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Grand Compromise for Democratic Party
The Democratic party is about to face a no-win situation. Polling shows that if Barack Obama is the party nominee, 25% of Hillary Clinton’s supporters will vote for John McCain. Conversely, should Clinton win all those first time voters and activists who sprung out across America to support Obama would quickly disappear, robbing the party of a chance to expand its base. This all spells good news for the Republicans, who are otherwise facing an uphill battle as President Bush’s disapproval rating just hit an all-time high for any President (that includes Nixon the day he resigned and Truman the day he forced MacArthur to quit).
So, what’s the party to do?
Howard Dean has said he wants to have a nominee settled before the convention, yet the contenders seem determined to fight this out in Denver. Is there any way to avoid a party bloodbath that could end its chances of victory in November? Perhaps so.
In a compromise no one wins outright and no one loses either. Instead their are concessions. Right now, neither Clinton nor Obama are looking to concede anything, but they should consider the following scenario.
Given her strong victories in the big states and the states that Democrats must carry for victory in the general election, Hillary Clinton is made nominee of the Democratic Party, with two caveats. First the obvious - Barack Obama is picked as her running mate. Now, the not-so-obvious - Clinton pledges to only serve one term.
If Clinton pledged to only serve one term she would free herself of the responsibility of raising money and focusing on politics while in office. Instead she could spend all her energies for four years ending the war in Iraq, fixing the economy and crafting a new direction in health care and energy. Her efforts would both secure and preserve the Clinton family legacy in American politics. It would allow her to achieve the Presidency and to make history as the first woman to do so. Doesn’t that sound better than returning to the Senate and attending pot luck dinners in upstate New York?
Four years as Vice President would give Obama world experience and seasoning. He would spend his time getting to know world leaders, beefing up his foreign policy resume, and working together with the Clinton team. 8 years in politics is a lifetime, but 4 years is manageable.
The Obama camp will tell you this plan is unacceptable to them because they can win the nomination outright. The Clinton people will tell you this plan is unacceptable because they deserve to be the nominee without any restrictions. However, if Obama and Clinton’s scorched earth path to the nomination prevents their election as President, what good was the last year and a half of campaigning?
The democratic primary this year has been like no other before it. Perhaps the only way to successfully extricate the party from it, is to find a solution that has never before been attempted. A grand compromise would allow the party to keep its fragile coaliton together, and almost certainly win the White House for 4, if not 12, years. At the end of the day, isn’t that the point?
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