Presidential candidate Barack Obama has won 11 straight victories over his last remaining rival for the Democratic nomination, fellow senator Hillary Clinton. Clinton is hoping for wins in Ohio and Texas next week. But what if she fails to win next week? That is a scenario that appears increasingly likely, with polls showing Obama with a slight lead in Texas and rapidly gaining ground on Clinton in Ohio.
For some time now voters have been hearing that the race between Clinton and Obama could continue right up until this summer’s Democratic convention. That is good news for voters in states that vote late in the primary calendar.
But an elongated primary season might not be in the best interests of the Democratic Party, regardless of the outcome. Waging a six month long primary battle will only hurt eventual Democratic nominee’s chances in Novemeber. Right now the Democratic candidates are wasting time, energy, andÂ money that would be better spent campaigning against their real opponent, Republican nominee John McCain. Plus, the longer the fight between Clinton and Obama goes on, the more bitter it becomes.
The Clinton campaign is already stooping to new lows in negative campaigning. Clinton recently compared Obama’s foreign policy experience to that of George W. Bush before he became president in 2000 – which is to say non-existent. She quipped that Obama would need a “foriegn policy manual” to handle crisis and emergencies abroad.
Clinton also sought to define Obama’s message of change as naive this week.
“None of the problems we face will be easily solved,” she said. “Now I could stand up here and say, ‘Let’s just get everybody together. Let’s get unified. The sky will open. The lights will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.'”
“Maybe I’ve just lived a little long, but I have no illusions about how hard this is going to be. You are not going to wave a magic wand and have the special interests disappear.”
After the March 4 contests in Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont there will be few states up for grabs until the month of May. The rest of the primary calendar for the Democrats looks like this:
March 8 – Wyoming
March 11 – Mississippi
April 22 – Pennsylvania
May – Indian, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, West Virginia
June – Montana, South Dakota
After Mississippi there will be more than month long period of before the next primary in Pennsylvania. That is a month that Obama could spend fundraising and preparing for the showdown with John McCain, if Hillary Clinton exits the race soon. Or it could be a month of negative campaigning between Clinton and Obama, wasted resources, and free time for John McCain to begin convincing American voters that he is the right man for the job.Â
Of course Clinton still has to lose in Ohio and Texas. She may very well win in both states. That scenario would result in the same sort situation though – an elongated primary season that hurts the Democratic nominee and benenfits John McCain.
What do you think about this year’s battle between Clinton and Obama?
Has the race been too long?
Should Clinton drop out if she fails to win Texas and Ohio?
How could the battle between Clinton and Obama impact the outcome of the general election in November?
David Anderson is a political correspondent for Gather.com. You can read all of David’s past correspondent articles by clicking here