Reality seems to be finally dawning, however slowly, on Hillary Clinton. Even as most Americans were recognizing Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee for president, Hillary refused to concede and start unifying her party. Instead, she gave a startling non-concession speech Tuesday night and dragged her candidacy out for at least one more day. Many of her supporters are having an equally difficult time accepting Obama’s victory.
Cristi Adkins, a prominent Hillary Clinton supporter and frequent Neal Cavuto guest, appeared on Cavuto’s Fox News show today to promote “Clintons for McCain”. This newly launched organization is a group of diehard Clinton supporters who are so incensed over the loss of the nomination that they are pledging that come November, they will abandon their party and cast their votes for Republican nominee John McCain.
Sexism seems to be the perceived reason for Clinton’s loss, at least among her supporters. Adkins actually used the phrase “Bullied out of the White House” to describe Clinton’s current predicament, and railed against Obama’s army of paid bloggers for their apparent role in Clinton’s downfall. She also brought up the popular vote vs. number of delegates issue. She is a decidedly unhappy voter who feels the candidate of her choice was unjustly denied, and apparently there are a lot of others who feel the same way. They feel cheated and simply refuse to accept Not-Hillary as their candidate.
Cavuto didn’t take the opportunity to point out to Adkins that it is delegates, not the popular vote, that wins these elections. It might seem unfair, but that’s how it works. Clinton, however entitled to the highest office of the land she may have felt, is subject to this system, just like every other candidate. The rules do not change for her. Cavuto did point out to Adkins that she was, however unintentionally, coming across as a sore loser. He was right. When presented with a “Hillary as VP” scenario, Adkins still refuses to vote for Obama, even if it would put her candidate a step closer to the presidency.
In a way, it might make sense, if sense were involved in making this decision. As Adkins stated, Clinton and McCain are more similar on the issues than Clinton and Obama. And Clinton’s supporters are probably correct that she would have had a better chance to beat McCain in November. She’s certainly a more experienced candidate than Obama.
But the Democratic Party’s desire and need to unify after a bruising battle for the nomination could be seriously undermined if a sizable portion of their membership refuses to support the party because they feel cheated out of the nominee of their choice, or even just out of spite. Taking back the White House has been a huge goal of the Democratic Party since 2000, and this can’t help; in fact, it could really hurt. McCain’s camp has indicated they will be going after Clinton supporters. “Clintons for McCain” could give them a huge jump start. Adkins never said that she and others like her will vote for McCain because he’s the candidate they believe in. They’re voting for him because they’re angry and this is their way of hitting back.
As their appearance last weekend at the DNC Florida/Michigan delegates meetings showed, Clinton has some extremely vocal and emotional supporters, and like their candidate, they don’t seem to be able to accept that their dream has come to an end, at least for now. Most of the voters who fall into this category are women, and you know what they say about women scorned, or who even think they’ve been scorned. “Clintons for McCain” are not supporting McCain, they’re voting for him. There’s a difference.
If McCain wins in November, he may have Clinton supporters to thank for helping him defeat Obama. Good luck with that party unity thing, Democrats.