Commentary Magazine


Oh No! It’s Civil War! Except It Isn’t.

Watch the pundits bite their nails and fear for the future: Oh, how awful this continuing battle in the Democratic party is! What a nightmare! Hillary is taking the low road! Obama is Adlai Stevenson redux! Fault lines are being exposed that could lead to an earthquake which might swallow up Democratic ambitions this year!

Nonsense.  There has never been a primary process with this kind of involvement. More than 30 million votes have been cast so far for Obama and Clinton combined. Every one of those voters is a committed Democrat, by virtue of his participation in the primary. Once there is a nominee and the dust settles, that nominee will have a base of primary voters larger and more passionate than anyone has ever seen. One thing surely unites them, and that is a desire to see a Democrat in the White House and an end to Republican rule.

The campaigns are echoing this hysteria, and for a reason. Obama needs superdelegates to believe his fresh and dandy new voters and the party’s African-American base will be so enraged if Hillary actually becomes the nominee that they will firebomb the Denver convention and subvert the party’s chances for victory because hope will have been murdered in its cradle. Hillary needs superdelegates to believe that Obama’s victory is going to make ethnic whites flee to McCain’s side.

 Obama and Hillary are going to have an equal amount of difficulty, for different reasons, appealing to independents (McCain will have problems too, because he’s running on the Republican line), but my guess is neither of them has to worry very much about fellow Democrats.