Ignore the Minority Report

A campaign blog.
March 31 2008 5:11 PM

Ignore the Minority Report

As the Democratic race drags on, expect to see more and more hypothetical scenarios emerge as journalists dig deep into party literature, scouring for clues to how this mess will turn out. Chances are you'll hear about the "minority report" scenario.

Short story: When the DNC’s credentials committee meets in July (a date hasn’t been set), whichever candidate controls more of the committee’s 186 members will decide whether Florida and Michigan are seated. That’s because states allocate committee members proportionally based on their primary votes, so whoever wins more pledged delegates (Obama) essentially controls the committee. (DNC Chairman Howard Dean gets to appoint 25 members as well, so he could also hold sway.) However, if 20 percent of the members disagree with the committee’s decision, they can draft a minority report, which then goes to a vote at the convention in August.


This is an option Clinton’s supporters would no doubt take, since it could be her last lifeline. And this is what Clinton probably meant when she told the Washington Post that "we’ll resolve [the Florida and Michigan question] at the convention—that’s what the credentials committees are for."

The problem with the minority-report scenario, though, is that it changes nothing. Even if the Florida and Michigan question makes it to the convention floor, whoever has more delegates will instruct them on how to vote. And realistically, we’ll know who has more delegates long before the convention. The only scenario in which the minority report could actually make a difference is if we go into the convention with a sizable chunk of superdelegates uncommitted. But think about how implausible that is. Once all 50 states (and Puerto Rico) are done voting in early May, superdelegates will face enormous pressure to pick sides. Whether or not there’s an official " superdelegate primary " that forces them to vote, most superdelegates will have to get off the fence.

And once that happens, Florida/Michigan will become a moot point. Whoever has more delegates will decide whether to seat them, which means that whoever has more delegates (without counting Michigan and Florida) will be the nominee. Period. To cling to the minority report as a Hail Mary solution to the Florida/Michigan question ignores the facts of the process.

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

Why Men Can Never Remember Anything

The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Why Men Can Never Remember Anything
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 1:56 PM Scotland’s Attack on the Status Quo Expect more political earthquakes across Europe.
Sept. 19 2014 3:24 PM Why Innovators Hate MBAs
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.