Null and Void: Democrats’ Roll Call in Retrospect

Suspending Rules and Winning “By Acclamation”

I am proud to call on the Senator from New York to make the following presentation, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton:

Madam Secretary, on behalf of the great state of New York, with appreciation for the spirit and dedication of all who are gathered here, with eyes firmly fixed on the future, in the spirit of unity, with a goal of victory, with faith in our party and our county, let’s declare together in one voice, right here, right now that Barack Obama is our candidate, and he will be our President. (yays and boos)

Madam Secretary, I move that the Convention suspend the procedural rules and suspend the further conduct of the roll call vote. All votes cast by the delegates will be counted, and that I move Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this Convention by acclamation as the nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States. (yays and boos — Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, chanting)

“Wuh Roo?” said Scooby Doo, “What Did I See On TV?”

This was bothering me. Many of you have moved on to whatever’s next in your PUMA/Just Say No Deal/Democrat or anti-establishment lives. But I’m not that way. I can’t move forward until I understand and sort out what I have witnessed.

What exactly did we see on the “Democratic” Convention floor last Wednesday, August 27, 2008? Why was the roll call halted halfway through? Why did state after state in which Hillary won the primary election and a majority of delegates declare their votes for Obama? Who and what do all those delegates’ votes represent? As each “Great State of” our Union called out its numbers, I wondered, what was the actual delegate count? I felt compelled to compare the roll call vote with the delegate count that we were supposed to get. After all, why pull the lever if it doesn’t even matter? Wow, now that’s deja vu all over again, ain’t it?

What About My Vote?

I will recap three points that we’ve been saying for months. I’m restating, because many citizens do not realize what happened right before their eyes: The delegate count in this election was not a fair reflection of the Democratic Party electorate. 1) Hillary Clinton WON the popular vote. (Resources and numbers nearly impossible to reconcile, based on FL, MI, and caucus votes) 2) There exists growing documentation, compiled by Lynette Long and ordinary poll and election worker reporting, that caucus fraud was rampant. This occurred in the form of systematic, deliberate suppression, misinformation, pressure, and bullying, mishandling of voter and caucus rolls, and ignoring basic caucus rules. 3) Each delegate elected from a district or region in a primary state represents approximately 12,225 primary voters, but only 2,110 voters in a caucus state. Accordingly, a caucus delegate represents about 5.8 times fewer voters than one elected in a primary. So, when Obama “won” a caucus, each of those delegates stood for far fewer voters. This is especially important in the general election in the red and swing states. Pat Buchanan called Wednesday’s spectacle a phony roll call vote in his op-ed, “And If Obama Loses.”

Why Is This Year Different Than Any Other Year?

Laying that aside for now, let’s talk about how the Democratic Party screwed Hillary Clinton and everyone who was connected to her around that roll call vote. At least that was my impression leading up to and viewing it on TV. Even the scheduled time was in flux. In my recollection, in every other election year, it had been held at night for everyone to view. But this year, Hillary Clinton, the person who won the most primary votes in history, had to negotiate for her right to be on the ballot and have a roll call vote on the convention floor. Her supporters wrote thousands and thousands of letters, emails, and blogs. They raised money, ran political ads, and spoke out in the media to help the delegates stick with the one that brung ’em. All this, because the DNC leadership and Obama’s campaign were so afraid of Hillary’s success after saying they could win the general election without all of us old and new dedicated party regulars. All year they tried to strong-arm us in to Unity and make her quit.

Our dedicated coalition members worked tirelessly to have a full roll call vote and a nominating speech for Hillary on the floor during prime time. We appealed to delegates and Superdelegates with petitions, and petitions on top of petitions. We didn’t know what would happen until the last minute, although we suspected. The same with Bill Clinton’s speech: off on, off on, but not during prime time, after they edited him.

And Then It Happened . . .

All of a sudden the roll call was on, but many of us were unable to get the live-streaming on our computers, so we ran several blocks away to a “Hillary-friendly” Denver bar. We saw states yield to other states on their votes, then the Convention floor was all abuzz, as our candidate was introduced as a simple Senator, with no mention of her historic win — just one of the guys delegation. She was on the floor with her fellow NY legislators. Then they made her eat sh*t, while they had her turn around and f*cked her up the a**, while reading a “stop the vote, we’re all onboard” speech. (Oh, I should have warned you: XXX, not my usual sedate lady self, is it? I feel a little strongly about this.) Everything was orchestrated, as CA, IL, and NM yielded so that Hillary, in a great show of U-N-I-T-Y, could cast all votes of her own NY State for Obama, throwing the delegate totals over the top. Oh, right, she likes it like that, because she’s a politician. But I’m not.

Yes, we’re all good soldiers and must move on to the next front. Many already have and are considering both individually and as a group what to do leading to November and beyond. However, many people aren’t clear about what happened, and are incensed that the vote was stopped mid-stream. Below, I’ve compiled the number of delegates won by state and candidate, how the numbers changed during the roll call vote, total number of delegates, and total number of votes cast. This list is variable, depending on the source and date and because it contains Superdelegates. On the morning of the roll call vote, 10 delegates flipped back to Hillary, and the petition effort was contacted by several Superdelegates who wanted to switch to her as well, some under the lights of the press.

Fair Reflection? Arkansas, Florida, and Michigan

Just a few words about fair reflection: Arkansas flipped. The Chairman of their delegation and DNC party head, Bill Gwatney, had been murdered two weeks prior. Heard anything in the news about it? Word is that his entire delegation had signed the 300 petition to ensure that Hillary’s name be placed on the ballot. In a twist of irony, his wife delivered their state’s votes to the Convention: Unanimous for Obama, after Hillary had won their state of origin by the largest margin of the primary: 70%. Arkansas.

Florida and Michigan votes were denied and blocked by Obama, until the May 31, 2008 DNC RBC meeting when he became a charity case. The committee donated four of Senator Clinton’s Michigan delegates and all the uncommitted vote delegates, which had included votes for other candidates. Obama had removed his name from that state’s ballot, fearing a loss would taint his chances in Iowa. However, Clinton kept hers on, stating that although the votes wouldn’t count, the voters should have a say. She was smart and right.

The Rules and Bylaws Committee refused to tackle their problem of fully seating delegates representing 2.3 million voters in both states. Instead they made each delegate into half-votes, and referred an incensed Harold Ickes, attorney for Senator Clinton, to the more appropriate Credentials Committee to contest their ruling in Denver on August 24, 2008. On August 5, Obama wrote a letter to that committee, requesting that those delegations be seated and counted in full. On August 20, when they no longer had any effect on Hillary’s campaign, as they would have had they been counted when she won them, those delegations were seated in-full. I learned on August 24 that the Credentials Committee and the Rules and Bylaws Committee were comprised of the exact same people. So I guess they really meant: talk to the hand.

How Am I Driving? Pass and Yield

Lastly, how about that orchestrated roll call, pass/yield deal? It began like any other roll call. Hillary would have her due. It had been rumored for over a week that she might release her delegates before a roll call vote on the floor. This prompted a new 20% or 826 delegate petition requiring a vote. Then came word of a secret hotel vote, then a Wednesday meeting with Clinton and all her delegates in which she released them and advised they vote their conscience. She’d cast hers for Obama.

Back to the roll call: First, California passes on casting their 441 votes, of which Hillary won over half. As Barbara Boxer yields to Hillary supporter Art Torres to make the announcement, she gleefully turns to her delegation and giggles. It’s as if Boxer was saying, “Ooo, what a coup! Aren’t we clever!” Come their turn, Illinois passes. New Mexico yields back to Illinois, who yields to New York. Then a hustle bustle on the floor, so Clinton could deliver the perfect Unity blow, right into her own back. Gee, it just doesn’t get better than this, does it?

Is It Safe To Vote?

Exactly, why do we vote if “delegates” can just switch their votes, and on the first ballot no less? Why should Superdelegates be able to have a more influential vote than any ordinary citizen, enough to sway their state and an election, as perpetrated by a biased and corrupt political party? I am committed to reforming the system to one person one vote. If we don’t have that, what do we have as citizens? It’s our most basic democratic right.

The chart below shows by state the combined delegate/Superdelegate count awarded to each candidate, the first ballot floor vote, total number of delegates per state, and total votes each cast during the convention. I completed the chart for the rest of the states. By directing Superdelegates to declare their endorsements before the convention in a DNCC and DSCC letter, in press conferences and public appearances, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid nullified their original intent. The numbers, which include SDs, seem less close than they actually were.

Democratic Delegate Count vs. Roll Call Count, Democratic Convention, August 27, 2008

AL           28           29            5          48         60            53
AK            4           14            3          15         18            18
AM SAMOA      6            3            0           9          9             9
AZ           35           31           27          40         67            67
AR           38            8            0          47         47            47
CA          232          200           PASSES                441             0
CO           23           45           15          55         70            70
CT           36           24           21          38         60            59
DEL           8           14            0          23         23            23
DEMS ABRD     4            7            2.5         8.5       11            11
DC           13           25            7          33         40            40
FL          104           78           51         136        211           188
GA           29           70           18          82        102           100
GUAM          4            5            3           4          9             7
HI            8           21            1          26         27            27
ID            3           19            3          20         23            23
IL            0            0           PASSES                  0             0
IN           42           41            6          75         85            81
IA           17           35            9          48         57            57
KS           10           30            6          34         41            40
KY           40           16           24          36         60            60
LA           26           39            7          43         67            50
ME           10           21            8          24         32            32
MD           39           55            6          94        100           100
MA           66           51           52          65        121           117
MI           76           72           27         125        157           152
MN           27           58            8          78         88            86
MS           13           25            8          33         41            41
MO           41           46            6          82         88            88
MT            7           17            7          18         25            25
NE            8           22            3          28         31            31
NV           13           20            8          25         34            33
NH           12           15            0          30         30            30
NJ           71           55            0         127        127           127
NM           20           17           YIELDS TO IL           38             0
IL           49          133           YIELDS TO NY          185             0
NY          159          121            0         282        282           282
           1321         1482          341.5      1831.5      2907         2174

NC           51           78
ND            5           15
OH           82           74
OK           25           21
OR           23           41
PA          101           80
PR           42           19
RI           21           10
SC           14           39
SD            9           12
TN           46           35
TX CAUC      29           38
TX           79           75
UT           11           17
VT            7           14
VI            3            6
VA           33           63
WA CAUC      31           61
WV           23           12
WI           34           53
WY            6           12
            675          775
          +1321        +1482
           1996         2257

Source, delegate count: CNN Primary Results Scorecard
Source, roll call vote: CSPAN live tape up top

Total number of delegates: 4234
Number of delegates needed for nomination, including FL and MI: 2211
Numbers in chart include Superdelegates: Obama 438, Clinton 236

Et tu, Brute?

So why did so many states flip? Sources say that on the morning of the floor vote, everything was complete. Many opinions say it was finished on or before the May 31, 2008 DNC RBC meeting. But not believing our eyes and ears, in service of democracy, we kept on to preserve our and the rights of our candidate. We’ve since learned that as late as August 27, during the convention, swing-state delegations were being threatened with loss of Party funding for their states and candidate campaigns if they didn’t vote for Obama. Evidently, Obama needed Hillary more than she needed him. Otherwise, they would not have had a sham roll call or a Mile High speech to prop him up.

Oh, and as far as going Repug, it ain’t me, babe, although I will never cast a vote for Obama. In my life, the means are absolutely as important as the end, and I cannot support a candidate who derives power “by any means necessary.” If I have to cast a protest vote, I will. However, remember who brung Brazile? Her info emails with Karl Rove beginning in 2003 helped him help her promote the most unelectable Democratic candidate. So, let’s not forget who’s still trying to pull the strings and who’s still laughing all the way to the bank. Criminal, ain’t it? Too bad, Dems still ain’t got a clue.

In conclusion, Hillary and Bill Clinton were in an impossible, lose-lose situation. Some supporters got disgusted and thought they caved. I don’t think so. In order to come out of this, being seen as having done everything possible to nominate and elect Barack Obama — a far more generous and political act than exists in his little finger — The Clintons did everything possible, Bill while holding his nose, and came out smelling sweet as a rose. Party people all the way, and on to the next challenge. Yes, I’m getting there.

[“Evita,” music Andrew Lloyd Weber, lyrics Tim Rice]

[cross-posted from The Confluence]

21 thoughts on “Null and Void: Democrats’ Roll Call in Retrospect

  1. These numbers are hard to come by.

    I have written to the Convention general email as well as Real Clear Politics editorial board to ask when the final roll call tally will be posted. No response. Although RCP has only had the email for less than one day, so they may respond as yet.

    The only other place (besides this post today) I have seen the numbers posted is here:

  2. kj4hillary — Ah, very good on all fronts. Well, yesterday was a holiday, but these numbers, including clear primary totals (because of the wavering caucus and FL/MI inclusions) have been hard to come by. RCP had primary totals w/ MI but not FL.

    Anyway, thanks a bunch for the resource! That’s great. I’m glad to see my hand-totaled numbers added up!

  3. Lady Boomer, kudos for the hand-crafted counting. Abacus, anyone? ; ) In the e-campaign we’ve seen unfold, it’s a shame the critical data isn’t being sent out.

  4. Hillary Clinton actually won more pledged delegates in the primary contests, even when Florida and Michigan are not counted!

    Hillary Clinton actually had a super delegate lead in the beginning of the race of over a hundred delegates. It was media pressure that started shifting super delegates to Barack Obama at a pace that was not in line with the actual vote totals that were coming in.

    Virtually every caucus state that Barack Obama won by a 2-1 margin had a poll taken just prior to the vote that showed Hillary Clinton either leading or tied with Barack Obama.

    At the end of the day, Media, led by Dan Abrams of MSNBC, spun that the super delegates should not overturn the will of pledged delegates, even though Barack Obama’s lead came entirely from caucus contests which did not participate in Fair Reflection.

    Super delegates submitted to the result of caucus contests that did nor represent fair reflection.

  5. Ladyboomer, do I have multiple personality? I have a whole ‘nother identity that appears to think exactly like yours. Are you me? I am speechless. And that you end it with Evita – so far you and I are the only ones I have seen making that analogy. I tears my heart out.

    As an NJ voter, I saw my Governor shred my vote tight before Hillary was put through a process I would call to torture. When the PUMA coalition advised writing to our Attorneys General to complain, I sent this letter to Governer Corzine, Att’y Gen. Anne Millgram, The NY Times, The Record, and The Star Ledger:

    Open Letter to NJ Gov Jon Corzine
    August 29, 2008
    Dear Jon,

    Thank you for your expedient solution to the unbearable waste of time traditionally spent counting delegate votes in the roll call on the convention floor. It is so boring to have to listen to speakers tout their states’ nicknames and claims to fame. Even worse, when the votes are recorded, the result is often inconclusive and we have to go through the whole thing again. Not to mention the interminable passes and yields. Omigod! How can anybody expect the electorate to tolerate such a tedious procedure on prime-time TV?

    Of course I must assign credit where credit is due, clearly it was the DNC leadership and not you who decided the roll call should occur at a time when most Americans were not at home regardless of time zone. But it was you who managed to provide the delegate votes necessary to put Senator Obama close to clinching placing Senator Clinton in the position of ending a process that must have been agonizing for her. Incidentally, that was a genius stroke: allowing a candidate on the convention floor during the roll call to see how well or poorly the vote was going for her. Who would blame her for stopping the call?

    When you gave the 127 delegate votes from the Great Garden State of New Jersey to Senator Barack Obama, you certainly brought the boring old roll call to merciful end. Here’s my problem. The residents of New Jersey pay high taxes, and for those of us who make middle income salaries, keeping up with the taxes is fast winning the race against keeping even one paycheck ahead of disaster. And I am not complaining about that. I see that the party knows we are in financial distress as a nation, and ANY candidate from this party would have to have the economy as a priority on the platform.

    Along with my fellow New Jersey taxpayers, I helped to fund a primary election in this state that never arrived as representative votes in our presence on prime-time TV in this age of sophisticated technology. The roll call vote was covert and opaque rather than overt and transparent. The delegate vote that you read into the record, did not represent the result of the primary that we all paid for. In that primary, the New Jersey majority went to Hillary Clinton. When you read the votes into the record, you gave all of New Jersey’s 127 votes to Barack Obama. Essentially, Governor Corzine, you shredded our votes!

    Hillary Clinton always told us that she was applying for the job of President. She knows what elections and public offices are. Your job is also an elected one. You just flunked the interview for your next term. It was especially disturbing that someone who had supported Hillary so strongly throughout would have done this. Why not pass and let the end of the alphabet – states that actually gave Obama big votes provide the 127?

    If anything other than faithlessness was at work here, the Democratic Party has a serious problem, and party unity is a myth.

    Your constituent,

    The only thing I wish I had included: “Taxation without Representation is Tyranny!”

  6. One more thing: I also used a video from Evita on my blog as the vote approached.

    Re-framing the context, the lines from “A New Argentina”:

    “We have ways of making you vote for us
    or at least of making you abstain”

    Referring to the caucus gaming by Obama forces.

    Another that line that passed through my mind in the aftermath as it became clear to msm that there was a coalition out here called PUMA, but they thought we were very small:

    The line from “I’d Be Good For You”

    “There’s only twenty of them anyway
    what is twenty as to millions who
    are looking to you?”

    (That would be Michelle singing).

    See you at the Confluence 😉

  7. Lady Boomer NYC, I also want to know what happened on the floor at the DNC convention on Aug.27. Since Feb., we have all had to face some hard facts: 1) the DNC in its current form is more corrupt than anything we’ve ever witnessed in this country 2) the “good ole boys club” was simply not going to turn loose of their entrenched power and their actions time and again proved that their attitude was “Hillary and 18 million voters be damned” 3) the fix was in and it was in a long time ago, at least as early as Super Tuesday and probably months before that. So, what do we do now? These things must be addressed (after Nov. 5), but for now, we should turn all our energy on weeding out as many of these spineless elected officials who participated in the fraud perpetrated against Sen. Hillary Clinton. Nov. 4th is our oppportunity to say to the corruption that we witnessed by Democrats that we once supported, defended, admired and respected, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Not only should we say “Nobama” in November. We should say “No” to the fraud and corruption we’ve seen in our Democratic party who obviously let the power we gave them in 2006 go to their heads.

  8. Please note:

    I have confirmed with Mr. Berg, Attorney, that a Motion
    has been filed against Obama to the fact he is not a US
    citizen and therefore he can not run for President of the
    United States of America.

    Please visit:

  9. To Lady Boomer;

    It was great you got the figures for the final roll call

    however, Illinois shows as no delegates? They must have

    had some delegates like every state has? What is the

    situation there? Thanks for supplying that info tho.

  10. Steedeo — IL is listed second to last, when their delegation came back in after NM and then yielded to NY. How set up was that???? I made the mistake before publishing in listing them twice, and you’ll find their delegate numbers only once, only not actually counted in the roll call vote.

  11. Thank you for the synopsis of the clear death of Democracy. It is a great body of work – the numbers fuel my rage.

    I will be checking your site here on a daily basis now.

    Would it be possible to make a CD – this Story – this aberrant “Democratic” Primary/
    Nomination needs to be viewed by all registered Dem voters prior to Nov 4th. Not everyone is watching as closely as some here on the Web.

    Thanks for your hard work and concise thoughts.

  12. Lady Boomer NYC, For starters, I am so thankful that I am not the only one who saw this roll call for what it was, a farce. I am disabled and home most of the time. I had the luxury of seeing this farce live. When the roll call started, I was shocked that they actually started the roll call so early. At the time of the recall, my fellow New Yorkers were on buses, trains and/or in their cars. I was hoping to watch the roll call with my neighbor and since I did not have a dvd and she did not own a laptop of computer, I knew she be forced to depend on snippets and soundbites as much of the world would. I also admit while watching the roll call wondering “what the hell is going on?” The votes made absolutely no sense and was very confusing, which I surmised immediately was their plan. It is not right that the DNC committed such an act so boldly in our faces and they must be made to pay the price. They must be held accountable for everything they have done to Hillary and for their acts against the American voters.

  13. Lady Boomer!

    I was anxiously awaiting this retrospective…I knew you would blast it out of the park sister!

    In a world where Republicans hold their roll-call vote in prime-time and Democrats shamefully conduct theirs in the middle of the afternoon soap operas, one must persevere and pledge to hold accountable the DNC leadership responsible for this farce.

    It’s always darkest before the dawn, and I intend to watch that sunrise.

    Evidently someone forgot to tell the bastards that a few of us brought along candles to light-up their darkness.

    I know you’ll supply my matches!!

  14. Even though I knew ahead of time, had read it on the web, that they were going to make Hillary call for a unanimous vote for BO, when I actually saw her coming through the crowd, surrounded by all the secret service guys, then she had to crush between a group of delegates and a pole to make her announcement, I began to weep. I realized I was seeing the act of a truly great woman, and I also realized that, if the situation were reversed BO would never have had the courage or grace to do the same thing.

    I also wept because this is only one more example, albeit an extreme example, of how institutions pull together to support a man for the job — a man who is unqualified, who is weak and unable to do the job — when there is a woman standing right there who is ready, willing and able to kick butt.

    That moment truly broke my heart. I will never forget it.

  15. The DNC disgusts me.

    I have to start there, though I have the utmost respect for Lady Bommer NYC for posting this — she’s right. This was awful, it was unrepresentative, it was reprehensible, and I don’t know how any of these people who forced Hillary Clinton and all her supporters out can live with themselves. Truly, they all deserve to burn in Hell.

    This is a farce, at absolute best; this is not democracy.

    I am in full agreement with ms mississippi, and am going to quote what she said above:

    the DNC in its current form is more corrupt than anything we’ve ever witnessed in this country

    This is absolutely true and is the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my 43 years of life.

    I have to end again with the same thing I started with: the DNC disgusts me. They should burn in Hell for propping up a weak, flawed, illegitimate candidate and then getting the mainstream media to act as if that candidate actually is strong, unflawed, and legitimate.

    Damn you, DNC, for doing this to us!

    Hillary Clinton forever!

  16. Thank you all for your comments, and keep ’em coming. It’s good to get it out and share. Yes, I’m touchy feely. But, seriously, we must keep bearing witness. Pass this post around so people can see for themselves what happened or check it again if they couldn’t believe their eyes: democracy was stolen.

  17. LadyBoomer,

    Thank you for you most excellent commentary and number crunching.

    I’m appalled because the Democratic Party leaders and the Barack Obama campaign used an undemocratic process to thrust a very inexperienced and untrustworthy candidate on rank-and-file Democrats.

    May they not be rewarded with our votes in light of their misdeeds!

  18. Folks we must do as I had the courage to do marching during the civil rights struggle with Dr King despite threats and intimination and that is stand up and be counted for justice by voting against this travestry, against the DNC and yes against Obama. I am an AA female Hillary supporter. You must not condone what was done by voting to uphold it.

  19. Boomer, having shared the debacle in Denver with you, I can attest to all you have written. Thank you for recording it so precisely–while those of us in the middle of the storm are sometimes last to see its effects, thanks to your reportage, those who were not there to witness the horror may begin to see what a travesty and a sham the DNC has made of our Democracy and our electoral system. It was a sad, sad day of trauma and one that our country would be well advised to study, learn, and commit to memory, for, as George Santayana stated, ” those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.”

    We must not let this travesty repeat it self, nor allow its perpetrators to walk free.

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