Yesterday, 30- members of the Democratic National Committee decided that it would seat Florida’s delegation to the party convention, but that each delegate would get only half a vote. Alcee Hastings says he will boycott the convention.
Back in 1968, at its convention in Chicago, the Democratic Party similarly dismissed the voters of several Southern states. In those days, the conventions were carried live on network television, so we got to see this happen. First, the galleries were packed with non-delegates. Most of them appeared to be African-American. Then the chair called for a voice vote on whether to refuse to seat the legal delegations from the states. I could clearly see the people in the galleries, who were not delegates, shouting their “votes” against seating. The Georgia delegation asked for a roll call vote of actual delegates, but the chair refused to recognize the head of the delegation, and refused to take a roll call vote. The legal Georgia delegation was replaced by a much more liberal group led by Julian Bond, of all people. The fix was obviously in.
For folks who don’t know, the South was solidly Democrat back then. People talk about Nixon’s Southern strategy – to lure white voters into the Republican Party. Nixon’s strategy worked because the Democrats first had kicked these people out of the Democratic Party.