Monday, January 14, 2008

Trying to 'fix' the game in Vegas

The Nevada State Education Association, some of whose top leaders have endorsed Hillary Clinton (though the teachers' union is officially as yet uncommitted), has filed a suit attempting to block a number of caucuses which are scheduled to be held in casinos. The last-minute lawsuit was not filed until the culinary workers union endorsed Barack Obama. Most of the people expected to attend the caucuses in the casinos are members of the culinary workers' union, and with 60,000 members in the state their support could very well make the difference in the state, though the caucuses are open to any shift worker, whether they are casino employees or union members or not.

"The Democratic Party of Nevada has violated the principle of 'one person, one vote' by creating at-large precincts for certain caucus participants, based solely on the employment of such participants," the suit alleges...

The state party quickly dismissed the lawsuit. Going back to last spring, every presidential campaign was involved in setting up the unusual casino caucus sites while state party officials and the Democratic National Committee ironed out the details. "This is a fair, legal and proper way to choose delegates under established law and legal precedent that has been reviewed by attorneys....The time for comment or complaint has passed," the party said in a statement.

The [culinary workers'] union was more blunt, contending the arguments are only a political effort to muddy the waters in case Clinton loses. "It's strange [the suit] is coming after our endorsement," said D. Taylor, the secretary-treasurer of the local labor group, told the Washington Post in an interview last night after an Obama rally in his union hall.

He's right about that. I have no problem with filing a suit challenging the rules if the teachers' union thinks they are unfair, but then do so when there is still time to resolve the differences, not five days before the election. It's a bit like a team that is up by seven points in a football game with the other team on the one yard line and ten seconds left, going to the referee and asking for a rule change that a touchdown in the last ten seconds will only be worth four points.


Anonymous said...

Bill Clinton, with his usual lack of finesse, said that the Clinton campaign had nothing to do with this law suit. I believe him just as I did when he advised that he had nothing to do with Monica. He has got to be the best, bold faced liar in the world. If a Clinton is going to be the Democrat running in the next election I will vote as a Republican for the first time in my 72 years.

Zach said...

The media actually reported on numerous links between the individuals and organization filing the suit and the Clinton campaign.

Beyond that, the Teacher's Union claimed that this gave an unfair advantage to unionized hospitality employees. Two points:
a) The number of delagates appointed by the at-large caucuses was preset (it was either 4% or 6%) regardless of the turnout at said caucuses. If anything, it was a disadvantage to those workers. Instead of being spread out over several caucuses, where they could at least influence more delegates, they were concentrated. Even if 90% of votes cast in Vegas were by unionized hospitality employees at the at large sites, they counted for less than 10% of the delegates. You would think that math teachers would be able to figure this out.

b) The point of caucuses and/or primaries being held on Saturday is to give working people the opportunity to vote. First of all, very few, if any, members of the teachers' union had to work on Saturday. Second, doing this in Las Vegas seems stupid. In a city where MGM Mirage alone employs 50,000 people on the Las Vegas Strip, it seems stupid to assume that Saturday is a day when less people have to work. Between it being the weekend, and, ironically enough, becasue the candidates were in town and the caucuses were held at the hotels, even more staff had to work than would usually.

It seems only within the spirit of holding weekend caucuses that the Party would allow shift workers to vote close to their places of employment.