23 April 2008

Democrats: The Race Goes On

The race goes on past Pennsylvania, as it should. If the Democratic party claims to be democratic, then no one within it has any authority to order Clinton or Obama to quit. If Democrats wanted to put the good of the party before the will of its members, they shouldn't have adopted primary elections in the first place.

Superdelegates, of course, are entitled to consider the good of the party. They should do so regardless of the pressure from the Obama camp to respect the will of the majority of primary voters nationwide. If those voters don't like the result, maybe they'll learn a lesson about political parties. Nor should the superdelegates be swayed by the sophistry of Clintonites. They say that their candidate's victory in the "big states" means Obama can't win them in the general election. The idea is self-evidently absurd. It presumes that everyone who votes against Obama in a Democratic primary will vote Republican in the general election. The Clintonites are trying to force this argument, it seems, by telling exit-pollsters in disturbingly large numbers that they would vote for McCain against Obama in November. If not disingenuous, they certainly must be bitter, or else some of them, at least, are just plain bigots. How do you like those choices? But in any event, once the Democratic leadership rallies behind Obama, should he be nominated, and starts running "Roe v. Wade is in danger" commercials and similar stuff, I doubt the remaining Clintonites would want to take their chances with McCain.

Clinton has tried to make the primary endgame all about electability. All the guilt-by-association attacks on Obama and the orchestrated outrage over "bittergate" (I've actually heard this term!) are meant to demonstrate that the Illinois senator is more vulnerable to "swift-boating" in the fall. Electability is a proper consideration for the bosses in the smoke-filled rooms; it's a "good of the party" argument. Unfortunately for party leaders, primary voters probably think they're voting for whoever they think will be the best President, not merely the best candidate. Understandably, a lot of them take offense at the negative turn the campaign has taken. They should take offense at the idea that they should vote in these primaries as partisans first and citizens second.

No comments: