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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The State of the Democratic Race for Nomination Between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

As I am typing this article I have seven specific tabs open in my browser all of which showing conflict, data and statistics and news articles all discussing the Democratic party, some declaring a potential "disaster" within the Democrat party, others criticizing Hillary Clinton, some taking Nancy Pelosi to task for her recent words and some recent polls from different organizations and last and not least one about Bill Clinton and his thoughts on the negativity of within the campaigning of late.

All these articles have one thing in common..... the contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and what it is doing to the party as a whole.

Early March, the 4th to be exact, it was reported that Bill Nelson the Democratic Senator from Florida warned the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that the Democrats were facing the "biggest train wreck you’ve ever seen."

He was speaking about the DNC's decision to not seat any Florida delegates because Florida went against the DNC rules and moved their primaries ahead, but his statement about a trainwreck is as close to foreseeing the near future as a person can get, albeit for many more reasons than he stated.

Fast forward to today and we see another Democrat, Phil Bredesen, the two-term governor of Tennessee and an uncommitted superdelegate warning that the Democratic party needs to "avert disaster", saying, "if the contentious slog continues until the Democrats’ late-August convention in Denver, the party would have a vastly diminished chance of recapturing the White House."

Bredesen then adds, "They have a much steeper, rockier hill to climb if it goes to the convention. You’re going to spend this whole summer — and lots of money and time and effort — trying to convince people that whoever isn’t eventually nominated, isn’t electable. That’s a heck of a hole to climb out of come the first of September. What’s been going on for the last 90 days just gets worse and worse as the summer goes on."

His suggestion to avert the disaster is to hold a superdelegate primary” in June, in which the 795 party bigwigs would gather to hear one last time from Clinton and Obama before casting a final vote.

To Bredesen, an even-keeled political pragmatist, superdelegates are certain to ultimately decide the nominee, so it makes no sense for them to do it later rather than sooner.

On the other side of the issue, Hillary Clinton, in an interview with CNN, vows to go on with her campaign until the very end, which is a scenario that has some superdelegates saying that would be "devastating for the party".

Other superdelagtes are saying that Clinton's tactics against Obama are turning them off and that Clinton's campaigns tactics in recent weeks are doing more harm than good, yet they do not believe she should drop out of the race.

While the Democratic leaders, delegates and superdelegates are all expressing worry about the tactics that the Clinton campaign are using, Bill Clinton states flat out that he does not agree and said, "You know, I don't give a rip about all this name calling that's going on", he then continues with, "If a politician doesn't wanna get beat up, he shouldn't run for office. Let's just saddle up and have an argument. What's the matter with that?"

Enter Nancy Pelosi who has stated that superdelegates have an obligation to reflect the will of the voters and back the candidate with the pledged delegate lead. That would benefit Barack Obama as of right now, and that led to Clinton supporters sending Nancy Pelosi a letter admonishing her and suggesting that she rethink her position.

The majority of political pundits do not believe that it is possible, from the numbers alone, that Hillary Clinton can catch up on a pledged delegate count with Barack Obama, but depending on what the superdelegates decide to do, they could throw their weight behind either candidate and bring them to the magic number of 2,025 delegates needed for one of the candidates to win the nomination.

For those that are suggesting that Hillary Clinton step aside, what they are not looking at nor considering is that the Clinton and Obama party supporters, the voters themselves, have become just as entrenched in the fighting and their desire to see their candidate win.

In some cases, it has come to the point of "either my Democratic candidate wins or no Democratic candidate gets the vote".

Two polls released today shows some very disturbing figures that have risen since the last polls were released.

The Gallup poll shows that 28 percent of Hillary Clinton supporters state that they will vote for John McCain in the general election in November if Barack Obama wins the Democratic nomination for presidency. 19 percent of Obama supporters say that if Hillary wins the nomination, they will vote for John McCain.

The latest Rasmussen poll shows that 6% of Democratic supporters are so fed up with both campaigns they want both Democratic candidates to quit the race and that 22 percent of Democratic supporters want Hillary Clinton to withdraw and equally 22 percent of them want Barack Obama to withdraw.

The big problem for the Democrats at this moment is that no matter what happens a large group of party supporters will be unhappy and bitter and as the campaign season grinds along, and the fighting intensifies, those numbers could very well rise and fracture the party from within and was stated by the Democratic leaders themselves.

When you look at one article, or one poll or statements from one Democratic leader at a time, it is easy to think that things aren't as bad as that particular article is making out, but when you looks at everything together, in context, the bigger picture being painted shows a party conflicted, a party on the edge and a party that sees no end in sight to the conflict.

A party in total chaos.