DNC TAKE NOTE: DON'T DIS HILLARY OR HER SUPPORTERS
As I was talking to one of my 20-something sons the other night about why I was supporting Hillary and having a hard time even conceiving of backing Obama if he gets the democratic nomination, a couple of things occurred to me.
First, I sure have talked to a lot of young men lately who (including my son) say that if Obama doesn't get the nomination, it will have been "stolen" and they'll never vote Democratic (or at all) again. They don't really have any interest in any of the Congressional or other downstream races, it's just Obama that they care about.
(2) I've talked to a lot of other people who are Hillaryites who say, not that they won't vote Democratic again, but that they won't back Obama; they'll consider switching to McCain or simply sitting out the presidential contest.
Now obviously this isn't a "scientific sampling," but I sense something happening here that ought to be taken into consideration by super-delegates and the DNC. The Obamabots who are so fierce in their loyalties that they frighten the SDs and the DNC into thinking that Obama MUST be the candidate or we risk losing their votes in the GE, just might do as they threaten. But many of them wouldn't be voting for Democrats in other races anyway. Their loyalty isn't to the party, it's to a single iconic man.
On the other hand, Hillary supporters are primarily loyal Democrats who vote regularly and dependably, and to disenfranchise us would be a serious mistake. Get us mad enough and we might just bolt the party entirely, become Independents, or just get so disillusioned that we drop out of the political process for a while. The loss of our votes would hurt Democrats in downstream races, and the party at large. We're the bread-and-butter Democrats, the ones who've hung with the party for decades, and we're not pleased at being discounted in favor of newly-registered crossover voters or independents who cannot be relied upon to support the party through thick and thin.
I'm just saying ...
UPDATE: Anglachel has a beautifully written expression of our sentiments:
When A-list bloggers begin to lecture HRC supporters about having to grow up and not be infantile, they just dig themselves into a deeper hole, because they trivialize and mock our considered support for her. The arguments they offer up about her – duplicitous, hateful, cold, power-mad, disliked, criminal – are straight out of the Rightwing sewer, do little save undermine the validity of their own stances.
Then, there was the comment from Obama that he knew all the Hillary supporters would vote for him, but he didn’t think she could get his. What incredible offensiveness, to claim that he could take my vote for granted. It dismissed the fact that, were he to become the nominee, he would then have to ask for the support of those who had not selected him the first time around, and thus put in a position of providing reasons to vote for him to the people he casually dismissed.
Thus, among HRC supporters, the effect of this particular campaign has been to erode the legitimacy not of our candidate but of Obama. As polling shows, his presumption that he automatically inherited her supporters has been proved untrue, in great part because he assumed that no one could really support that “monster”.
The second issue, which is interwoven with the first and is, in my opinion, a far greater problem for the party as such, has to do with the treatment of rank and file Democrats who vote for Hillary. As shown in exit polls, these voters are the bulk of the Democrats who voted (as opposed to all who participate), people for whom being a Democrat is a part of their personal as well as political identity. Falling support for Obama among this group is a more recent phenomenon, one that he might have been reversing in mid-February but which is trending down with every poll. There is some anger here over the treatment of Hillary, but even more it is rejection of Obama himself as a candidate due to his own actions and statements. At a slightly deeper level, it is an upsurge of the latent resentment and distrust between the so-called “tracks” in the party – beer and wine – the shorthand way of identifying the significant social and economic and increasingly gender stratification of the Democratic Party.