When it was just called disfranchised:
In light of the ongoing controversy surrounding Florida and Michigan, their non-binding primaries, and their convention delegates, the word “disenfranchise” has been thrown around quite a bit. Probably, a little too much.***
But there is a way to take this disenfranchisement talk a little too far. Consider this message, distributed by the Clinton campaign yesterday, describing the Obama campaign’s pre-convention strategy:
First, disenfranchise voters — Prevent new votes in Florida and Michigan. Stop voting in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Oregon, West Virginia, Puerto Rico, Kentucky, South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia and Indiana.
The meaning of “disenfranchise” has grown a little fluid of late, but this isn’t it. As Inigo Montoya told us years ago, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
This Wiki definition seems as good as any: “Disenfranchisement or disfranchisement is the revocation of the right of suffrage (the right to vote) to a person or group of people, or rendering a person’s vote less effective, or ineffective, through processes such as gerrymandering.”
Now, how this applies to Florida and Michigan is open to plenty of debate, but for the Clinton campaign to argue that Obama want to “disenfranchise voters” in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Oregon, West Virginia, Puerto Rico, Kentucky, South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, and Indiana is pretty ridiculous. Obama wants the nomination fight to end, Clinton doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean he wants to “disenfranchise” voters in the remaining states. That’s just how things go for states at the end of the nominating calendar. Indeed, the states know that, and have a choice about moving their contests up.
Steve, of course, is right, and this is just more silly and insidious dribble from the Clinton camp designed to propel Hillary from her large deficits to the nomination, but instead pissing off voters so they are less inclined to vote for Obama, the person who will actually win the nomination.
But more importantly, when did it become disenfranchise? I always thought it was disfranchise? Or did this become acceptable around the same time that “snuck” and “dove” became acceptable replacements for sneaked and dived? Or am I just confused?