Democrats, on other hand, had a wealth of excellent candidates. I could have supported any of the top three, Edwards, Clinton or Obama. When Edwards dropped out (after I already mailed off my ballot for the Illinois Democratic Primary, in which I’d voted for him), I became “uncommitted” because I can support either Clinton or Obama.
A New York Times poll has shown that a majority of Democratic voters feel the same way I do:
Democratic…primary voters indicated they saw few substantive differences between their candidates on issues like the war in Iraq and health care. Most have confidence in both candidates to handle the economy, the war in Iraq and an international crisis. And large numbers think it is likely that either candidate would make an effective commander in chief.
Unfortunately, some Democrats feel differently. I couldn’t help but notice that the strongest, most intense feelings I’ve seen on the Interwebs have been among Clinton supporters who spend a lot of time complaining about and belittling Obama supporters. The poll suggests why:
[Clinton’s] supporters are, in general, more committed; nearly 8 in 10 of Mrs. Clinton’s backers said they strongly favored her, while 6 in 10 of Mr. Obama’s supporters strongly favored him. Only 18 percent of her supporters backed her with reservations; about a third of Mr. Obama’s supporters said they had reservations about their candidate.
To win in November, those who strongly favour the losing candidate must transfer their support to the winning one. Democrats have a history of letting petty differences get in the way of focusing on the real objective, which is defeating the Republicans. Petty bickering allows spoilers to wreak havoc, as Ralph Nader did in 2000, delivering a Republican president.
The poll found that 8 in 10 Republicans are satisfied with McCain as their nominee. This increasing unity among Republicans will make it far easier for the party to use every Karl Rove tactic at their disposal to retain power, aided and abetted by Ralph Nader sniping at the Democrats at every opportunity.
To defeat the Republicans, Democrats must unite and focus on preventing another four years of Bush-Cheney policies. The stakes are too high to do anything else.