Cue the Democratic hand-wringing

| March 27, 2008 - 11:44 am

Tags: 2008, campaign, Democrats, election

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.

  1. Take a second to consider with a cool head the choice you'll face in the fall.
  2. Get over yourself.
  3. Then consider who you're actually going to vote for.

Optimism for Dems

Last round of polling on a similar question had Clinton supporters at 37% and Obama supporters at 26%, so the numbers are going down for both... which is interesting because the primary has gotten more bitter in the last week I would think.

Anywho, once the contest against McCain really starts, hopefully this will not be the case and traditional Democratic constituencies will get behind their candidate.


There's poll data out there showing even higher numbers of potential defectors? This makes me wonder if any of these people know the very first thing about McCain's policy stances. I'm guessing no.

Different worries

Realistically, this is cause for less concern than meets the eye. Polls are horrendously inaccurate at times.

People won't cross ticket to vote for McCain if they're seriously invested in a Democrat. People vote primarily based on party identification, and if they've expended this much energy advocating for their candidate in a party nomination battle, chances are they're partisans. And partisans will wade knee deep in pig blood before crossing ticket and voting for the other party's candidate.

The real concern is how much support people will give the Democrat in the general election. Our real worry shouldn't be how these dissatisfied Democrats vote, but whether they will.

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