Column: Don't Underestimate Ability Of Clinton Political Machine

This story was written by Michael Phillis, Massachusetts Daily Collegian


The Huffington Post recently published an article titled "Clinton Camp Says it Will Use the Nuclear Option." In short, the Clinton campaign confirmed intentions to maneuver its way through the democratic convention in such a way that it could destroy the Democratic Party for at least an entire generation.

The "nuclear option" refers to a strategy that would force the seating of the combined 366-delegate Florida and Michigan delegations. It would use the Clinton-backing, 30-member rules committee to push through the vote to seat the delegation at the end of the month, swinging the delegate count strongly toward camp Clinton. If this happens, the Clinton campaign believes they would have an advantage of about 55 delegates, thus making her the probable Democratic nominee.

Florida and Michigan were punished by the Democratic Party for trying to move their primaries up in the presidential election. There was an agreement that their delegates would not be seated at the convention. Obama operated under these rules, his name did not appear on the ballot with Clinton at all in Michigan and he did not campaign for votes in Florida.

Obama currently holds a small lead in the national polls over Clinton and both Democratic candidates, when paired up with McCain in the nation election polls, are narrowly ahead. Obama's poll numbers are still very high, demonstrating that even after the Wright controversy, his support is holding.

The millions of supporters that Obama holds strongly will, of course, not react well to the Clinton camp forcing her nomination through by overturning rules that she herself swore to uphold.

This country has spent almost eight years with a president who would change the rules to match his decision making. The country has been down that path and nothing good has come from it. We must, as a country, make every effort to avoid our past mistakes and there is evidence that every effort to avoid electing such a president must be undertaken.

However, one of the biggest concerns among Democrats is what the Clintons' egocentric, selfish rush to the nomination will do to their hopes for the White House. Clinton's philosophy is, "it's either me or nobody."

Democrats must remember the time of Bill Clinton to understand the harm that even a united election for president involving the Clintons can do to the health of the party.

After just two years in the White House, and with the Clintons putting their own self interests over that of the party, both the House of Representatives and Senate turned from a Democratic majority into what would be a new wave of Republican rule. The selfish nature of the Clintons, which is being demonstrated in full force by Hillary in this election cycle, must be remembered.

No longer can the Clinton political machine be romanticized after the Bush years of fear, or can economic downturn cloud the memory of the turbulent Clinton White House years.

With Obama voters representing what some have called a new political movement, this election cycle at the very least has revitalized the party into a new realm of political activism and interest. Young people and independents are rushing to the aid of this new public figure, hoping that his clean-cut persona and awe inspiring political skills can somehow heave this country out of the political mess that we are all wallowing in.

Black voters who have come out in droves for Obama will not vote for Clinton in the general election. The newfound interest and increasing activism that has somehow unearthed itself under Obama will quickly disappear if Clinton puts herself before the country and slams her way through a brokered convention to become the party's ope for the presidency.

If this cheating gains Clinton the nomination there will barely be a Democratic Party left after all of the destruction.The brokered democratic convention in 1980 that gave the presidential nomination to Jimmy Carter with Ted Kennedy in opposition meant the destruction of the hopes of the progressive party's White House dreams. This, however, was a minor fight. Still, Carter would only win six states and the District of Columbia.

What Clinton is planning on is many times worse. Neither Ted Kennedy nor Jimmy Carter attempted to bend the rules to insure the nomination and at the end of the day, most democrats were able to agree that the fight was fair. This will not happen if Clinton forces through the seating of the Michigan and Florida delegations. Her selfishness will inspire only revolt among democrats that feel that, once again, they were cheated out of their vote for president.

The blatant, self-centered, "nobody but me" attitude of the Clinton campaign must be realized by voters and action must be taken now. Only a negative outcome can be foreseen if Clinton is to pull some backhanded deal out of a smoke filled room at the convention.

Do not underestimate the ability of the Clinton political machine to fight its way out of almost inevitable doom to achieve their goals. Winning the nomination is one thing. Forcing the nomination through and alienating half of the party is quite another.
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