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Travesty in Michigan

In response to:

Molehill Politics from the April 17, 2008 issue

To the Editors:

In her detailed and provocative article “Molehill Politics” [NYR, April 17], Elizabeth Drew refers to the unresolved Michigan primary and its potential as a decider.

As a seventy-eight-year-old white Independent voter, I am outraged each time I hear that Hillary Clinton “won” the Michigan primary and that Michigan voters will be disenfranchised if “our” delegates are not seated. We were disenfranchised when party leaders muscled a hurry-up, ill-conceived process on the state. Any effort to resolve the current impasse by giving Senator Clinton an edge, or that is reflective of the outcome of this corrupted process, would be a further outrage and a second disenfranchisement.

The primary was a travesty. There were rampant confusions with misinformation about the process in the media, a prohibition to write in a candidate, and a total absence of public discourse on the issues. People were at a loss to know how to, or if to, participate. Many did not. Many voted in the Republican primary because they were told that the Democratic exercise wouldn’t count. A friend of mine points out that in every primary so far, the total number of Democrats coming out to vote was much greater than Republicans voting—except for Michigan and Florida. The obvious conclusion is that large numbers of Democrats, having been told their vote wouldn’t count, simply stayed home. I am sure I heard a brief news item on NPR during the lead-up that Hillary Clinton had tried to remove her name but, oh my!, because of a technicality she remained on. Such duplicity! If Michigan is seated I will be doubly disenfranchised.

Ruth Zweifler

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Elizabeth Drew replies:

Lest anyone misread Ms. Zweifler’s comments, I did not state that Hillary Clinton “won” the Michigan primary. In fact I agree with her that the Michigan contest, which had only Clinton’s name on the Democratic side of the ballot, and in which there was no campaigning, cannot be considered a “real” primary.

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