Wednesday, May 14, 2008

op-ed: Thank You John Edwards, It's About Time

Today's endorsement of Barack Obama for the Democratic Presidential nomination by former rival John Edwards was a huge step toward the legitimacy of Obama's claim for the presidency, and will hopefully bring this incredibly long Democratic Primary closer to its inevitable conclusion.

Though Hillary Clinton refuses to give up, she trails in pledged delegates, superdelegates and the popular vote. Her campaign is over $20 million over budget. The time for her to drop is approaching, and though she vows to fight on until the end, the window for her nomination is nearly shut.

Even Clinton herself made a nod toward party unity and support for Obama if (or when) the time comes.

"Anybody who has ever voted for me or voted for Barack has much more in common in terms of what we want to see happen in our country and in the world with the other than they do with John McCain," Clinton said on CNN's "The Situation Room."

"I'm going to work my heart out for whoever our nominee is. Obviously, I'm still hoping to be that nominee, but I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that anyone who supported me ... understands what a grave error it would be not to vote for Sen. Obama."

However, exit polls are currently indicating that only 36 percent of Hillary supporters would vote for Obama over McCain if he were the Democratic nominee.

What does seem promising is the potential benefit of an Obama-Edwards ticket. Following the nearly 2-1 Clinton victory in West Virginia, Obama's inability to pull white, working-class supporters has once again called into doubt. However, that key Clinton demographic was actually an even stronger Edwards demographic before he dropped from the primary race.

Though the partnership is no more than rumor and theory at this point, the concept carries some weight. The reality of an Obama-Clinton ticket is seemingly long gone. Bill Richardson, though a good candidate and running-mate, has been seemingly vacant from the public eye.

As it seems now, the support garnered by an Obama-Edwards ticket has the best chance for popular support and political success.

As Edwards said to the crowd gathered in Grand Rapids, Mich., "Brothers and sisters, we must come together as Democrats. We are here tonight because the Democratic voters have made their choice, and so have I."