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Editorial: Dems Need Graceful Exit As Primaries End

This story was written by Editorial Board, Daily Illini

Today marks the end of one of the most historic presidential primaries in history. After five months of contests and controversy, it appears that Sen. Barack Obama will become the Democratic nominee.

Not that it was a walk in the park.

Americans across the country watched this weekend as the Democratic Rules Committee tried to bring an end to the Michigan and Florida mess -- the two states that were stripped of their nominating delegates for breaking party rules and moving their primaries up.

While the plan eventually adopted (seating all of each state's delegation with a half-vote each, proportionally allocated) seems to be the best course of action available given the undeniable violation, the scene that sent chills down blue spines was the anger displayed by many spectators and audience members.

These people, the vast majority of them supporters for Hillary Clinton, have reason to be angry at the state parties of Michigan and Florida for forcing the penalty. But absent that, they have little reason to be angry at the Obama campaign which, by every even-handed analysis, is ahead in delegates, states won and, per RealClearPolitics' analysis reflecting this weekend's developments and estimates from the caucus states, the popular vote.

Harold Ickes, a Clinton supporter, conveyed that the former first lady may dispute the outcome of Saturday's meeting. Such an action would prolong the fight to August's convention and deepen the divide between Obama and Clinton supporters. But unless it will win her the nomination, it's an exercise in futility.

If Sen. Clinton is interested in the long-term future of the Democratic party, it would wise for her to respectfully withdraw from the race once Obama has officially secured the nomination.

Taking the fight and the same kind of rancor shown at the committee meeting to the national convention will divide the party and make it easier for Sen. John McCain to take the presidency.

In elections, there are winners and losers. It's up to Sen. Clinton to determine how many of each the Democrats will see in November.