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A Gallup poll released yesterday reports that 19% of Obama supporters say they'll vote for McCain over Clinton and a full 28% of Clinton supporters would vote for McCain over Obama. Cue much hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth from Democratic party flaks who claim the increasingly bitter primary contest will mean that Democratic voters will abandon the party in the fall if their favored nominee doesn't come out on top.
I'm optimistic that this won't happen — I don't have a huge amount of faith in my fellow man, but I do assume that my fellow Democrats are a) not stupid and b) not so embroiled in ego-politics that they'll let their bruised feelings get in the way of our best chance in years to have a president who'll further progressive policy aims.
The reason the Democratic primary campaign has become so consumed in personality and identity-politics issues is because, any way you slice it, Obama and Clinton don't differ much on their policy stances. They have slightly different takes on how to go about achieving health care for all Americans, but otherwise they're on the same page.
By contrast, John McCain would go in entirely the other direction on a lot of issues that are hugely important to progressives, including:
- The war. (McCain wants to stay for "as long as it takes to achieve victory" — 100 years, no problem!)
- The Bush tax cuts. (He'd make them permanent.)
- The economy. (Laissez-faire approach with little regulation — because that's been working so well so far.)
- The Supreme Court. (In so many words he's promised to appoint justices who'd overturn Roe v. Wade.)
So if you're a progressive who cares about any of those issues — the war, the economy, the future of reproductive rights in this country — I have a suggested course of action for you.
- Take a second to consider with a cool head the choice you'll face in the fall.
- Get over yourself.
- Then consider who you're actually going to vote for.