Everyone really should have seen this coming. When the National Democratic Party stripped Michigan and Florida of all of their delegates for holding their primaries early, it was seen as punishment to the state parties. What it has become is a punishment of the voters.

Two civil rights leaders — one a prominent Obama supporter — have written DNC Chairman Howard Dean to press him to resolve the looming conflict over Florida’s and Michigan’s role at the Democratic National Convention, in a letter obtained by Politico.

“We are deeply concerned about the prospect of a Democratic Party convention fight over the seating of delegates elected in the Michigan and Florida primaries,” wrote Mary Frances Berry and Roger Wilkins, making pointed reference to “disenfranchisement of Older Americans, Latinos, and African Americans in Florida during the 2000 election and the subsequent issues of disenfranchisement in Ohio and elsewhere in the 2004 election.”

Wilkins has stumped in Charleston for Barack Obama, who lost both Michigan and Florida. I don’t see how the national party can back down and hope to avoid similar efforts by other states in 2012 (or, lets be honest, 2016).

But a friend of mine (a Republican) noted last night that those states that jockeyed for an earlier slot may have missed their chance at true relevance by moving too early.