Did Hillary Lose? Not So Fast: Taking Stock

End of An Era?

The bullet train that was the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign has come to a sudden stop, and many of us are still reeling from the impact. I began this post ten days ago, but had to “suspend” it until now, due to an acceleration of flying information to either disseminate or set straight — similar to the last three months, but faster. I was fortunate to attend the last of Hillary’s campaign events, and finally here we are.

Some of my friends and family, both Obama and Hillary voters, don’t seem to understand why I can’t readily jump on board the Obama train or would consider casting a protest vote. They are horrified, as am I, at the thought of the results of four more years of Republican rule. Like Gloria Steinem, one of my ardent feminist friends is now throwing her support to Sen. Obama. After all, they say, he won. Albeit things were a bit scuzzy, it’s time to move on — Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade, The War, and won’t it be great to have a black President? Other supporters say, please, we must listen to Hillary, it will look bad for her otherwise, and could hinder her ability to accomplish her programs. If we claim to support her, we’ll take the wisdom of her request and respect it. Some say yes VP, others say, no way, it’s beneath her; let him find his way out. Others buzz: You never know; perhaps he’ll self-destruct before the Convention, and the Party will beg Hillary to come save it.

Many Clinton supporters, men and women, of all races and ages, insist that they will never, ever, ever vote for Obama due to his disrespectful, misogynistic, race-baiting treatment of Hillary and Bill — and by extension all of us — his lightweight resume, questionable associates and tactics, his wavering, shallow policies, reported caucus state irregularities by surrogates, his stand against full Florida and Michigan voting rights, his hijacking MI delegates, plus taking those that weren’t actually his; last but not least, his potentially dangerous position toward Israel, and associations with anti-Semitic, racist preachers and factions. That’s just the short list.

Jubilant In Puerto Rico

Ten days ago, on Sunday, June 1, 2008, Hillary had just won the Puerto Rico primary by a landslide. The Puerto Ricans were jubilant, and honored her with the respect that they clearly understood she deserved. The previous day, the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee had their much anticipated vote in which they decided to: restore Florida to one-half vote per delegate; award 55 Michigan delegates to Obama, who had tactically removed his name from the ballot before the primary; and give four Clinton delegates to him as well, rather than reflect the 73 percent of that state’s vote, which Clinton had actually won.

It’s not easy to abandon a candidate who is clearly the strongest to win for the Democrats in November, but more than that, to abandon the one who won. People I met in person at campaign events or online, had become activated and motivated beyond their wildest intentions. As Hillary has acknowledged with gratitude, they gave months and years of their time, volunteering, serving internships, overworking as underpaid staffers. They traveled on buses to multiple states, blogged, emailed, created websites, made phone calls, raised and donated money, registered voters, stood on street corners waving signs, attended caucuses, and protested. People cast their votes for Hillary Clinton because her strength, courage, compassion, competence, and policies resonated with them.

DNC RBC Meeting and Aftermath

They say a day is like a year in politics. Surely, it feels that way these days. After returning from the DNC RBC Rally late Saturday, May 31, I watched the replay and aftermath commentary on CPAN’s Washington Journal the following morning, happily avoiding the Sunday “political” shows.

Mitchell Caesar, of Florida, Superdelegate and DNC Executive Board Member, felt bad that Florida didn’t get 100% of their vote. He asked that people have patience and likened the ruling to “a family fight, and we’ll come together in the end” — to which a caller responded sardonically,

“You had eight years.”

Martha Fuller Clark, Obama for President, NH co-chair, declared stunningly that voters should be grateful, because after all:

“We could have elected to not count 100 percent of the vote.”

Soooo? You’re saying then, it WAS arbitrary, and not about the rulz?

Karl Rove’s no nonsense assessment was:

“They took their finger and shoved it in her eye. On Saturday, he took 55 delegates not his and four of hers. He’s not a confident individual.”

By Monday, June 2, I was still wondering: What was Hillary going to do about the rights she’d reserved during the RBC Meeting via Harold Ickes to take her vote challenge to the DNC Credentials Committee? We were waiting to hear, but nothing emerged — only the perceptible, expectant drum beat of delegates marching in tandem over to Obama’s side. Were they being pressured? How? By whom? Their constituents? The Party?

Delegates and Supers

Then after an unexpectedly juicy South Dakota 10-point win on final Dem primary day — a day when a Trojan horse AP story declared that Hillary was dropping out, and Superdelegates pushed Obama’s lead to the new magic number of 2118 — he was declared the winner. Then the big shocker: Hillary did not make the speech she was expected to make. She, like me, wasn’t ready and made the speech she needed to make. I thought it was great, considering she’d just been cheated out of becoming POTUS, and nearly yanked off the stage by the salivating DNC.

Riverdaughter commented at The Confluence:

Hmmm, now we know why the RBC did what they did. She had over 100 delegates from Florida and 73 from Michigan. If he got zero from Michigan and both states had been able to seat with full strength, she could have added over 86 delegates and he would have lost 59. Hmm, that brings her total to 1725 and Obama’s to 1707. Day-um! I wouldn’t concede either.

I still thought about the vote challenge, but on Wednesday, June 4, the day after Hillary was criticized for her remarks at Baruch College, with the world, including Barack’s native Kenyan village, proclaiming him the winner, what could she do? Unseat him? Ummm, excuse me, but we have this challenge. There would have been riots in the streets. Sure, they had to let 18 million of us down, but heck, how could the snowball have been rolled back uphill? I specifically blame the DNC for this. That day, Charles Rangel and the NY Congressional delegation came out for Obama, after chastising Clinton for not honoring the theft nominee and for taking too long to concede. Like many of their colleagues, in the end, they couldn’t stand the pressure. It’s as if none of the 18 million voters even existed or had weight.

Campaign manager, Terry McAuliffe announced that Hillary would have an event for her supporters at the end of the week and make her speech then. So people calmed down a little bit, but he’d been saying the same thing all week.

Who cares. At least there finally was a winner.

So, how did the votes actually add up?

Obama won. The MSM, DNC, and Obama campaign reported it.

Did he?

Who Really Won?

Who really won the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primaries? Are caucuses fair? Do you understand what happened with all these numbers?

Texas Darlin’ at No Quarter says, “It’s a Tie! (Popular v. Pledged Delegates)” — The final tally:

Congratulations to both Democratic frontrunners!

Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote by over 300,000 votes. Barack Obama has won 130 more pledged delegates.

Here are the final totals:

POPULAR VOTE (all primaries and caucuses)
Hillary Clinton: 17,785,009
Barack Obama: 17,479,990

PLEDGED DELEGATES
Barack Obama: 1766.5
Hillary Clinton: 1639.5

Hillary won the most popular votes in presidential primary history. She won them for the Democrats, and instead of celebrating her, they tossed her out on her fanny. Striking, no?

Hillary’s supporters understand what their candidate has asked of them in suspending her campaign and requesting that 18 million of us join to elect Barack Obama POTUS. Hillary is a politician. She’s cut out for the battle, and can turn around and schmooze with adversaries like it’s old times. Me, not so much. I’m troubled, like many people, by the apparent DNC internal decision to crown Barack Obama the nominee, passing over the more substantial, qualified candidate, who’s BTW a woman.

So? Now, I’m supposed to roll over, kiss, and makeup like a good girl? Sorry, not so fast, I’m not that easy.

Are Caucuses Fair?

On June 3, 2008, Huffington Post political editor Thomas Edsall posted, “Obama’s Debt To Harold Ickes,” in which he explains:

If the caucus states were eliminated, Obama would not be the one on the verge of declaring victory.

As of June 2, according to RealClearPolitics, Obama had a 157 delegate vote lead over Clinton, 2072 to 1915.

In the 14 states that picked some or all of their delegates through caucus systems this year, Obama won 400 delegates to Clinton’s 193, a 207 delegate advantage that more than accounts for his overall delegate lead.

An analysis (pdf) published on TalkLeft found that total Democratic voter participation in the caucus states amounted to 1.1 million people, compared to the 32.4 million voters in Democratic primaries, a ratio of 30 to one. Caucus participants made up 3.2 percent of the total of 33.5 million primary voters and caucus goers combined.

In contrast to the relatively close results in most primary states, Obama won many of the caucus states by huge margins, often substantially exceeding 60 percent. As a consequence, he piled up large numbers of delegates in the relatively low turnout contests.

The TalkLeft analysis noted that Clinton won 11 more delegates than Obama in the New Jersey primary, which she won by 112,128 votes, while Obama won 12 more delegates than Clinton in the Idaho caucuses which he won by 13,225 votes. Similarly, Clinton netted 12 delegates by winning the Pennsylvania primary by 214,115 votes, while Obama came out ahead by 14 delegates by winning the Kansas caucuses by 17,710 votes.

Wow. Gives you pause, no?

Were Deals Made?

Plukasiak discusses The RBC Violation of DNC “Sunshine Rules” in a guest post at The Confluence. Here’s an excerpt:

Barack Obama and his supporters on the committee engineered a deal in secret to disenfranchise constituency groups that have consistently supported Democrats – and who have consistently supported Hillary Clinton during this primary season. These key constituencies were treated as “half citizens” in Florida and Michigan solely to benefit Obama.

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And there can be no question that it was the intent of Barack Obama to provide different treatment to different voters. In Michigan, Obama had his representative demand that the delegates in Michigan be provided with full voting power, (while completely ignoring their votes, and demanding a 50-50 split) while demanding that Floridians – a state with large number of Jewish voters, Latino/Hispanic voters, and older voters –– were to be given only half-representation. Obama’s position was so internally inconsistent that it can only be seen as an effort to disenfranchise those constituencies that have consistently supported Hillary Clinton, and provided her with a considerable margin in Florida among both delegates and the popular vote.

——————

And “the rules” is no excuse. If “the rules” compel you to treat some Americans as being unequal to all other Americans, then there is something wrong with the rules. Anyone with an ounce of human dignity would recognize this, and take the easy and appropriate step of resigning from the RBC rather than enforce a provision of the rules that is an insult to human dignity.

Who Made Them?

Tom In Paine wrote yesterday, June 10, in his post After Math that this was the first time in history the Democratic contender with the most votes lost the nomination. This is due to the failed Democratic apportionment system which gives nearly equal delegates to primary losers as winners, and which in the end produced no clearcut winner.

So super delegates are asked to do something you hate to see a Democratic elected official do — exercise their political judgment and pick the candidate they think has the best chance to win in the fall.

Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Howard Dean insisted it had to be done now even though the convention was 2 months away. And why? Because Pelosi, Reid, Dean and the Obama wing of the party are trying to sell a candidate with a resume and a list of accomplishments that you can read faster than a value meal menu and they didn’t think Obama could stand up to 2 more months of Hillary Clinton. Given the way Clinton finished and Obama limped to the finish line they might have been right.

But what did super delegates do when they exercised their political judgment? They looked at the popular vote and decided to choose the candidate the majority of voters in the Democratic Party voted against. They looked at the delegate count and saw that, not counting the 55 disputed Michigan delegates, Obama ended with a delegate lead of 77 out of over 4000 even though the democratic apportionment system awarded Obama over 700 delegates in states where he lost by landslide margins. They saw that Clinton was the winner of the 13 biggest and most populous states in the country, won every big state in the northeast, took the industrial midwest, the entire southwest from Oklahoma to Nevada, Kentucky, W.Va, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, and California by landslide margins and decided they wanted the loser. And now they’ve got him and half the Democratic Party is ready to defect.

Women’s Dilemma

Finally, commenter anne, sums it up:

  1. . . . how difficult many women find it to face sexism head on. If Obama had been defeated by a similar kind of rancid form of racism and cheating from the Clinton campaign, you can be pretty sure that none of his supporters would be ignoring the racism that made him lose – it would be front and center of any push back against his loss. A lot of women on the other hand seem to be searching for ways to rationalize what was done to Hillary, when in fact the only way we can get through this and ensure it doesn’t happen again is by not voting for Obama. If the stinking misogyny of his campaign and his media supporters is rewarded with a win, the misogynists will take it as a green light to carry on. The sexist triumphalism we’ve seen from some of Obama’s supporters trolling Clinton supporting blogs will only be the start of it.

    On the other hand a loss will mean that perhaps finally women will be taken seriously as a constituency to be courted and not just the by-rote “we”ll protect Roe vs Wade” when they plan to do no such thing.

Me, right now, I’m just watching, seeing what goes down. Like I said. Slow down, I’m not so easy.


Delegate Hijack = Party Unity Path? (Ickes Video)

On May 31, 2008, and a stormy day in DC by all measures, Harold Ickes mounted an impassioned defense of Senator Clinton’s position at the DNC RBC Meeting. Asserting:

that we have one of the lowest voter turnouts in the world, and it’s hard to find an election in the US that isn’t flawed;

Ickes said those were:

not an excuse to overturn elections, nor to substitute their judgment for the voters. One election wouldn’t stand the test that’s been laid down here. Fair reflection: you cannot take delegates from one candidate and give to another. Not only will this motion hijack four delegates from Mrs. Clinton, it will take 55 delegates from uncommitted status, which is a recognized Presidential status under our Constitution and convert them to Barack Obama.

Finally, there’s been a lot of talk about Party Unity, not withstanding the flawed aspect of this, let’s all come together, wrap our arms around each other. I submit to you, ladies and gentleman, that hijacking four delegates, notwithstanding the flawed aspect of this, is not a good way to start down the path of party unity. One final word, Mrs. Clinton has instructed me to reserve her rights to take this to the Credentials Committee.

That evening, following the decision of the Committe, after months of grueling appeals in attempts by Florida and Michigan voters to have their votes counted and delegates seated, Harold Ickes and Tina Flournoy (my heroes) made the following statement on behalf of the Clinton campaign:

The Committee awarded to Senator Obama not only the delegates won by Uncommitted, but four of the delegates won by Senator Clinton. This decision violates the bedrock principles of our democracy and our Party.

We reserve the right to challenge this decision before the Credentials Committee and appeal for a fair allocation of Michigan’s delegates that actually reflect the votes as they were cast

Today’s results are a victory for the people of Florida who will have a voice in selecting our Party’s nominee and will see its delegates seated at our party’s convention. The decision by the Rules and Bylaws Committee honors the votes that were cast by the people of Florida and allocates the delegates accordingly.

We strongly object to the Committee’s decision to undercut its own rules in seating Michigan’s delegates without reflecting the votes of the people of Michigan.

So, now the DNC RBC is both a decider and a mind-reader for 2.3 million people?

INFO RE: Count Every Vote Rally, May 31, 2008

Click the banner above and scroll down page to sign up.

Rally Info from Count Every Vote

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When: May 31st – We will meet at 7 am and rally until around 4 pm.


Where: Outside the Marriott-Wardman Park Hotel, 2660 Woodley Rd, NW in Washington D.C.

Download the info below, plus subway map dnc-rbc-rally (Word doc)

Download PDF rally-site-maps

DNC RBC Rally Schedule
Saturday May 31, 2008
7:00 a.m. Arrive at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
6:30 a.m. Set up of the stage and sound system begins (should be done by 7:30 a.m.)
9:15 a.m. People move to the park space
9:45 a.m. The speakers start and speak until the RBC meeting is over at which point we will move back in front of the hotel

There will be a few breaks in here. Rally may not last as long as meeting—meeting could go later. Some speakers will speak again at noon when the RBC breaks for lunch

Important Information
Please READ and CIRCULATE to your travelers

Where and When to Meet:

• 7:00 a.m. May 31, 2008

• In front of the Marriot Wardman Park Hotel
2660 Woodley Road, NW
Washington, District Of Columbia 20008 USA

The Closest Subway Stop: Woodley Park- Zoo/ Adams Morgan (this is on the red line)

What to Wear:

• RED, WHITE and BLUE
• Please do NOT wear Hillary gear.
• Bring rain gear: umbrellas and jackets.
• Bring bottled water – its going to be a long day!
• Dress Cool—it’s going to be hot! Wear hats.

Where will the speeches be held?

In the park space indicated on the maps (download above).

Talking Points
• We believe that the DNC must honor our core democratic principles and enfranchise the people of MI and FL and their respective delegations.
• We believe that Hillary Clinton is best for our party, most likely to win in November and best for our country.
• We believe the contest for the democratic nomination must not end before all of the votes from each State and US Territory have been cast and counted and that nominating conventions, not candidates (or the media), declare the nominee.
• We believe that the media and DNC have underestimated the passion, strength, intensity and determination of women voters and the power of the women’s vote.

Rules:
• We are not going to be disruptive; we are not going to break any rules or laws.
• If approached by the press, we are optimistic and are rallying in support of the founding principle of the right to vote. We are not protesting or demonstrating. We have a deep and abiding love of our country and are looking to create unity. Please always maintain an optimistic and energetic tone.
• No one is allowed to go on hotel property unless you have a room in the hotel or credentials to the meeting. If you step onto the hotel property and neither of these criteria apply to you, you will be asked to leave.
• Watch out of rough behavior and please ignore it if possible. If you see someone acting rough or violent, please ask a nearby police officer to remove that individual.
• Any Count Every Vote rally-goer who is perceived to be acting or speaking violently will be asked to leave.
• We are peaceful, law-abiding folk who love our country and its democratic values.

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Recommended Slogans for Sign Making

“Bring DEMOCRACY back to the DEMOCRAtic Party!!”

“Count Every Vote”

“Count Florida NOW”

“Count Michigan NOW”

“Women Count”

“50-48=NO YOU CAN’T”

“Every Vote Must Count”

“Um, we’re copying the GOP?”

“Penalize Date Movers, NOT VOTERS”

“I’m mad at my teacher. He taught me there were 50 states.”

Hillary in Boca: The Voters Rule (video)

[splashcast MZDD5390PV]

May 21, 2008

Boca Raton, FL

Hillary Champions The Will of the People

(Full text, with intros abridged.)

“Now, this year’s presidential election is like none other in history. And we have had more people engaging and volunteering, casting their ballots, than ever before. Everywhere I go, people tell me, “I’ve never given money to a campaign in my life; this year is different. I’ve never followed an election before; this time I can’t stop watching.” And there’s a reason for that. With our economy in crisis, and with two wars and our children’s future in the balance, more people than ever before are taking politics seriously.

I happen to welcome that because this is a democracy, and we’ve all got to participate. In fact, we want more democracy, not less democracy. We want more people taking a part in the selection of their president.

Here in Florida, more than 1.7 million people cast their vote, the highest primary turnout in the history of Florida. And nearly 600,000 voters in Michigan did the same. And not a day goes by that I don’t meet someone who grabs my hand or holds up a sign, no matter where I am, in Kentucky or anywhere else, and says, “Please, make my vote count.”

I receive dozens and dozens of letters and emails and phone calls, every couple of hours it seems like, all making the same urgent request: please count my vote. We used to be worried about voter apathy, didn’t we? We worried why Americans didn’t participate. Now, people are worried that their participation won’t matter.

I believe the Democratic Party must count these votes. They should count them exactly as they were cast. Democracy demands no less.

I am here today because I believe that the decision our party faces is not just about the fate of these votes and the outcome of these primaries. It is about whether we will uphold our most fundamental values as Democrats and Americans. It is about whether we will move forward, united, to win this state and take back the White House this November. That has to be the prize that we keep in mind.

Because here in America, unlike in many other nations, we are bound together, not by a single shared religion or cultural heritage, but by a shared set of ideas and ideals, a shared civic faith, that we are entitled to speak and worship freely, that we deserve equal justice under the law, that we have certain core rights that no government can abridge and these rights are rooted in and sustained by the principle that our founders set forth in the Declaration of Independence. That a just government derives its power from the consent of the governed, that each of us should have an equal voice in determining the destiny of our nation. A generation of patriots risked and sacrificed lives on the battlefield for that ideal.

The union they ultimately formed was far from perfect. It excluded many of our citizens; people like Congresswoman Brown, me, my daughter. But it was an ideal that set forth a goal that we have consistently worked for.

Fortunately, in each successive generation, this nation was blessed by men and women who refused to accept their assigned place as second-class citizens. Men and women who saw America not as it was, but as it could and should be, and committed themselves to extending the frontiers of our democracy. The abolitionists and all who fought to end slavery and ensure freedom came with the full right of citizenship. The tenacious women and a few brave men who gathered at the Seneca Falls convention back in 1848 to demand the right to vote.

It took more than 70 years of struggle, setbacks, and grinding hard work and only one of those original suffragists lived to see women cast their ballots. There are women here today – as with my own mother – who were born before the Constitution granted us the right to vote. This is not something lost in the mists of memory and history; this is real. The generations here in this room have seen change. The men and women who knew their Constitutional right to vote meant little when poll taxes and literacy tests, violence, and intimidation made it impossible to exercise their right, so they marched and protested, faced dogs and tear gas, knelt down on that bridge in Selma to pray and were beaten within an inch of their lives.

Some gave their lives to the struggle for a more perfect union. There is a reason why so many have fought so hard and sacrificed so much. It is because they knew that to be a citizen of this country is to have the right and responsibility to help shape its future, not just to make your voice heard, but to have it count. People have fought hard because they knew their vote was at stake and so was their children’s future. Because of those who have come before, Senator Obama and I and so many of you have this precious right today. Because of all that has been done, we are in this historic presidential election. I believe that both Senator Obama and myself have an obligation as potential Democratic nominees – in fact, we all have an obligation as Democrats – to carry on this legacy and ensure that in our nominating process every voice is heard and every single vote is counted.

This work to extend the franchise to all of our citizens is a core mission of the modern Democratic Party, from signing the voting rights act and fighting racial discrimination at the ballot box, to lowering the voting age so those old enough to fight and die in war would have the right to choose their Commander-in-Chief, to fighting for multi-lingual ballots so you can make your voice heard no matter what language you speak. I am proud of our work today. We are fighting the redistricting initiatives that would dilute African American and Latino votes. We are fighting efforts to purge voters from the rolls here in Florida and elsewhere. We are fighting voter identification laws that could wrongly keep tens of thousands of voters from casting their ballots this November.

We carry on this cause for a simple reason, because we believe the outcome of our elections should be determined by the will of the people – nothing more, nothing less.

We believe the popular vote is the truest expression of your will. We believe it today, just as we believed it back in 2000 when right here in Florida, you learned the hard way what happens when your votes aren’t counted and the candidate with fewer votes is declared the winner. The lesson of 2000 here in Florida is crystal clear. If any votes aren’t counted, the will of the people is not realized and our democracy is diminished. That is what I have always believed.

My first job in politics was on the 1972 presidential campaign registering African-American and Hispanic voters in Texas. That work took me from home to home in neighborhood after neighborhood. I was determined to knock on every door and sign up every voter I could find. While we may not have won that election, I have never given up the fight. It is a fight I continue to this day.

Because I think it is appalling that in the 21st century, voters are still being wrongly turned away from the polls, ballots are still mysteriously lost in state after state, African-American and Hispanic voters still wait in line for hours while voters in the same state, even in the same county can wait just minutes to cast their votes. That’s why I’ve been working since 2004 with my dear friend Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones to pass the Count Every Vote Act; comprehensive voting rights legislation designed to end these deplorable violations. It will ensure that every eligible voter can vote, every vote is counted, and every vote can verify his or her vote before it is finally cast.

I will continue to fight for that same principle every day in this campaign. The fact is, the people of Florida voted back in January. You did your part. You showed up in record numbers and you made informed choices. But today, some months later, you still do not know if these votes will help determine our party’s nominee. You still don’t know if this great state will be represented at our convention in August. It is time you knew, because the more than 2.3 million people who voted in Florida and Michigan exercised their fundamental American right in good faith. You watched the news. You went to the candidates’ web sites, you talked to your friends and neighbors, you learned about our records and policies so you could make informed voting decisions. You didn’t break a single rule, and you should not be punished for matters beyond your control.

Now, I know that Senator Obama chose to remove his name from the ballot in Michigan, and that was his right. But his choice does not negate the votes of all those who turned out to cast their ballots, and we should not let our process rob them and all of you of your voices. To do so would undermine the very purpose of the nominating process. To ensure that as many Democrats as possible can cast their votes. To ensure that the party selects a nominee who truly represents the will of the voters and to ensure that the Democrats take back the White House to rebuild America.

Now, I’ve heard some say that counting Florida and Michigan would be changing the rules. I say that not counting Florida and Michigan is changing a central governing rule of this country – that whenever we can understand the clear intent of the voters, their votes should be counted. I remember very well back in 2000, there were those who argued that people’s votes should be discounted over technicalities. For the people of Florida who voted in this primary, the notion of discounting their votes sounds way too much of the same.

The votes of 1.7 million people should not be cast aside because of a technicality. The people who voted did nothing wrong, and it would be wrong to punish you. As the Florida Supreme Court said back in 2000, before the United States Supreme Court took the case away from them, as your Supreme Court said, it’s not about the technicalities or about the contestants. It’s about the will of the people. And whenever you can understand their intent, it should govern. It’s very clear what 1.7 million people intended here in Florida. Playing a role in the nominating process in a two-party system is just as important as having a vote in the presidential election on Election Day count.

We know it was wrong to penalize voters for the decisions of state officials back in the 2000 presidential election. It would be wrong to do so for decisions made in our nominating process. Democrats argued passionately. We are still arguing, aren’t we, for counting all the votes back in 2000, and we should be just as passionately arguing for that principle today, here in Florida and in Michigan. It is well within the Democratic Party rules to take this stand. The rules clearly state that we can count all of these votes and seat all of these delegates, pledged and unpledged, if we so choose. And the rules lay out a clear process for doing so.

With this process, if hope we will honor the will of those who came out to cast votes. Think of how that day was. Workers who rushed to the polls between shifts; students who came between classes, parents who rearranged their family’s schedules, senior citizens who arranged transportation to the polls, all so you could have your votes counted. And whether you voted for better schools for your kids or a secure retirement for your parents, for jobs you can raise a family on, for health care you can afford, to bring your son, your grandson, your daughter or your granddaughter back from Iraq or bring back America’s reputation in the world. Whether you voted for me or Senator Obama or Senator Edwards or someone else, each vote you cast is a prayer for our nation, a declaration of your dreams for your children and grandchildren; a reflection of your determination to ensure that our country lives up to its promise. Each vote is a tool, one used throughout history to break barriers, open doors, and widen the circle of opportunity.

I remember when President Lyndon Johnson addressed the Congress and the nation urging the passage of the Voting Rights Act. He declared, “I speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy.” It was urgent, elevated language, but it was not hyperbole. Now, as back then, those are the stakes. That’s why here in Florida, even when you were told your primary might not count, you voted anyway.

A Floridian I know from Tallahassee told me about his mother’s canasta club. It’s a group of women in their golden years who gather every week to play cards and visit. They talked about that Florida primary every week as they gathered around the card table. They followed the news closely. They discussed the candidates and their positions on the issues. They knew about the dispute over the primary schedule and the question of seating delegates. And when it came time to vote, like so many other good citizens of this state, the ladies of the canasta club dutifully cast their ballots for the candidates of their choice. They made informed choices. They did nothing wrong, and they should not be punished for doing their civic duty.

You knew then what Americans know, that this political process of ours is about more than the candidates running, the pundits commenting or the ads blaring. It’s about the path we choose as a nation. If anyone ever doubted whether it mattered who our president was, the last seven years with George Bush should have removed every single doubt from anyone’s mind.

That’s why you voted, and that’s why I’m running. And that’s why you’ve been organizing and raising your voices, hoping to have your votes count. You refused to stay home then, and you refuse to stay silent now. Because you want to change America’s future and you have faith that your party, the Democratic Party, will give you that chance. I’m here today because I believe we should keep that faith, listen to your voices and count every single one of your votes. If we fail to do so, I worry that we will pay not only a moral cost, but a political cost as well.

We know the road to a Democratic White House runs right through Florida and Michigan. And if we care about winning those states in November, we need to count your votes now. If Democrats send the message that we don’t fully value your votes, we know Senator McCain and the Republicans will be more than happy to have them. The Republicans will make a simple and compelling argument. Why should Florida and Michigan voters trust the Democratic Party to look out for you when they won’t even listen to you?

Now, if you agree with me, I urge you to go to my website, HillaryClinton.com, and join the more than 300,000 who have already signed our petition asking the Democratic National Committee to count your votes. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the territories will have a chance to play a role in this historic process. Now is not the time for our party to have a dialogue about which states and which votes should count. The people of Florida are all too familiar with where that discussion can lead. In the end, we cannot move forward as a united party if some members of our party are left out. Senator Obama and I are running to be president of all Americans and all 50 states. And I want to be sure that all 50 states are counted and your delegates are seated at our convention.

So will you join me in making sure your voices are raised and heard so that your votes can be counted? Because remember, it’s been the mission of the Democratic Party, guided always by the understanding that as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “the ultimate rulers of our democracy are not the president, the senators, the members of Congress and government officials, but the voters of this country.” In this Democratic Party, the voters rule. So let’s make sure your voices are heard and your votes are counted.

Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America.”