March 13, 2008

One Solution to the Florida-Michigan Dilemma: Split the delegates
In a burst of clear thinking, the national Democratic Party in 2007 permitted just four states -- New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina -- to hold their presidential nominating contests before Feb. 5, 2008.

The argument was straightforward: All four states are small enough that an underdog, underfinanced candidate who is not a household name -- with ideas, energy and appeal -- can break through and connect. In big states, where paid television advertising is the primary means by which candidates communicate with voters, the advantage goes to the candidate with the biggest campaign treasury and greatest name recognition.

Forty-eight of the 50 states abided by the Democrats' "Four State Rule" and did not schedule their primaries and caucuses until Feb. 5 or later. Florida and Michigan Democrats, with the express objective of having greater influence upon the selection of a presidential nominee, voted to thumb their noses at party rules and hold their primaries in January.

As punishment, the national party disqualified the convention delegates from both states. All the major Democratic presidential candidates publicly agreed to abide by the party's "Four State Rule" and not to campaign in the unauthorized primaries.

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