Tuesday, March 25, 2008
It ain't over 'til it's over
Bill Richardson's endorsement and the role of superdelegates
There is no doubt that Bill Richardson’s endorsement is a much needed break for Barack Obama, who has recently been under intense fire for his association with Jeremiah Wright. The real question, however, is whether the assumption of many analysts that Richardson’s decision could influence other superdelegates will turn into a reality. I would argue that the answer is no.
Richardson himself said in February that “superdelegates should vote according to who they represent. If somebody's appointed as a superdelegate because they're Hispanic or a governor, they should pay attention to what their voters and their constituencies are saying.” This sentiment has been shared by the Obama camp as they have repeatedly called on superdelegates not to overturn the will of the voters. Richardson, however, is the governor of New Mexico, a state where Clinton won narrowly and was favored 2-1 by Hispanic voters. His reasoning, that despite his admiration for the Clintons, he doesn’t think it should be “Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton,” may not be enough for his constiuencies to understand his change of heart. Nevertheless, other notable superdelegates have also gone against the will of their states including John Kerry, who also endorsed Obama despite Clinton’s 13 point win in Massachusettes.
So what’s the big deal, you ask? Well, I don’t think there is one, and I’m not complaining. Richardson has every right to support the candidate of his choice. Superdelegates are supposed to exercise their best judgment in regard to the nation and the democratic party, and that is why this race is far from over. Though she is likely to end up behind in pledged delegates, there is a chance that Clinton could end up leading in the popular vote when the last of the 10 remaining contests is over. She will use that statistic, along with her advantage in the larger swing states to make her case to the superdelegates. If they buy it, she wins. If they don’t, she doesn’t. While the rules have caused a lot of uproar, they are what they are, and either way it’s a fair game.
To say that Richardson’s endorsement hasn’t already helped Obama would be false. As a long time friend of the Clintons and a former UN Ambassador under President Clinton, his endorsement is definitely a valuable prize for Obama. However, his repeated pressuring of Clinton to drop out of the race shows how political his motivations truly are, especially given the will of his own state.
It also brings attention to the fact that supporters of both sides are trying to spin this close race in favor of their personal favorite. While I support Hillary Clinton, I’m not going to pretend that she is winning. It’s definitely an uphill battle, but it’s not an impossible one. She was counted out before New Hampshire. She was counted out before Texas and Ohio, and now she’s being counted out again. All I’m saying and all that I think is necessary to agree upon, is that the race ain’t over ‘til it’s over.
When that day comes, I will support the nominee, and I have faith that other Democrats will do the same. I reject the belief that the Democratic Party will not be unified when our candidate is finally chosen, regardless of how difficult that may seem now. While the back and forth is exhausting and attacks have become increasing negative, there is too much at stake to lose in November. I’m confident that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will do what is necessary to heal the wounds and win back the White House: they will join together on the same ticket. If the party is as divided as the race is close, a joint ticket may be the only way to appease both sides. While it may seem like a dream right now, Clinton and Obama haven’t made it this far in the battle to risk losing the war.