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Friday, February 29, 2008

The Texas Democratic Party Says Clinton May Sue

In a never ending pattern to "change" the rules, once again we see reports that Hillary Clinton's campaign may be planning to pursue litigation against the Texas Democratic Party over the party's complicated delegate selection process.
How the Texas primaries and caucuses work:

Unlike other states, the Democratic Party in Texas has an unusual process which mixes primaries and caucuses, something Texas has done for decades.

Instead of allocating by congressional districts, Texas distributes 126 of its delegates among the 31 state Senate districts using a formula based on Democratic voter turnout in the 2004 and 2006 general elections.

The 31 districts contain from two to eight delegates. The March 4 primary vote in each Senate district will allocate that district's delegates.

In this particular race, that seems to favor Obama because the turnout formula assigns more delegates to urban centers with a lot of young or black voters and fewer delegates to the areas of poorer Hispanic voters which would tend to favor Clinton.

Here is where it gets tricky though, Texas also assigns 67 of their 228 delegates based on attendance at precinct caucuses, which Texas calls conventions, and those begin 15 minutes after the primary polls close at 7 pm.

Obama has done far better in caucuses until now than Clinton has, he has won 12 out of 15 caucuses against Clinton and in primaries he has only won 13 to her 9.

Which brings us to today's news, where we see reports that a Democratic official, privy to certain discussions, confirmed that representatives for Clinton had made "veiled threats" raising the spector of "challenging the process" and the formula used by Texas in awarding delegates.

The source, who asked not to be identified, said Clinton's political director, Guy Cecil, had forcefully raised the possibility of a courtroom battle.

Clinton's top Texas spokeswoman, Adrienne Elrod,said, "campaign and party officials had merely discussed election night procedures and that the campaign was merely seeking a written agreement in advance."

Despite that statement, we also see that Chad Dunn, the Texas Democratic Party lawyer, sent out a letter to both the Clinton and Obama campaigns warning that a lawsuit could ruin the Democrats' effort to re-energize voters just as they are turning out in record numbers.

According to that letter, Dunn wrote "It has been brought to my attention that one or both of your campaigns may already be planning or intending to pursue litigation against the Texas Democratic Party. Such action could prove to be a tragedy for a reinvigorated Democratic process."

Are Clinton and Obama, in their battle to win the presidential nomination for the Democratic party, prepared to disenfranchise voters, or worse yet, destroy the desire of Democratic supporters to even show up for the November elections?

Democratic sources said both campaigns have made it clear that they might consider legal options over the complicated delegate selection process, which includes both a popular vote and evening caucuses. But the sources made it clear that the Clinton campaign in particular had warned of an impending lawsuit.

"Both campaigns have made it clear that they would go there if they had to, but I think the imminent threat is coming from one campaign," said one top Democratic official, referring to the Clinton campaign. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

Changing the rules:

The reason this was referred to as a pattern, above, is because we have seen reports over the last couple of months of other rules that Clinton has sought to have changed, midstream, so to speak.


In what the New York Times called a "proxy" battle between Clinton and Obama, the Nevada State Education Association, whose top officials were supporting Hillary Clinton, filed a lawsuit (PDF) to prevent nine precincts that were established in casinos so that hotel workers that would not be able to leave their jobs would still be able to participate in the caucuses for their home precincts.

This lawsuit came after a 60,000 member group, the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226 in Nevada had endorsed Barack Obama. Those were primarily the workers that would be voting in those nine casino precincts.

The Nevada judge in that case refused to grant the teachers a temporary restraining order to stop those caucuses.

Michigan and Florida:

Florida and Michigan moved their primaries forward and the DNC decided to penalize them for it by stripping all their delegates from the convention.

After winning the states, Hillary Clinton then decided that she wanted the DNC to reinstate those delegates.

Recently Bill Clinton told an audience in Beaumont, Texas, "If she wins Texas and Ohio I think she will be the nominee. If you don't deliver for her, I don't think she can be. It's all on you."

Texas is a must win for Hillary Clinton and the recent polls show that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are running neck and neck there and as per Bill Clinton's statements, this may be Hillary's last chance to keep herself as a serious contender to become the Democratic nominee for president of the united States of America.

The question is how far will she go to win and to what degree is she prepared to harm the Democratic party to obtain that win?

Personally, I don't think Hillary Clinton cares about the party at all. Power is all she cares about.