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Delegates for Kucinich


THURSDAY, July 29, 2004 -- Lost in all the muckety-mucks, hoopla, and security is the real purpose of the Democrats' national convention: the counting up of the delegate votes to see who will be the party's nominee to run for President of the United States. By this point, everyone has bought into the mantra, espoused by politicians and media alike, that the vote-counting process is a formality. Thanks to our compressed and orchestrated primary/caucus system, it's clear to everyone who the nominee will be long before the start of the convention, although most people hang on to calling John Kerry the "presumptive" nominee until after the convention's over with. John Edwards, during his speech Wednesday night, didn't even bother with playing along: He said he was "so humbled to be your candidate," when, in fact, he wasn't yet the official candidate. And after his speech ended, the FleetCenter emptied like a fire alarm had just gone off.

Yet there was much of interest to be found in that formality of a process. There was the staging of the event, for instance. It was as well scripted as any telecast. State parties even had to submit the language they were going to use in announcing their votes as early as Monday afternoon to be checked over by the party bosses. Wouldn't want any surprises going out over national television, that's for sure.

So it began. Though the counting would normally have proceeded in alphabetical order, the state of Alabama yielded to the state of Massachusetts, so John Kerry's home state could be the first to cast nominating votes for him. Kerry's brother, Cameron, and sister Diana, yielded to by the Massachusetts party chair, "proudly cast 121 votes for John Kerry." Okay.

Then, poor little Alaska, so rarely in the spotlight, too had to give up their slot and yield to North Carolina, so that John Edwards's home state could be the second to show their unwavering support. But They led off with four votes for Dennis Kucinich? Who? Is that someone people are allowed to vote for in this formality of a process? Regardless, NC's party chair made it known that "I am extremely proud and honored" to cast 102 votes for John Kerry. What, he wasn't proud and honored to cast votes for little old Dennis?

North Carolina was more accomodating than some, perhaps. Georgia, for instance, had 101 votes allotted to them, but, after dishing some props to former senator Max Cleeland, only cast 98 votes for John Kerry. Hmmm. What happened to the other three? Georgia only had delegates pledged to Kerry and John Edwards. Could it be that three Edwards delegates didn't toe the party line and rather cast their nominating vote for the delegate to who they were pledged? Did three delegates get lost on the subway and not show up? The official record, if everyone was there, will only show whether they voted for Kerry, or were "present" or abstained. Same thing happened with Louisiana. They cast only 71 of their 72 available votes for John Kerry. Did another southern state decide to throw a bone to the southern boy Edwards? And how about New Mexico? They cast only 37 for their 40 votes for John Kerry. Did a Dean or Clark delegate jump ship?

Maine, a state with six of their 35 delegates pledged to Dennis Kucinich, worked hard all week on how they would acknowledge these Kucinich folks, many of whom had been brought into the party by Kucinich's progressive passion and antiwar stance, during the vote counting. State party chair Dottie Melanson had said earlier in the week that they were working on a solution to the problem and was confident they would find a way to both express their diverse voices and put forward a unified show for the Kerry/Edwards ticket. It looks like they reached a middle ground after all. Melanson cast 28 votes for John Kerry and six votes for Dennis Kucinich, and said "the entire delegation looks forward to working tirelessly" for the election of John Kerry. It was nicely worded and bound to satisfy supporters of both candidates back home. It's likely Maine and Hawaii were in communication. HI cast 17 votes for Kerry, eight for Kucinich, and noted that "all 25 delegates are committed to electing John Kerry as the next President of the United States." Oregon handled things in similar impressive fashion. They cast "three votes for ambassador of peace Dennis Kucinich" and 56 for Kerry. That's a nice nod to Dennis's efforts.

He ended up with 43 votes in all, which means all but 24 of his delegates rejected their release.


Issue Date: July 29, 2004
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