The long, drawn-out Democratic primary process has finally come to a close, as the last two states, South Dakota and Montana, cast their votes yesterday and superdelegate endorsements slowly filtered in.
While Sen. Barack Obama closed in on the Democratic nomination, his rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, told colleagues that she would consider running alongside him as vice president.
As reported by the Associated Press, Clinton expressed her thoughts on being vice president during a conference call with fellow New York lawmakers with the stated hope that it would help the sorely divided Democratic Party in November's general election.
Throughout the protracted primary process, questions of race, gender and experience have split and bruised the Democratic Party. According to ABC News, exit polls taken in six out of the last seven primaries have shown that at least 60 percent of Clinton supporters would be unsatisfied if Obama won the nomination. About one-third of Clinton supporters in South Dakota and Montana said they would either vote for Republican Sen. John McCain or stay at home rather than cast the ballot in favor of Obama.
As divided as the Democrats are, however, an Obama-Clinton "dream ticket" is not necessarily the solution to unity.
Since its inception, Obama's campaign has been based on change, on splitting from the corrupt and dated status quo of Washington. It has been about turning away from the legacy of the big government regimes of Bush and Clinton.
If Clinton were a vice presidential candidate, she would bring to Obama's fresh campaign of change years and years of baggage from her life in politics.
Clinton and Obama each seem to represent different sides of the Democratic Party. A joint ticket would forcibly bring these two polarizing figures together and would highlight their dissimilarities, not their individual strengths.
An Obama-Clinton ticket would not be a ticket of change but rather a ticket of compromise.
Both Obama and Clinton have campaigned hard to achieve the nomination, neither of them willing to concede until every last vote was counted. Both candidates are hungry for power, both see themselves as independent and influential political forces. Are two people who have spent the last several months criticizing and differentiating themselves from each other able to set aside their differences and pull their party together?
Unity is possible, but not with a joint ticket. Latching on to Obama's victory will not help the Democrats in November. If Clinton is serious about uniting the Democrats, she should abandon desires to be vice president. Instead, Clinton should endorse Obama, campaign for him and encourage her supporters to vote for the Democrats in the general election.