Baratunde Joins Day Of Blogging For Voter Justice, Asks Hillary To Step Aside


cross-posted to Daily Kos and JJP

Today, I announce Jack & Jill Politics's participation in the Day of Blogging for Voter Justice and join other members of the Afrosphere in asking Senator Hillary Clinton to concede the Democratic presidential nominating contest. I ask you to join me by signing this petition.

Many will find such a request presumptuous, insulting and even arrogant, but the only result I can see from her continued campaign is long term damage to the likely nominee, Barack Obama, and to the coalition that is the Democratic Party, endangering not only our chances in the presidential election this November, but also in Congressional, state and local elections across the country. There may have been a time when Senator Clinton's attacks on Senator Obama were valuable and even necessary -- to prove he had the skill to withstand them -- but that time has since passed.

As the GOP becomes increasingly unified around Senator McCain, I fear that with each passing week of harsh campaigning, an election that should handily go the Democrat's way in November, looks less and less likely.

Senator Obama has won more of the popular vote, more pledged delegates and more contests than Senator Clinton. He has generated more money from more contributors than any other presidential campaign. He has tapped into a pool of new voters and helped drive participation in the political process from unlikely quarters. Not only that, he has the support of Democrats in red states who may not go blue on the presidential race, but whose state legislatures just might. In so doing, he has bested one of the best political teams and families in recent American history, despite the advantages of time, money and connections afforded his opponent.

Senator Obama has already won, and while it is Senator Clinton's right to continue campaigning until the convention, she (and the party she seeks to represent) would do so at great peril.

Senator Clinton's lauded tenacity, a virtue to be sure, has morphed into a vice of self destruction.

A partial listing

  • Her campaign injected issues of race early on and has tried desperately to undo Senator Obama's multi-ethnic appeal by, for example, diminishing his candidacy as some form of affirmative action or amplifying tensions between blacks and latinos.

  • She has played on the sympathies and fears of women voters in methods not available to Senator Obama or any other candidate for that matter.

  • She has questioned Senator Obama's fitness to be commander in chief, and her husband, a former president, has questioned his patriotism

  • She has painted as inconsequential or delusional the millions of voters who have chosen, in numbers greater than her own, to support Senator Obama

  • She has pushed the arrogant and preposterous notion that somehow she would find Senator Obama an acceptable vice president in her administration, despite his lead and despite the simultaneously contradictory belief in his unfitness to be commander in chief.


If Senator Clinton becomes the nominee, and the odds of this are quite low, she will have done so by unacceptably manipulative means. The tactics necessary to accomplish this will turn off many constituencies within the Democratic coalition, to say nothing of the independent or Republican voters who will vote in the general election for McCain or not vote at all.

Because of the reasons just laid out above, many of us have said we could not support Senator Clinton in the general election (or would have to think carefully at least). This is a distasteful prospect that makes few people in this situation proud, but the position is based on an unwillingness to support a candidate who has repeatedly sewn seeds of division and mistrust among her own party's base. It is also based on the reality that for her to prevail, Senator Clinton would have to resort to machinations of an extreme nature to overpower the expressed will of voters.

On the other hand, I'm beginning to see increasing numbers of Senator Clinton's supporters who say they will not support Senator Obama. This position has few, if any, legitimate arguments and is generally borne out of the very distrust and divisiveness planted and exploited by Senator Clinton's campaign.

These Clinton supporters generally refuse to support Obama, not because he has engaged in gendered attacks against her, not because he has sought to diminish their votes, not because he has insulted the legitimacy of her campaign, not because he has questioned her readiness or patriotism. They refuse to support him, if any reason is given, because he is "not qualified" and "lacks experience," both ridiculous arguments constantly put forward by the Clinton campaign. A less vocal set among this group are those who see Senator Obama's success exclusively as a result of his blackness.

We will destroy this party and do lasting damage to this nation if the Democratic campaign continues along its present course. Feelings are hardening on both sides; relationships are being strained, and if this goes to Denver there will not be enough time to heal the widening rift.

So it is, with neither pride nor excitement, I ask Senator Clinton to step down, help unify the party and unify the country.

Update @12:18pm Eastern.
It's worth checking out this David Brooks column from the NY Times on what Hillary is willing to do for her five percent shot at the nomination