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Divisive passion

(Credit: Politirazzi)


By Dontre

Defying calls from some to drop from the race, Sen. Hillary Clinton firmly holds her ground, wins states and vows to go all the way to the convention. Her tenacity is not only rooted in her wins, but in her lead amongst superdelegates, who have the ability to cast decisive votes that may decide the Democratic presidential candidate. In much the same scare-tactic fashion that was once accused of Sen. Clinton and the "3 a.m." phone ad, many in support of Sen. Barack Obama are attempting to scare the Democratic base with claims that the African-American base (most of whom support Sen. Obama), would simply sit this election out, or vote for McCain, to show their unhappiness in the case that their candidate loses. Their premise lies in the charge that the superdelegates would "steal" the election from him if they were to vote in favor of Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Indeed, there is a passionate, divisive current running in the Democratic party that is leading many to threaten that they would vote against their interests by voting for Sen. John McCain, or simply not vote at all, in the case that their respective candidate doesn't win. Long have we known that Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama split the dependable Democratic base, with African Americans voting in his favor, and blue-collar whites voting for her. In fact, because of this deep divide, Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean has said, publicly, that one of the candidates must step down after the final votes of the primary season, so that the party can throw its support behind one candidate to beat McCain. However, Dean's tough talk not only ignores the fact that neither of the candidates will have garnered the votes necessary to win the nomination, but his call would, once again, strip (super)delegates of their right to vote for their candidate of choice, much like in Florida and Michigan.

Furthermore, his calls would not, as he supposes, heal the wounds of the party, rather it would actually add insult to injury.

(continued) In a race where two major states and millions of voters already feel slighted by the party's decision to ignore their vote, to force one of the candidates from the race would only deepen the chasm between the remaining candidate and the supporters of the candidate pulled off the field.

However, if we allow the Democratic primary season to play out as it was designed, instead of attempting to skip steps, an official result would work as a greater balm to the wound than would rally cries when one candidate is (unfairly) sitting in the wings. With almost a third of each candidate's supporters angrily threatening to vote for McCain in the fall, the Democrats owe it to their party to let the race go all the way to the convention. Record numbers of voters and voter turnout show that their base is marching with them, but a sudden drop-out would not only kill that momentum, it would turn-off many who are anxiously awaiting this race to come to an official, resolute end.

No loose ends, no loop holes, just clear votes and facts.

Of course, to do that, the party would actually need to seat the Florida and Michigan delegates at the convention; particularly given the fact that both state are important for the Democrats to win. Though Hillary did win those contests, that Barack was not on the Michigan ballot would not do much to quell the divisive sentiment. Thus, I would advocate a plan to allow the delegates from the respective states to attend as superdelegates, committed to no one, and free to hear the arguments of either candidate, and those of the American populace.

In such a forum, not only is the playing ground as level as can be (given the circumstances), but the superdelegates (party elders and trusted elected officials, let's not forget) are allowed to make a judicious decision for the benefit of the party.

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