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Tom Douglas Headshot

Open Letter To PA Democrats: Vote For The Party And The Nation

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One thing I know about Pennsylvanians from my time as a Philly resident is that they have little or no tolerance for bullshit, so I'm going to get right to the point. Just like Sly Stallone shouldn't have gone there with the sixth Rocky movie, it's time for Hillary to quit, before she fracks things up for all of us. Any Pennsylvania voter who really wants things to improve in this country should tell Hillary to get the hell out of the race by handing her a decisive defeat on Tuesday.

This contest is over, people. Hillary needs something on the order of 65% of all delegates in the remaining contests in order to win the nomination, which, given recent polling numbers, is simply not going to happen. Meanwhile, she's running out of cash and her supporters stopped drinking the Kool-Aid long ago and are now moving out of the high-crime Clinton shantytown to take up residence in noticeably tidier Obama-ville. If this were a football game, it would be first and goal for the Obama squad, up by two scores and inside the two minute warning, while HRC would be out of timeouts. The crowd would be filing out of the stadium en masse to catch the postgame show on their car radios and eat the last cheesesteak before the drive home. Unless HRC pulls some kind of Tonya Harding takedown on Obama between now and August, she is not going to win the nomination, period. It's a simple matter of mathematics.

With that in mind, Pennsylvania voters must consider what, not who, they're voting for. Every vote for Hillary prolongs a contest in which the outcome is no longer in doubt. While this will not alter the result of the Democratic contest in all possible universes save one, it may hurt our collective chances to get an actual human being, i.e. an organism that appears to have a heart and a soul, into office. The alternative is John McCain, who, freed from the necessity of campaigning, now hovers ominously in the distance like a dark star. This is a guy who doesn't seem to like anyone except other rich guys, a guy who will keep us in Iraq for another 100 years despite the fact that he can't keep the players straight over there without help from Joe Lieberman, a guy who thinks there's a 50/50 chance of sending troops into Iran, a guy who called his own wife a "Cee U Next Tuesday" in front of reporters and who thinks Roe v. Wade should be overturned, a guy who voted against an MLK holiday on more than one occasion, and a guy who now favors the Bush tax cuts and who otherwise feels that working class Americans should be left to fend for themselves in hard times without benefit of government assistance and notwithstanding the fact that Washington's irresponsible policies are at least partially responsible for the current state of affairs. Oh and by the way, the brother can't control his temper either, which is one quality that every commander-in-chief should have, especially one as hawkish as McCain.

There are millions of reasons why we should focus all of our energies on ensuring that McCain never takes office. Despite this, HRC continues to act like an official GOP decoy, forcing Obama to waste valuable time and resources in extinguishing her desperate to-the-last-woman stand while McCain continues to tiptoe towards the finish line. If allowed to stay in the race, Hillary's attacks on Obama will only intensify. She knows that barring a miracle, she's going down, and as an excellent attorney at the Philadelphia Defender's Office once told me, "if one of your clients is about to go down [i.e. be taken into custody], it's a good idea to move away from that person, because there's no telling what they'll do." HRC's campaign of late exemplifies this analysis -- she's been getting up on the down stroke since losing her aura of "inevitability" and somehow I don't think that George Clinton would approve. She's lied (Bosnia-gate, Irish peace accords, etc., etc. etc.), attempted to cheat and steal (Michigan and Florida); and otherwise employed every negative tactic in the Clinton playbook. She knows that the only way she can win is to bring Obama down to her level, and she has missed no opportunity to achieve this end. The problem is that while HRC has been petulantly flinging her limbs this way and that seeking to strike a blow, she has actually managed to land a couple of punches. If the national polls are accurate, Obama's not bleeding yet, but his face does have that just-slapped look. Lord knows what she'll try to engineer between now and August if there's even the shadow of a chance that she can steal the nomination in Denver.

Most telling is the fact that, despite urgent calls for party unity, HRC recently lashed out at "activist" members of her own party for not endorsing her and for flooding the Obama campaign with cash and caucus states with Obama supporters, as reported recently by intrepid blogger Celeste Fremon on Huffington. This "with us or against us" Rovian mentality is distinctly unDemocratic Party-like and otherwise most disturbing.

The bottom line is this: if Hillary gave a damn about any of the issues that she supposedly champions, like health care reform for example, she'd bow out gracefully and work with party leadership to ensure that there might at least be a receptive ear in the White House. Instead, she's shown herself willing to sacrifice all of us on the altar of her personal ambitions. Why? Because she's not one of us, that's why. If Democrats lose, she's not the one who'll be out of a job, who'll be hurt by gas prices over $4 a gallon, whose kid will be drafted to shore up our flagging military when we invade Iran during the McCain administration, and who will be turned away from the hospital for not having adequate health insurance. To be fair, Obama would also not be personally affected by any of these things, but then, Obama's not the one dragging the Democratic Party down, and the hopes of the country with it. As she watches a dream that she's probably coveted for her entire adult life slip away, I can certainly sympathize with her plight, but there are much larger and more important issues at stake here than her bruised ego. For the good of the Democratic Party and the nation, she needs to step aside.

Unfortunately, she can't win, and she can't bear to lose. Pennsylvania voters can help make that decision for her, and they should. Hell, even Rocky's fights had to end sometime. Like Rocky's run in the theater, HRC's run at the Democratic nomination needs to end.