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The Obama-Clinton Struggle Has Broken The Democratic Party

We may be witnessing a history-making moment in Democratic politics. There's an earthquake opening up a chasm of heretofore unseen proportions that could shatter the Democratic coalition. If you saw's video of an angry woman leaving the rules committee meeting in Washington, D.C., this weekend, you know exactly what I'm talking about. There were also videos on YouTube of furious protesters outside the rules committee sessions. Venom is spewing from any number of well-read blogs: that over the party's rough-handed treatment of Clinton and sanctification of the Obama candidacy. If you missed it, here's a typical example:

They (the Democratic hierarchy) will not acknowledge that Hilalry (sic) is a legitimate political actor and reduce her to an inhuman monster and enemy. They will not acknowledge that her supporters have sound, rational reasons for our support, and reduce us to mindless fools and spoils of war. They shift blame for their own choices and actions onto us and expect that we will cater to their whims. With every arrogant demand that we capitulate to Obama's desires, the idea of an Obama presidency becomes just that much less legitimate.

Here's a typical response from one of this blogger's readers:

His job is to make himself an appealing candidate to the people he has spent months dismissing and insulting.There's nothing he can do to make himself appealing to this person he has dismissed. He cannot change his lack of experience, lack of qualifications, lack of judgment, lack of ethics, lack of cojones, lack of commitment to anything other than himself. He cannot become someone I want to see in the White House. All of that alone is enough reason for me not to vote for him.

Obama for his part has spent the past few months talking about how he has "work to do" to make up to Democratic voters who do not support him: the older white women, working-class whites, and Catholics who went for Clinton in a big way. But the question now is whether any amount of "work" will bring these voters into his camp in November. My reaction is the party is permanently alienating a much more important constituency than the one it is placating. No amount of work in the world will persuade these folks to vote blue this fall. Some may never vote blue again.

Senator Clinton's presence on the Democratic ticket would help, certainly. But it's almost a foregone conclusion Senator Obama will not choose her.

By Bonnie Erbe

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