By Jeremy Barr
In addition to independent voters, swing states, a slam-dunk in the general election, and relationships between political operatives, one of the biggest casualties of the Democratic primary contest has been substance.
Although Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton differ only narrowly on policy, there was a time when nuances in health care and the economy were the focus of the campaign. Now, with a few months and many miles left to go before we might finally have our nominee, the contest has turned into just that, a contest.
Rather than making a case for who would present our best chance against John McCain in the general election campaign, both Hillary and Barack have been forced to focus on responding to the most unimportant of things: past sermons given by Obama’s pastor, travel logs from 14 years ago, and countless ill-advised comments by supporters of the respective candidates.
While I understand that both Clinton and Obama firmly believe that they would be the stronger nominee, there comes a point where they have to realize that they are members of the same party.
The most troubling statistic to come out in the last few weeks is the number of each primary candidate’s supporters who wouldn’t support the other candidate in the general election if he or she became the nominee: 20%. It doesn’t get much worse than losing members of your own party.
As a strong supporter of Barack Obama, I have to admit that there have been times when I have questioned whether I would support Hillary Clinton if she became the nominee. Some days, her attacks become too vicious, too insulting, too…Republican. But then I remind myself that the other option is 4 more years of George Bush’s policies in McCain, and I come back down to earth. As a Democrat, I am praying that the rest of my party, Clinton and Obama supporters alike, will do the same.