The Corner

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Levin’s Disappointment


The great irony of this Michigan primary is that after Democratic Senator Carl Levin’s years of effort to move up Michigan’s primary to make his state more politically relevant, his own party is stepping on the moment. Thanks to national party rules – and a dysfunctional state Democratic party – most of the Democratic candidates aren’t on the ballot here.

Levin is well aware of the irony. When asked if Michigan primary is still relevant, he mumbles” “Well, it’s more relevant on the Republican side.”

Though Democratic candidates officially removed their names from the ballot to avoid offending the national party (which disapproves of Michigan’s move, and is threatening harsh – if empty – sanctions not to seat state convention delegates), the reality is that state Democratic officials – pressed by their union puppeteers  – didn’t want a primary here.

Unions prefer caucuses and the prospect of open primaries, insiders say, threatened a planned coronation of union-favorite John Edwards, who would have benefitted from the special-interest friendly caucus format.

As a result, while the Republicans quickly drafted legislation guaranteeing their candidates would campaign, Democratic chairman Mark Brewer made sure the Democratic legislation contained poison pills, that 1.) would tie the bill up in court over voter lists and 2.) allow the candidates to remove their names from the ballot.

Contrast that approach to Florida – also sanctioned by the national party – but that drafted a bill that still includes all the Democratic candidates on its late January primary ballot despite candidate promises not to campaign there. In effect, Michigan’s “party of the people” has disenfranchised its own voters.