Clinton supporters are sore losers which may cost the Democrats the White House
By Elan Barnehama
I have a lot of experience with the agony of defeat. Sure, winning is better, but that’s the way contests go. And it’s certainly the way a democracy works. As a candidate, you don’t always win. As a voter, you don’t always get to choose the winner. In either case, you gather yourself up and get ready to try again. Or you throw your support to another candidate, another bill, another policy.
This does not seem to be the case with many of Senator Clinton’s supporters. I don’t get their anger at Senator Obama. Clinton spent the better part of the last three years as the presumptive Democratic nominee. Her campaign was gracious in their behavior, believing that the primaries were just a formality. The nomination was hers to lose. And she lost it. The same way the presidency was Gore’s to lose, and he lost it. The same way the presidency was Kerry’s to lose and he lost it. And the same way the presidency is Obama’s to lose. And he might be finding his own way to lose it.
But some Clinton supporters—acting like classic sore losers—seem bent on helping Obama lose. I’m completely confused by those Clinton supporters who have turned to Senator McCain. Do they really see him as the “woman’s” candidate? Do they really see any match between his policies, values, proposals and hers? Do they really feel represented by the Republican Party? By the evangelical Republicans? The Rush Limgaugh clones? Or is it just revenge?
Not supporting Obama is one thing. Just as no Democrat owed Hillary a vote during the primaries, no Democrat owes Obama a vote in the election. And while I prescribe to the theory that presidential elections are about a party’s platform, everyone owns their own vote.
For years now, the Democrats have stumbled when it came to building their base. In fact, they appear to have an uncanny knack for destroying it. Their shifting messages contribute to that.
Hillary Clinton inspired millions of voters. While she lost the nomination, she succeeded in invigorating the party. Now, her voters must help deliver Democratic governors, senators, representatives, and a president in November. If Hillary supporters turn out to be only for Hillary, then in fact, her campaign failed.
Elan Barnehama is a writer living in Western Massachusetts. He has taught at several colleges and was, most recently, a Senior Writer for Wesleyan University in Connecticut. His commentaries have aired on public radio and appeared in newspapers. E-mail Elan at: firstname.lastname@example.org.