Michiganâ€™s Barack Obama supporters will not be able to vote for their favorite candidate in the January 15th Michigan Presidential primary.[http://mi.gov/sos/0,1607,7-127-1633_8716_47645—,00.html]
Many voters will simply stay home, even though they, as taxpayers, have paid for it. I consider this to be a serious waste of money and a missed opportunity for anti-war Democrats.
There have been a number of ideas put forth as to how Obama supporters may best use the primary. Most of these proposals ignore the fact that the Democratic Party will not seat Michigan delegates at their national convention. Christina Montague, State Coordinator of â€œMichiganders for Obamaâ€ has posted an announcement on their website calling on volunteers to vote, â€œuncommittedâ€ the announcement goes on to say, â€œâ€¦ you will then be able to vote to elect â€œUncommittedâ€ Obama Delegates at the district level conventions across the state that will be held on March 29, 2008. Only members of the MDP can vote at district conventions. â€œ [http://www.michigandersforobama.com/] None of this counts if the national Democratic Party fails to seat those delegates. It is only two weeks before the primary. If they were planning on giving Michigan a break, they would have done so by now. Furthermore, most voters are not able to go through the whole process of becoming a delegate, and their precinct probably wonâ€™t even have a vacancy. Finally, Montagueâ€™sâ€™ plan fails to provide a means to distinguish between Obama â€œuncommittedâ€ votes and Edwards â€œuncommittedâ€ votes.
Another idea has been to write-in Obama, but write-in votes donâ€™t count unless one registers as a write-in candidate. Obama opted out of the Michigan primary so that Michigan could keep its delegates. This includes not registering as a write-in. The candidates that did not withdraw are responsible for Michigan Democrats losing their delegates.
Oneâ€™s choice of strategy will depend on oneâ€™s reasons for supporting Obama. If the main reason is to oppose the war, one could try to send a message by voting for a Democrat other than hawkish Hilary Clinton. But the Democratic votes wonâ€™t count, and would support a candidate that is competing with Barack Obama for the nomination.
Then there is the way to send a message and make your vote count. First of all, let me be clear: Any person who has registered to vote, in Michigan, by December 17th can vote for either one Democrat or one Republican. You do not need to register as the member of a party. The national Republican Party is seating half of Michiganâ€™s delegates at its national convention; the Republican votes count. Those who support Obama because of his stance against the Iraq war and torture, can send a message by voting for a Republican who holds such views and has a voting record to prove it: Ron Paul.
Unlike other Republican candidates, Texas Congressman Ron Paul opposes the continued war of occupation in Iraq. He voted against the â€œuse of forceâ€ in Iraq. The same bill supported by George W. Bush and Hilary Clinton that authorized the current undeclared war in Iraq. Paul believes the withdrawal of our troops should begin immediately. Ron Paul is one of only three republican candidates who oppose the use of torture on prisoners of war (Hilary Clinton is pro-torture). He is also the only Republican to oppose pre-emptive attacks such as using nuclear weapons in a first strike against Iran.
So if you are a pro-peace, anti-torture Obama supporter, you can send an unambiguous message that you oppose the Iraq war and torture. Since Paul has had fairly low numbers in the Polls, there would be little doubt where the additional votes came from. Every vote should be backed up with a letter to the Democratic National Committee and the Michigan Democratic Party.
Finally, there is one additional bonus. If Ron Paul wins the nomination, the peace movement will have a fail-safe in case the party nominates a pro-war Democrat like Clinton. The other part of the fail-safe would be that if Obama won the nomination, but lost the general election, the new president would still bring the troops home.