Compromise in Michigan: Another Sign of Things to Come

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This may be how the Democratic primary race winds down: superdelegates endorsing Obama (and in some cases bailing on Clinton in order to do so) and Michigan and Florida coming to compromises that don’t jeopardize Barack Obama’s lead. Michigan appears on track to do exactly that.

Michigan Democratic leaders on Wednesday settled on a plan to give presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton 69 delegates and Barack Obama 59 as a way to get the state’s delegates seated at the national convention.

Clinton won the Jan. 15 Michigan primary and was to get 73 pledged delegates under state party rules, while Obama was to get 55.

Clinton took 55 percent of the vote in Michigan, where only Kucinich, Dodd, and Gravel joined her on the ballot. “Uncommitted” took 40 percent.

The only question here is whether seating the Michigan delegates through this compromise erases any hard feelings Michigan voters have with Barack Obama. Michigan and Florida have been used a cudgel by Hillary Clinton and her campaign staff. They’ve pointed to those two states for months as evidence that Barack Obama doesn’t truly want to hear the voice of every American — the unstated corollary being that Obama doesn’t respect the people of those two states.

I’m betting, however, that Obama can do some internal polling in Florida and Michigan, see if he still has a chance in either state (probably; more likely in Michigan than Florida), and make up with voters there through a little extra attention in the general. And outside groups can work overtime pointing this out.

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