Voters head to the polls in frigid Wisconsin and Hawaii today. Wisconsin's 74 pledged delegates are in play but it’s the delegates, or more accurately, the wannabe delegates from Michigan and Florida that are sending chills down Democrats’ spines.
The Democratic National Committee’s delegate allocation rules mean the nomination likely will not be decided by the end of the voting season. So, there is growing concern that the unresolved status of the Michigan and Florida delegations will lead to chaos at the national convention.
In a conference call with reporters, Obama’s national campaign manager David Plouffe said:
The DNC has been pretty clear because of their rules, there are no delegates awarded. There is no tolerance for the Clinton campaign trying to change the rules. …Any effort to try to seat Florida and Michigan will not be tolerated by the party leadership.
Nor will any political machinations be tolerated by the Rev. Al Sharpton. At the weekly rally of the National Action Network, Sharpton said:
The Democratic National Committee set the rules and publicized the consequences. ...Now they want to change the rules and seat the people of Michigan and Florida, which is a direct violation of the voting rights of the citizens of those states who didn’t vote because they were told their votes wouldn’t count.
Sharpton made it clear he is “not helping Obama.” Instead, he’s “helping voting rights.” He added:
We will fight with litigation or demonstration. We will go to the courts or the streets, but we will not seat the Michigan and Florida delegations. If I can fight the Republicans in 2000 about a voting rights matter, certainly I’m not going to let the party I voted for violate voting rights.
No matter what happens, we’re going to be on the front ready to go. …The process must be clear and fair and obvious to all.
Sharpton made note that the shortage of hotel rooms in Denver will not be a problem:
We’ll camp out right where you’re staying. It’s hot in Denver, we’ll sleep outside.
And don’t expect Sharpton to be singing “Kumbaya” around a campfire.