Forbes: Clinton must take the fight all the way to Denver
Michael P. Forbes, LOCAL CONTRIBUTOR
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Sen. Hillary Clinton must take her campaign all the way to the Democratic Convention in August, and she must remain in the race until all of the convention ballots are counted.
It is those delegates voting at the Democratic Convention who shall determine the party's presidential standard bearer and no one else — no combination of primary state votes, no cluster of superdelegates, no orchestrated group of party leaders nor any collection of Democratic talking heads.
Idle chatter to force Clinton to prematurely abandon her campaign is being driven by pundits, partisan bloggers, hopeful job applicants and other favor-seekers with an obsession to be on what may be viewed through a narrow political prism as the winning side.
But is it the winning side?
The effort to push Clinton out of the race ignores the right of Democratic voters in Michigan and Florida to be counted after they were disenfranchised because their states moved up their primary dates. Their participation must come at the Democratic Convention in Denver, where Michigan and Florida — critically important swing states — most likely will be permitted to cast official ballots to pick a Democratic nominee.
Wins by Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois have largely divided up votes cast in the Democratic primaries over these many months. And there are 795 superdelegates whose presidential preference is not locked up until votes are cast at the nominating convention. Neither candidate can claim the requisite number of delegates to be the nominee. That happens in balloting when Democrats meet in Denver.
It is Clinton who managed to win those critical primaries so necessary to a Democratic White House victory in November — in states like Ohio, New Jersey, West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. The senator from New York had more than 14.5 million popular votes cast in her favor. She dominates with a core Democratic voter: blue-collar workers, those without college degrees, and older voters. Clinton must give voice to these constituencies.
Clinton, like Obama, is waging an unprecedented campaign of historic proportions; she as the first woman to be within reach of the Democratic nomination for president. The precedence alone of their campaigns dictates that Clinton and Obama present to convention goers not just their primary wins but their credentials, experience and ability to win the general election for Democrats.
As the last primary votes are cast on Tuesday, some will want a coronation before the will of the Democratic Convention has been adjudicated.
There will be very loud and very determined illegitimate calls for Clinton to bow out. They will cry of suspect pleas to party unity and ill-conceived suggestions that a prolonged nominating process — one that rightfully should go to decisive balloting for president at the Democratic Convention from August 25-28 — is harmful to the party.
That's baloney. The excitement of this Democratic primary season as attested to by burgeoning party coffers and unprecedented levels of voter participation serve to reinvigorate the national Democratic Party after 12 years of Republican reign in Congress and eight years of a very unpopular Republican president. With daily reminders at the gas pump and in the grocery store of an ailing economy and two wars abroad, Americans are more than ready to put Democrats back in the White House.
A national dialogue that continues all the way to the Democratic Convention on the attributes and abilities of Clinton and Obama and who is the Democrat most competent to be president is healthy for the political process and advantageous to the nation.
Forbes, who lives in Round Rock, was elected to three terms in Congress representing the 1st District of New York. He was the first member of Congress in 27 years to switch from the Republican to the Democratic Party.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
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