Slow Down, Speaker Pelosi

April 2008
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in Denver today to launch the Democratic National Convention Committee's Green Delegate Challenge and took some questions. Pelosi said she'd like the superdelegates to decide between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in June. DNC Chair Howard Dean this weekend said he'd like to see the nomination wrapped up by July. The last primary is in the beginning of June. The convention is not until 12 weeks later, at the end of August. What's her hurry? There are 10 states with 12 million registered voters yet to weigh in. There is no resolution on how to count the 2.3 million votes cast in Florida and Michigan. Everyone would like to avoid a brokered convention, but calling for votes 12 weeks ahead of the convention is unnecessary. The superdelegates will make their choices when they are ready, most likely within weeks after the last June primary. The extended primary contest is not likely to be detrimental in the long-term.
Many of the 320 or so party leaders and elected officials who have yet to commit cite a number of reasons: They can't choose between two good candidates, they don't want to interfere with the will of voters, and they think the extended contest will strengthen the party. "There are a lot of things going on underneath this boiling cauldron between the candidates that will be good for us long term," said Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), an uncommitted superdelegate, noting the 26,000 new Democrats who registered in Cuyahoga County before the Ohio primary. "I'm not in a hurry to do this." ....While many Democrats worry that the extended nomination battle could wound the eventual candidate, others believe it could prove to be a blessing. In virtually every state that has voted, Democrats have turned out in record numbers. More than 230,000 new party members signed up in Pennsylvania alone. And Obama and Clinton are building grass-roots organizations that can be readily reactivated in the general election.
In 1992, Bill Clinton didn't secure the nomination until June. As DNC Chair Howard Dean said this week:
"[T]he most important people of all are the voters. We've got...nine states plus Puerto Rico left to go, and I think the voters ought to have their say." Dean also argued that the long fight for the Democratic nomination has been good for the party because it has generated intense excitement and drawn hundreds of thousands of new voters to the party. "We're going to be in great shape," Dean said on ABC. "I know the higher echelons of the Democratic Party are wringing their hands over this. The fact of the matter is we're having record turnouts everywhere. We get to run an election in Pennsylvania four or five months before the big election. We haven't done that in years. I think this is actually going to make it easier for us to win as long as we keep the party together."
Speaker Pelosi should spend more time trying to solve the Florida/Michigan vote dilemma and less trying to speed up the process. There's plenty of time between July and November to campaign against John McCain.