Saturday, March 29, 2008

Party Destruction

We're destroying the Democratic Party!

Well, maybe. That's the conventional wisdom at least when it comes to the long primary process. If this is true, why do we have this long process in the first place? Maybe it's the party's folly. Did no one really sit down and think that if you have a process that goes to July that well, maybe, the process will take until July (or longer)?

I, for one, think that it's good. In a "normal" election, I imagine that voters who are usually left to rubber-stamp the forgone candidate get bored and distracted until after the convention. The fervor gives way to an endless wait until the big grudge match of September, October and November. The candidates get somewhat quiet over the summer while they go off to raise money for the general.

Let's look at the positive effects of a long primary. 1) Late state voters are galvanized to take part in the primary process. 2) Those late states are hearing a lot about the Democratic candidates positions. 3) The national media is largely ignoring John McCain (other than his gaffes) and spending ample time talking about the Democratic contest.

You might say that 2 and 3, with the griping between the campaigns, isn't such a good thing. I beg to differ. Nothing that's been said has come anything to the level of Swift-Boating (or McCain's illegitimate black child in the 2000 campaign) and this airing out of grievances and weaknesses will only make the candidates stronger come the general. Let's assume it's going to be Obama, how is McCain going to attack him with Rev. Wright (which would have been done anyway) in the general? It's the same with just about any attack against Clinton - been there, done that, cue the roll of the eyes.

As was quoted at the end of today's NY Times article, we should all take a deep-breath and tell ourselves "it will be ok". It really will. The problem isn't Obama and Clinton fighting it out, the problem is our collective public hand-wringing over it. The more we say that our party is being destroyed, the more the uncommitted voters will think that Democrats don't have the answers.


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