I have a lot of issues with today’s Times editorial on the divisions in both parties. At ground, though, is the notion that the Democrats face the same post-nomination hurdles as the Republicans with regards to the winning candidate bringing the loser’s coalition along with them.
The splits between Democratic voters over Obama and Clinton do not seem to reside in ideological segments. It’s not as if all the union voters are with one candidate and all of the anti-war voters are with another and the Democratic coalition faces an irreparable division as a result. Rather, while both Obama and Clinton are securing some unique demographics, the reasons for the splits seem more around what the candidate offers as opposed to ideology. In the end, I imagine both candidates’ Democratic supporters staying with the Democratic nominee.
The opposite is true on the Republican sides. Major Republican figureheads like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, and James Dobson have said they won’t campaign for McCain or would prefer Hillary Clinton to him. Huckabee is pulling Southern, evangelical “values” voters. Romney is taking a share of conservatives and and big business Republicans. This is a divided party and they will have major hurdles to overcome to have John McCain put together a winning coalition if he is the nominee.
Until Democratic talking heads and icons like Randi Rhodes, Rachel Maddow, James Carville, and Jesse Jackson announce they won’t vote for one candidate or the other, I find it impossible to see the Democrats facing anything close to the divisiveness that the Republicans are staring at come the McCain nomination.
I’m trying to find similar results showing this elsewhere, but CT is an example of how Dems like their candidates and will be content with who ever gets the nomination. DemFromCT at Daily Kos notes:
As it happens, 72% of CT D primary voters will be satisfied if Clinton wins, and 73% feel the same about Obama. There’s no deep divisions and poison in CT Dem circles. The candidates don’t despise each other the way McCain and Romney do, although it wouldn’t matter if they did.
OK, Steve Benen has the national exit poll numbers I mentioned above showing how happy Dems are with their candidates:
Despite rumors to the contrary, Democratic voters are not bitterly divided between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — 72% of all Dems said they’d be satisfied with Clinton as the nominee, and 71% said they’d be happy with Obama.
Here’s D-Day’s take (via D. Aristophanes):
That’s what I see when I talk to actual Democrats, particularly those who don’t spend all their time on the Internet. Not only do Democrats like both candidates, not only do they think they are going to get to vote FOR someone instead of AGAINST the Republican this year, but the primary is improving that view.
All of this just goes to show that (a) the Times editorial board made a comparison that falsely equated the Democratic and Republican electoral situation and (b) from a statistical, anecdotal, and editorial stand point, Dems are pretty happy with where we are right now.