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Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Why Are Clinton Supporters Getting Upset?

There is a meme going around that a continued nomination process will further the divisions in the Democratic Party. As one Gallup Poll notes: if Hillary were the nominee, 19% of Obama supporters would vote for McCain; if Obama were the nominee, 28% of Hillary's supporters would vote for McCain.

As a side note, this is why this proposal from Gov. Mario Cuomo yesterday was so intriguing:
Who can solve the problem?

Obama and Clinton can - by putting aside personal irritations, and to some extent personal aspirations, and agreeing to end the hostilities and form a ticket that offers both of them, a candidate for president and a candidate for vice president who is clearly good enough to serve as president, should the occasion arise. That candidate for vice president would also have a good chance of being elected president eight years from now because neither of the two would be too old in 2016. If they are not capable of doing that, the two could announce they will complete the primary schedule and convention with the winner becoming candidate for president and the other agreeing to be a candidate for vice president, thereby mollifying to some extent the constituency of the candidate who was not chosen as the nominee for president.

Think of it, over the next eight years we could elect both the first woman and the first African-American to become president. That's not a dream: It's a plausible, achievable, glorious possibility - if our two remaining candidates have the personal strength and wisdom to make it happen. The joint statement announcing their agreement would rock the nation and resound across the globe - sweeter than any political poetry; smarter and more meaningful than any tightly intelligent political prose.

What a lot of people are missing is that the continued attempts to nudge Clinton out (and "get on with the nomination") and Obama's blocking of a solution to the Michigan and Florida thing are what is polarizing the voter base.

Let me be clear: trying to end the nominating process prematurely, not Clinton's continued campaigning, is what is destroying the Democratic party. The Democrats win when they let the people vote, and let every vote count. It's a simple principle.

Buck Naked Politics, I think, gets it right on this issue:

The resentment sprouted in January and has grown steadily. Weeks ago, super-blogger Taylor Marsh noticed it. In a recent message to Nancy Pelosi and Patrick Leahy (who want Obama nominated now), Marsh patiently re-stated her observations:

"If you continue to try to push Hillary Clinton out of the primary race before a clear winner emerges, you're going to accomplish one of two things....

1. Clinton supporters will harden further against voting for Obama if he becomes the nominee. (Hillary fans are already close to this, so don't push them any further, because you can't win in November without them, especially after Obama's Rev. Wright pastor disaster, which is already causing problems in the larger electorate.)....

Apparently, prominent Dems think they can knock Hillary out of the contest, and her supporters will gleefully rally round Obama.

That could happen -- if most Hillary supporters were ADD-afflicted adolescents who spend hours glued to the Cartoon network. Prominent Dems should ponder who Hillary's supporters really are...

In early February, Sen. Obama's wife told Good Morning America that she might not support Hillary if Hillary becomes the nominee. Translation: a Republican might be better.

A few weeks later, Obama supporters were outraged when Hillary acknowledged the obvious: that McCain has more experience than Obama. Most media forgot that Obama's closest surrogate had said something equally damning about Hillary.

The disparate reactions were evidence that different standards exist for Obama and Hillary.

Naturally, many Hillary supporters' resentment grew.

Next came the adolescent calls from Obama supporters (including media folks) for Hillary to drop out -- even before Ohio's primary. That started in February.

The day after Ohio's primary, Obama's campaign manager sent an email that strongly implied that Hillary should drop out.

Many Hillary-supporting Dems remember watching George Bush try to bully Al Gore into stopping the Florida recount.

Naturally, Hillary-supporting Dems had a visceral reaction to watching one of their own do that to Hillary during a close race.

Adding ipecac to the cake, Obama said a few days ago that he didn't mind if Hillary stays in the race. Why didn't he say that a month ago -- before the bullying cries reached a crescendo in the media?...

Not all marginalized Hillary supporters would vote for McCain, but many might stay home.