Jul 17 2008
10:15 am

There is talk that Obama and the DNC are maneuvering to keep Hillary Clinton's name off the first nominating ballot at the Democratic National Convention. In my mind, any candidate who got "pledged" delegates during the primaries should be on the first ballot and there should be a roll call vote. That includes Obama, Clinton, and Edwards.

It should also be noted that none of these candidates gained enough "pledged" delegates during the primaries to secure the nomination. So how is it fair to have a "symbolic" vote for only one candidate?

And regarding "pledged" delegates, they aren't. According to party rules, any delegate, "pledged," "super," or otherwise, can vote for anybody they want. There are no hard and fast commitments until there is a vote -- just like elections, which are decided by the votes on election day, not survey polls leading up to it. Perhaps this is why the Obama camp is worried, given criticism of their recent campaign adjustments.

There is at least one organized effort to keep the Democratic National Convention democratic:

The Denver Group was recently formed to ensure that Howard Dean and the Democratic National Committee conduct the Democratic Party's presidential nomination process in keeping with democratic principles at the Party's convention this August. This means an open convention, which includes Senator Clinton's name on the ballot, allowing speeches by Clinton supporters on behalf of her candidacy, and the taking of a roll call vote, all of which is the norm.

The Denver Group, organized by Marc Rubin and Heidi Li Feldman, is a non-connected committee, established on June 24, 2008. It is not affiliated with Hillary Clinton for President, any candidate for President, or any political party.

"The Democratic Party has an obligation to adhere to democratic principles and allow the delegates Senator Clinton earned, which represent more than 18 million Democratic primary voters, to be counted in a roll call vote and for superdelegates to be able to cast their votes for the candidate of their choice at the convention where it counts," said Rubin.

The Denver Group's website is here.

(Memo to Obamanauts and assorted Clinton Haters: This is not advocating for Hillary Clinton. This is advocating for an open and fair nominating process so the nominee isn't tainted going forward.)

bizgrrl's picture

When do they traditionally

When do they traditionally have the roll call vote? The last night?

It's a good idea to have the vote and include Clinton and Edwards. It shouldn't be a problem. Obama claims the nomination, the crowds roar, all is well in the garden.

R. Neal's picture

A Typical Day at the

A Typical Day at the Convention - Democratic National Convention

DNC Chairman Governor Howard Dean acts as the Temporary Chair of the 2008 Convention and will call the Convention to order on Monday. The first item of formal business for the Convention to act on is the report of the Credentials Committee, which will resolve all questions concerning the seating of delegates. The second item of business is the report of the Rules Committee. Among its many responsibilities, the Rules Committee will recommend the permanent Convention officers, including the Permanent Convention Chair. Following approval of the Rules Committee report by Convention delegates, it is presumed that Speaker Nancy Pelosi will take the gavel as the Permanent Convention Chair. At past Conventions, the keynote address has typically been on Monday evenings.

The Tuesday of the Convention has generally featured debate and discussion of the Party’s proposed National Platform.

In the past, the Wednesday of the Convention kicked off the Party’s formal presidential nominating process with nominating and seconding speeches for presidential candidates being given. The alphabetical roll call of states and territories by the Convention Secretary is a memorable feature of past Wednesday nights. Sometimes the Party’s presumptive vice presidential candidate will also speak on Wednesday.

The final day of the Convention – Thursday – features the nomination of the vice presidential candidate. The Convention concludes with the acceptance speech of the Party’s presidential nominee.

bill young's picture


No matter who I supported in the primary once it's over I go with the nominee.This ones over & Obama is the nominee.Therefore,I believe Clinton delegates should vote for Obama.

But as R's pointed out if you are a duly elected delegate you can vote for who you want & if delegates want put Clinton's name up & vote for her thats their right under the rules.

At the '68 Democratic Convention McCarthy & McGovern had 0 chance of winning but were placed in nomination for a cause.Ditto for Jackson @ the '84 & '88 Democratic Conventions.

On the other hand @ the '68 Republican Convention Rockefeller & Reagan were placed in nomination because they thought they could force a 2nd ballot & win.Ditto for HHH @ the'72 Democratic Convention & Reagan @ the '76 Republican Convention.

Clinton delegates can make the case for the cause of her being the first woman to have a real shot @ the presidency.If delegates want to pursue that they can.However,there is no chance of her winning.

But what Clinton folks must be very careful about is how many of her delegates are now actively supporting Obama & are going to vote Obama @ the convention.In my opinion if Clinton misplays her hand & is placed in nomination & only gets 4-500 votes it will hurt her.It could be Clinton is placed in nomination then,after the roll call,Senator Clinton from the floor(she is a super delegate)moves the nomination unanimouse.

Again it is every delegates right to vote for whoever they want but I believe when it's over it's over & this ones over.

R. Neal's picture

I hear you, Bill, but a

I hear you, Bill, but a couple of points.

It's not over and there is no nominee. I will be on board with the nominee, too, when there is one. There won't be one until there is a vote at the convention.

Second, neither Clinton nor Edwards have formally withdrawn their name from consideration for the nomination.

Lastly, Obama does not have the votes yet. He has non-binding commitments of superdelegate votes.

I agree, however, that Obama will likely win the nomination. It should be on the up and up, though. If Clinton and Edwards want to formally withdraw their names from consideration beforehand, that's fine.

bill young's picture

The fat lady's done sung her song.

R I really do think it's over.

However,you are correct under the rules there is no nominee & indeed delegates can vote for anyone they choose.That's what Kennedy argued in '80 & Hart in '84.

With respect to Edwards most if not all of his delegates have said they will vote Obama.Plus,most if not all super delegates have done the same.

If delegates vote for Clinton thats fine with me.But as I said if she misplays this & only gets a fraction of her "pledged" delegate vote it woud be bad for her.

Anybody that knows me knows once we have a nominee;local,state or national..I'm with em.Not everybody agrees & when I get behind a candidate,in a New York second,thats defeated a candidate I supported for the nomination..I've been called a turn coat or worse..but thats the way I roll.So I'm for Clinton delegates voting Obama.If others roll different thats fine.

R,I think the fat lady's done sung her song.

Obama will win the nomination.

Jack's picture

Following the Rules...

I'm with you on following the rules, but "Fair" challenging of the current pledged delegate count doesn't necessarily equal "Untainted".

In an election where Party Unity might decide the election, an unnecessary challenge could be counterproductive, adding more controversy and fueling existing resentment.

Within the confines of the DNC rules, allow the Obama to go unchallenged, or with minimal symbolic challenge. Hillary Clinton could voluntarily make this happen, and the Clintons could begin to repair the wounds of a toughly fought primary, and their own place in history.

R. Neal's picture

challenging of the current

challenging of the current pledged delegate count

Not sure I follow you there. I'm just saying there should be a roll call vote for the record. No candidate has a majority of pledged delegates.

I don't see how calling for a vote is an "unnecessary challenge," or how it's counterproductive, or a challenge at all. But it will put the debate to rest, and reinforce unity. That's just my opinion.

I agree on the last point that Clinton could make it all moot. But that's up to her, and she hasn't. (Although she is signaling that she's running for Senate in 2012 and has asked to be allowed to transfer general election campaign funds to that race, I believe.)

Brian A.'s picture

I agree. I don't quite get

I agree. I don't quite get all this media-driven hand-wringing regarding Democratic party unity.

If the GOP had had a close primary, would we be seeing all these doubts raised that the party would rally behind the nominee?

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

RayCapps's picture

Depends on the Split...

If you had a Libertarian-Right candidate who was fairly moderate on social issues and a Social Conservative candidate who was populist on economic issues standing as close in pledged delegates as Obama-Clinton, you wouldn't just be hearing about disunity, but about whether or not the whole party would split apart.

At its most bitter, the Obama-Clinton split was along identity lines. If that had played out differently, it could have been ruinous for the whole of the Democratic Party. By the end, though, the split was largely between blue collar moderates for Clinton and a progressive/African-American alliance for Obama because Democratic women voters didn't manage to form and hold together as a cohesive voting block. I don't think that's quite as dangerous a division and one more easily healed than an African-American versus Woman split.

McCain is the best possible GOP candidate to move on Hillary's supporters given his reputation as a moderate maverick, but I think there's just way too much Bush Baggage for him to overcome this year (at least I'm hoping so).

Brian A.'s picture

Because there weren't

Because there weren't significant policy differences between Obama and Clinton, I didn't make much of the rift. I guess I don't put as much stock into identity politics as some people do.

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

Sean_Braisted's picture

Its Up To Hillary and Her Delegates

Here is the thing, they can't stop her. In 2004, two names were called, John Kerry and Dennis Kucinich. The DNC can't and won't change the rules so that only Barack Obama's name can be thrown out there. But what the other candidates can do, is refuse the nomination by the convention delegates, release them from their pledge, and ask them to support the presumptive nominee.

This decision won't be Pelosi, Dean, or Obama's, it'll be Hillary Clinton's. However, they'll probably not talk much about the issue until the convention, to save the Super-delegates from being inundated with calls from the Insanocrat Deadenders who think Hillary still has a shot at the nomination.

lovable liberal's picture

Pledges and then pledges

While it's true that elected delegates can vote however they choose, the campaigns take great pains to pick delegates who pledge strong loyalty to their candidate. So the sense in which a delegate is pledged is that the delegate himself/herself pledged support.

Party regulars have a lot to lose if they go their own way after a public vow of support. Clinton's supporters will remain firm if not released.

Insurgents have passion. Obama's supporters will remain firm, too, although the caucus processes may elect delegates who are a little more subject to changing their minds.

Liberty and justice for all.

My home

R. Neal's picture

Dean Confirms Hillary Will

bill young's picture


Talked to a Clinton delegate yesterday.

Didn't think Hillary would be placed in nomination.

"She doesn't want that." was the way the Clinton
delegate put it.

Steven's picture

2004 Convention

In 2004 I went to Boston as a pledged delegate for Edwards. Even though Kerry had secured the nomination, I still proudly cast my pledged vote for Edwards as a symbolic gesture for my support of Edwards.
It is the right of EVERY delegate to cast their vote. Although I support Obama, his campaign and the DNC have turned my stomach to think they will try to stop Democracy and not allow folks to cast their vote. As mentioned above, Obama does NOT have the nomination. He doesn't have the pledged votes to win. This is the big difference between now and 2004. And they are worried as they should be. It would only take a handful of delegates to change the outcome to Clinton. And quite frankly, if team Obama and the DNC keep trying to deny people the right to vote, I will gladly switch my vote to Clinton.

Johnny Ringo's picture

Oh, I seriously doubt

Oh, I seriously doubt Edwards will be on the ballot. He might not even be at the convention.

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