I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Will There Be A Democratic Party Left After November?

Eight short years ago, President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton were on top of the political world. The Clintons left the White House with their party ready to canonize them into political sainthood. Hillary had just been elected to the U.S. Senate from their new home state of New York. Bill was embarking on a very lucrative speaking career. In Democratic circles, the Clintons not only walked on water, but on air as well. Even as late as last year the Clintons were perceived to be the political saviors of the Democratic Party. What an amazing turnaround of opinions.

It started in early January with the tide slowly starting to turn towards Senator Barack Obama. Then Obama won the Iowa caucuses and suddenly some Democrats started to see the cracks in the political façade. Hillary bounced back and won New Hampshire, but Obama had a surprising Super Tuesday. He now led in the delegate and popular vote count. He continued to roll until Ohio and Texas came along when Hillary shocked almost all of the political pundits. Many experts had called for Hillary to drop out of the race before the Ohio and Texas contests, but she stayed in and won. She continued to hang around and won Pennsylvania. The anticipation built into a climatic frenzy waiting for North Carolina and Indiana. Tuesday showed that the Obama campaign had regained it’s traction by winning a decisive 14-point victory in North Carolina and cutting Hillary’s victory in Indiana to just 2 points. Again the calls have started for Hillary to just drop out.

Former Presidential candidate George McGovern called for her to give up and acknowledge that Obama was the eventual nominee. McGovern should know when to give up, after all he did lose his election to Richard Nixon by an overwhelming margin. McGovern only won one state and lost by over 500 electoral votes. Senators Kennedy and Kerry both claimed that the race is over and Hillary should step down. What surprises me is that many Democrats are acting as if the Clintons have changed over the past few months. They seem to believe that Hillary has become a political opportunist and is only interested in making it back to the White House, no matter what it takes. They also are shocked that former President Bill Clinton has come out so strongly in attacking Obama. Bill and Hillary are the same today as they were last year, or in 2000, or even 1992. The Clintons have always been relentless during a political campaign, yet now the Democrats seem to have lost the taste for their tactics. Is it that they have lost their taste for it? Or is it simply that the Clintons have worn out their welcome? Many of their Democratic critics claim that the Clintons will do anything to win and care nothing for their party. They believe that the Clintons have turned into liabilities for the party and are ready to dump them completely. Aren’t the Clinton critics within the Democratic Party just as slimy and hypocritical? After all, they had nothing but praise for the Clintons for the past 16 years, but now they act shocked and offended by the dynamic duo.

Whatever happens over the next few weeks and months, one thing is sure; the Democratic Party has many bridges to mend. Clinton devotee, Paul Begala, has claimed that the Democrats simply cannot win in November with just “the eggheads and the African-Americans”. Hillary has said in the USA Today that she has the “white” vote. Obama alienated many blue-collar voters with his comments about their “clinging” to their guns and their religion because they have no other hope. The Democratic primary season has accomplished one thing. They have successfully divided their party into white elites and the African-Americans voting for Obama, and blue-collar voters and Hispanics voting for Clinton. What will remain of the Democratic Party after this election season is over? I believe that when the Democrats lose their bid for the White House in November, there will be a major shakeup within the ranks of the party.


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