According to the latest reports, Florida is going ahead with it’s plans for a primary on January 29th. Florida Dems have a few days to change their minds, since the DNC has set September 29 as the last day to comply with Party rules preventing the seating of any delegates from a state that holds a primary before Feb 5th, except for NH, SC, IA and NV
It’s hard to say how many Floridians are pissed about being told they can’t have an early primary because it might offend the privileged status of those four states. But judging by the sour grapes over early primary scheduling that keep rolling out of Florida, it is a problem. A recent example comes from the Sunshine State’s top columnist Carl Hiaasen, who makes some valid points and gooses a few bitter chuckles out of Florida’s unhappy predicament along the way. Says Hiaasen:
At first, the dispute looked like a fiendishly clever ploy to make the party leadership appear self-destructive and incompetent, thereby lulling Republicans into a sense of complacency. Now it’s obvious that the DNC really is self-destructive and incompetent, stubbornly insisting on perpetuating the charade that allows only Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada to hold nominating contests before Feb. 5.
Hiaasen’s point should resonate with those who can actually count electoral votes. Florida is a big bad mother, electorally speaking. So is Michigan, the other state dissed by the pledge of Democratic Presidential candidates not to campaign in states that have scheduled primaries before Feb. 5th, except for the privileged four.
FL and MI are being asked to take one for the team, but without a sweetener. Some of this fuss is about economics. NH reportedly rakes in about $300 million as a result of it’s first-in-the-nation primary. Perhaps giving FL and MI each one of the Democratic conventions in the years ahead could help with the resentment. In that event, however, you couldn’t blame other states for grumbling. Sooner or later Dems will have to allocate primary dates equitably, either through random selection or taking turns.
The early primary conflict between the DNC on the one hand and FL and MI on the other has been likened to a game of chicken. Unless grown-ups prevail and work out a compromise everyone can live with, after September 29th it may look more like a demolition derby.