Column: Clinton Earned Right To Continue Her Fight

This story was written by Etse Sikanku, Iowa State Daily

There are some who believe Sen. Hillary Clinton - the once inevitable and now long shot candidate from New York - should throw in the towel in the race for the Democratic nomination.

They contend that Clinton's continuation in the race bodes badly for the party on two scores. First, that it will lead to further rancor within the party thereby deepening already divisive tendencies; and secondly, that a sustained fight could further bruise Obama even before he has the chance to face McCain and the proverbial "Republican attack machine" in the fall. A stretched campaign, they contend, will give the eventual nominee less time to recover, while giving the opponent more ammunition for the general election.

Some are even sure to argue that Clinton is a Machiavellian politician, willing to do anything - just about anything - to guarantee her own political career and clout, even to the detriment of her party. Throughout her career, she has been labeled several things, including "Lady Macbeth" and the "Wicked Witch of the East," among others.

Many have been quick to write her off as early as the early post-Iowa Caucus days, noting that Clinton will fare badly against any Republican nominee because her "negatives are high." Some of the Obama-obsessed media have begun to write about the Democratic race as if it was a closed deal with Obama on top of the ticket.

The fact of the matter is that the race for the Democratic nomination is still underway and it will not take a miracle for either one of the two - Obama or Clinton - to clinch the nomination, although Clinton's chances are dimmer.

In as much as I admire Obama and believe that he has a greater chance of clinching the nomination, I do not think there is any reason for Clinton to quit. I assert that the pros of her staying in the race far outweigh the cons.

Let's take step back and look at the broader picture. First of all, there is no denying the fact that the party primaries and caucuses serve as one of the most potent symbols of American democracy. Just about anybody who knows anything about democracy agrees that the basic tenets of this form of government include the rule of law - which guarantees rights and freedoms for the people, equality and freedom of participation. "Government of the people, by the people, for the people" as Abraham Lincoln said in his Gettysburg Address. The question to ask is: Why subvert citizen participation, especially with only about three more states to go?

Furthermore, I believe Clinton has earned the right to stay in the race. She is leading in the popular vote and has won in all the big swing states. In fact, at the moment McCain leads Obama in almost all the key swing states with Clinton doing better than McCain. Quinnipiac University polls show McCain beats Obama 45 to 41 percent in Florida, where the 2000 electoral drama took place. He leads Obama in Ohio - another key battleground state - by 44 percent to 40 percent. It is only in Pennsylvania, a must-win state for any Democratic nominee, that Obama leads McCain by 46 to 40 percent. Clinton, however, leads McCain in all three states after - winning the primaries handily - by 48 to 41 in Florida and Ohio and 50 to 37 in Pennsylvania.

On one level, Obama may argue that he is leading by every single criteria for the nomination - super delegates, pledged delegates, states won and total number of delegates - but the reality is the rules of the Democratic Party will not apply in the general election, where he will have to fare very well in the swing states and definitely clinch some "must-win" states in order to catch a glimpse of the White House. The reality of the day is that any American presidential battle will be fought according to the Electoral College, witha winner-take-all system and not proportional representation.

Let's face it, had the Democrats conducted their electoral process the way the nation does, Hillary Clinton would be the nominee. The unspoken fear within the liberal community is that they seem to be pressing the self-destruct button, and may surprise everyone by losing to a manifestly weak Republican Party in November.