What happened to the Democratic Party?
I'm a lifelong Democrat. I've volunteered in countless Democratic campaigns. I've managed campaigns for Democrats. I was a Democratic candidate for statewide office in California. For three years, I was Chair of the California Democratic Party. But I don't recognize the Democratic Party today.
The party I knew loved a good fight, loved debating the issues, recognized the value of a high-profile, hard-fought primary battle -- and believed in giving everyone a fair shot. Today, the Democratic Party's turned into a bunch of weak-willed weenies.
What's going on? The party is blessed with two of the best candidates ever to run for president. The party's making history with the first African-American and the first woman having a serious shot at the presidency. In every state, the Democratic primary is attracting record numbers of new voters and building a huge, new pool of Democrats that will benefit all Democratic candidates in November. And how do party leaders respond? By trying to shut down the primary. This is insane!
Bill Richardson endorses Barack Obama. Good for him. But he can't stop there. He calls on Hillary Clinton to get out of the race. Patrick Leahy and Chris Dodd endorse Obama. Good for them, too. But, same thing. Both feel somehow compelled to add that Clinton should quit. Why? There is no more rationale for Clinton to drop out of the race than there is for Obama to drop out of the race.
True, Clinton hasn't locked up the nomination yet. But neither has Obama. True, even if she wins every delegate in every remaining primary, Clinton can not reach the magic 2024 delegates necessary to secure the nomination. But neither can Obama. True, Obama leads in delegates, the number of states won, and popular vote. But Clinton leads in electoral votes.
Plus, and here's the most important point: It's not over yet. Until it is, we can't be sure of the outcome. And it would be a big mistake to end it prematurely. There's been many a boxing match where one fighter won 14 rounds, only to get knocked out in the 15th.
All these Obama supporters calling on Clinton to drop out aren't helping their candidate, either. They make Obama look like he's afraid of a fight. And they themselves look like a stereotypical bunch of men telling a woman she can't hack it in politics, so she might as well get back in the kitchen.
No, Hillary Clinton should not quit this race. And neither should Barack Obama. They're both great candidates. Either one of them will make a great president. So let the primaries continue and let the voters decide. If Obama ends up the nominee, I'll do handstands on the White House lawn. But only if he wins it, fair and square.
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