Relax, It’s Okay if Liberals Don’t Agree on a Candidate Yet

The surprisingly close race between Democratic presidential frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is certainly exciting, but it’s also making some liberals nervous. Social media is full of party loyalists begging their peers to stop fighting and making the race so “contentious,” afraid that the current debate will kill the Democratic Party’s chances in November.

Hogwash! This so-called “feud” is what campaign season is all about – disagreeing, debating, supporting one candidate over another… it’s all part of the game. More significantly, it’s a game we’ve played time and time again. It may look divisive on the surface, but that doesn’t make it permanently so.

Take the 2008 race for example. The campaign turned negative between Clinton and Obama during primary season, but that didn’t stop Clinton from endorsing eventual nominee Obama in the general election, nor did it stop many of her supporters from voting for him in November. In a country with a dominant two-party system, people tend to fall in line.

Don’t believe that will happen again? Look at each candidate’s favorability ratings. Both politicians score well with the majority of registered Democrats, indicating that Democrats would be happy with either one as their eventual nominee. Granted, many would be happier with one over the other, but that doesn’t make it a bridge too far to cross in subsequent months.

Democrats don’t lose when they fight amongst each other – they lose when they don’t fight amongst each other. The discourse occurring between Sanders and Clinton is remarkably intellectual and ultimately beneficial to the party. This exchange of ideas gives Democrats the opportunity to develop a more clearly defined platform that resonates with the voters.

There are plenty of valid reasons to applaud Clinton and plenty of valid reasons to criticize her. Similarly, there are plenty of valid reasons to both applaud and criticize Sanders. All of these talking points are fair game and should be discussed in order to determine which candidate deserves to be the nation’s commander-in-chief. Ignoring the various pros and cons will do the eventual nominee no favors come the general election, particularly since they’re the same critiques Republicans have advertised and will continue to advertise for the remainder of the year.

Close primary battles are also critical in helping to secure future votes. If Clinton were running away with the contest right now as initially expected, you wouldn’t see her spending so much money or offering as much face-time in these critical states. Primary races are a way to campaign before the big campaign. Obama strategists credit his November 2008 victory in key states like Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana in large part to having strong, preexisting volunteer bases in those states from the year’s earlier hard-fought primary races.

Are there Bernie fans who will vote for a third-party candidate if and when Sanders is out of the race? Sure, but those are probably independent voters who only considered voting Democratic in the first place because of Sanders’ presence. Are there Hillary fans that would be disenchanted at missing yet another chance to have a female as the nation’s leader? Certainly, but there’s little chance pro-women voters would reassign their support to anyone in the Republican field.

Current calls to “unite” behind a particular candidate for the good of the party may be well-intentioned, but they’re also misguided. With citizens in 49 states still waiting to weigh in with their own preferences, we’d be doing the democratic process a disservice to try to urge people to fall in line without their input.

While it’s always okay to ask for civility in discourse, telling people to drop the discourse altogether is downright undemocratic. Politics are built around passionate disputes, and the fact that Democrats are especially passionate about the current candidates is a sign that the party is both relevant and strong. Quit worrying that a healthy contest somehow spells doom for the Democratic Party.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

78 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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ERIKA SOMLAI
ERIKA S3 years ago

noted

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Eric Lees
Eric Lees3 years ago

I don't agree with all of Jill Stein's ideas but unlike Sanders she is actually proposing big cuts to the military. Of course she would face fierce opposition from both the Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

ahtribune.com/us/2016-election/436-jill-stein-bernie.html

You have to look at each issue individually and determine what impact it would have as a whole including all unintended side effects. If you do that then you will conclude that many of the proposals of Hillary and especially Sanders are not really progress they only shift the costs around.
Every candidate should have to come up with their own ideal budget taking into account the debt and how we will pay it down. We can not have real progress as long as we are in debt to the world.

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Marie W.
Marie W3 years ago

I am relaxed.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan B3 years ago

Peggy B.,
I agree that it should be done in a civilized manner. It would be nice if the posters here followed suit. Too many embarrass themselves with profanity, name calling, and other sorts of improper responses. Many people do have different views on how to fight crime, care for those in retirement, deal with foreign powers, create economic prosperity, and the like. Unfortunately, politics tends to bring out the worst in people.

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Peggy B.
Peggy B3 years ago

I don't object to the debate of issues my concern is that it be done in a mature civilized manner. I don't want to see them stooping to GOP tantrums and name calling. I welcome debate among people that basicially want the same things, but feel they have different views on how to reach that goal. It provides more knowledge and info for us. The world's media broadcasts these debates worldwide and I don't want to see America embarrassed by Democrats in their eyes like the GOP has done. Debate with dignity is all we ask.

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Joseph Glackin
Joseph Glackin3 years ago

Danny boy~~ That you would equate scientific realities such as climate change with third rate political fear mongering like "impending Sharia Law!" only reduces your relevance.

As always, Shakespeare has a word for you. I am loathe to repeat.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan B3 years ago

Joseph,
I do not think it is confined to one party. Sure, we have those railing against potential terrorists among the refugees or illegals stealing your jobs. On the other side, we have fear of rapidly rising temperatures and threat of a theocracy. I am sure we could up with an endless laundry list, if we continued. But if you listen to either party, they tell you a multitude of ills that the opposing party has caused or will implement, if elected.

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Joseph Glackin
Joseph Glackin3 years ago

The problem today is we have a party who runs on fear. They convince people to vote against their own self interests by threatening the specter of "them!". It matters not if the threat is exaggerated or a total fiction, as long as it scares people.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/25/us/tally-of-attacks-in-us-challenges-perceptions-of-top-terror-threat.html

"We have met the enemy, and he is us."
--Pogo

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan B3 years ago

Margaret,,
I would agree that most people want those things. However, many disagree on who should provide them. I was referring more to political ideology. Our government does not have the greatest history of keeping the needs of the people in mind.

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