Anxious Democrats

09/25/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Aubrey Sarvis Former Executive Director, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network

The Democrats are swarming into Denver. Now they just have to take the rest of the country (while hanging on to Denver). The mile high city is filled with hopeful anticipation - and thousands of delegates, protesters, lobbyists, journalists from the new as well as the old media, souvenir dealers, souvenir hunters, and camp followers of every sort. For the Democrats, happy times are here again. We've heard this song before, of course.

But there is the Hillary factor. The apprehension is palpable. It's true, a Clinton spokesman has announced she will release her delegates. The question is, how many of those delegates want to be released. In another mollifying gesture, the Party has decided to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations. Happy times are here again? The Democrats sure hope so. It's no longer about Hillary, it's about winning in November.

Senator Clinton knows that, too. And she knows what she has to do. She has to go out there and do everything she possibly can to help Barack Obama move into the White House on January 20th. Her biggest job is to convince her most ardent supporters that they, too, must move on with her. She's got to convince them to work as hard as she is to insure victory in November. If you doubt that she's working hard, look at her schedule.

An early and steadfast Clinton supporter, former Apple general counsel and head of the Human Rights Campaign Elizabeth Birch, dismisses any suggestion that Hillary isn't doing her part. "She's stumping the country for the ticket, imploring her supporters to work for and vote for Barrack. No one is going to be able to say Hillary didn't fight to put him in the White House." And we all know what a fighter Hillary can be.

But Frankie Sue DelPapa, the former Democratic Attorney General of Nevada, and a big Hillary supporter in the silver state, fears that not enough of Hillary's supporters have gotten the word. "One of my old supporters and a big Hillary fan came up to me over the weekend and said she just couldn't bring herself to vote for Obama," DelPapa told me. "I was stunned."

Fortunately for Senator Obama, there are thousands and thousands of Democrats like DelPapa out there, Hillary supporters who live in the real world and are now working for Senator Obama. DelPapa expects to campaign with Senator Clinton for Obama when Clinton returns to Nevada next month. She thinks it's even more important that she be out there with Clinton than with Obama.

Of course, the McCain camp is jumping on the Hillary thing and doing its best to make sure her supporters stay really, really mad - mad enough to vote for McCain in November. That would defy logic, but who said that politics was logical?

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