.
How to do it ? How to accomplish this without looking like a cheater for changing the rules ? Answer: she can't -- the best she can do is to finesse the issue, move first and challenge (with as much fanfare as possible) Obama to have the Florida and Michigan elections over again. She must do it this way -- she cannot try to claim the delegates outright, because the cries of "foul" might prompt the superdelegates to intervene and end the contest.
To build momentum, she needs for the do-over to occur after the Pennsylvania primary (Tuesday 22 April) -- which she must win big. Senator Clinton must pose as the champion of counting all the votes, the defender of Florida and Michigan Democrats, and invoke the memory of the disputed 2000 Presidential election.
If Obama stands on his rights, and declares his intention to abide by the DNC's earlier determination, I think he's got a problem, because he's cutting against the great Democratic totem that "every vote must count." Ultimately, he'll have to go along with it, because he dare not offend Florida Democrats if he wants to win come November.
Hillary has to hope that, in a do-over, she can do as well as she did the first go-round. This also assumes that she will do well in Pennsylvania. But more importantly, she has to hope that Obama balks and refuses initially -- hurting his chances on a re-do. But she really must try it -- she must do something to get those votes.
Conclusion: the party with the advantage is the party proposing the re-do first.