In Victory, Magnanimity

05/22/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Harold Pollack Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago

John Edwards endorsement pretty much ratifies what we already know: Barack Obama will be our party's nominee for president. This is another great day for those of us who support the Obama campaign. I believe this is a great day for all Democrats.

It is a bittersweet day for many Edwards supporters. Senator Edwards began the campaign fighting a certain rap as a shallow pretty-boy. He shook this off the right way -- by presenting well-grounded, substantive proposals in healthcare, housing, and other areas to address our nation's gaping inequalities. Some of the nation's leading scholars helped to formulate these plans. If Senator Obama wins the presidency, his policies will be strongly influenced, for the better, by the contributions made by Senator Edwards and his team.

It is just a bitter day for many Clinton supporters, for whom this provides yet another sign that this campaign is effectively over. Senator Clinton's supporters can also be proud of her hard and skillful campaigning against long odds. They can be proud of her obvious substance and passion on issues of healthcare and other issues. They can be proud of her pioneering campaign.

Despite some wounds rubbed raw in recent weeks, Democrats should all recognize that this is a family feud now drawing to a close. It is time to come together, because we will need everyone to help in the hard task of defeating John McCain.

It's easier to reach out and to be gracious when your side won. So if you are an Obama supporter, you have a special responsibility to reach out. Reach out to your friends, colleagues, relatives, and associates who supported other Democrats, Encourage them to find out more about Barack Obama's personal story and policy views. Our best advertisement is a simple visit to Encourage your friends to compare Senator Obama's record and platform with Senator McCain's.

Most important, let's not get caught up in whatever nastiness that might ensue in the nomination endgame. Life is too short to worry about that. I hope that Senator Clinton navigates a graceful exit and can leave with her head held high. We all have a stake in this. The Clinton and Obama campaigns will negotiate the details. The rest of us, as individuals, can do our part to heal a little of the bitterness that has seaped into the Democratic campaign.