Who’s Disenfranchised?

As both campaigns prepare to make their case for what to do about Florida and Michigan before the Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC), I wanted to focus your attention on an issue that has gotten too little attention.

The Clinton campaign argues that if the delegates from these non-sanctioned primaries are not seated hundreds of thousand of voters in Florida and Michigan will be disenfranchised.

The other side argues that it is wrong to change the rules of the nomination process after the fact in order to advantage one candidate over another. The latter is an argument I agree with — but there’s no question it lacks the emotive impact of the disenfranchisement argument.

What doesn’t get mentioned, however, is this: it was widely reported and understood in both Florida and Michigan that the results of these primaries would not be counted. And based on that knowledge, large numbers of voters in both states simply didn’t participate.

If the DNC were now to turn around and decide to make these contests count after all, these non-participating voters would be disenfranchised no less than the people who did turn out would be if the DNC sticks to the rules and doesn’t seat any of the delegates. The simple fact is that large numbers of people, acting on accurate knowledge and in good faith, decided that there wasn’t a real primary being held in their state on the day in question and on that basis decided not to participate.

Now, the question is, How can we really know how many people didn’t show up because they were told it wasn’t a real election? There is of course no way to arrive at a direct answer, at least no practical one. But this post by Eric Kleefeld, which builds on a statistical analysis by Gregory P. Nini and Glenn Hurowitz, makes a very strong case that as many as one million voters in Florida and probably more than a half million voters in Michigan did not vote who otherwise would have if they had not believed that the results would not be counted. Take a look.

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