Friday, March 7, 2008

Proposal to Mayor Bloomberg: Save the Democratic National Committee, Pay for New Michigan and Florida Primaries

The Democratic National Committee has really made a mess of things. Its response to Michigan and Florida moving their primaries up to dates that threatened a stampede of states all moving their primaries to earlier and earlier dates - a real concern - was to punish the people of Michigan and Florida, the Democratic Party, and indeed the democratic process itself by refusing to count the results of those primaries. The DNC announced the punishment, the candidates didn't campaign in Florida, Barack Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan, and the results of those primaries became indeed invalid.

I said back in January, before the Michigan primary, that the DNC's response was stupid, and, now, with the nomination still hotly contested, what the DNC did looks outrightly crazy. Fortunately, both the DNC and the two states are saying they would like to do the primaries over - acceptable under DNC rules - but now there's another problem:

Money. Neither the DNC nor Michigan and Florida want to bear the cost of new primaries - which apparently would come to $30 million.

So, the good idea of fixing this mess with new primaries may founder for a lack of money - or, a willingness to spend it for such a crucial purpose.

Here's my suggestion: a billionaire, with an interest in democracy, and doing it right, should step up and cover the cost of the primaries. Fifty million dollars is chicken feed to a billionaire.

In fact, I can think of a billionaire with a great love for democracy: Mayor Mike Bloomberg of New York City.

How about it, Mayor Mike - with a stroke of your pen and small dip into your private finances, you could bail the Democratic party out of this mess, and maybe even save the country.
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