A newly released AP/Yahoo! poll suggests that the Democratic Party constituents are not nearly as torn as some media outlets would like to insinuate. The poll found that 53% of those who backed Hillary Clinton before Obama captured nomination now support Obama. Many who responded to the poll said that though there are still some hard and hurt feelings on their part, they are now in Obama’s camp because party loyalty trump all ill feelings come November because this election is historic and a clean break from failed Republican polices and ideals is vital to the next 30-50 years of this nation’s history.
Those who have moved from Clinton to Obama offered reasons that closely mirror the sentiments of voters like Susan Gates and Gregory Scheetz. Gates said, “I’m a life-long Democrat so it wasn’t a difficult decision.”
Scheetz had a different take: “I feel that [Obama] can bring change. There’s people in our country that I see need help. They’re slow about getting it, and it just seems that Republicans are taking a different direction.” It might surprise some to learn that Scheetz is a Republican from very red Barstow, CA. Scheetz originally backed Clinton because of her experience and intelligence. He noted that he also felt it was time this country let a woman sit in the White House.
On a slightly troubling note, the poll also found that some rifts just can’t be mended. About 25% of former Clinton supporters stated they would not vote for Obama because they don’t see him as experienced enough to handle the highest office in the land. Some are waiting to see what kind of campaign Obama runs, as well as whether or not Obama can actually win them over.
What’s startling though, of this 25%, many openly said with Clinton out of the running, they are shifting over to John McCain. One woman, Kristie Hartle of NewYork, a Democrat who has never supported a single Republican candidate in her life, said “I’m Republican all the way now.” Hartle’s reason: It sounds to me like a Middle Eastern type of name and whether or not he’s born here in the United States, he doesn’t seem like, to me, somebody who is trustworthy… who’s to say he’s not a terrorist and we just don’t realize it yet?”
Though I would love to toss Hartle to the heap of smelly crap on the side and dismiss her as one of very few ignorant people still left in this country, the sad truth of the matter is that there are plenty of people like Hartle out there. And they’re not just Republicans. Hartle, if you recall, was a life-long, registered Democrat. In this regard, Hartle has company in Dean Johnson of Alabama. When asked why he would vote for McCain over Obama, Johnson replied, “I refuse to vote for an Arab to be in my White House.”
David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager, said, “Democrats are consolidating behind [Obama, but] we still have a lot of work to do.
The Obama campaign can certainly work harder and reach out to the undecideds and to those who are waiting for Obama to show them something more, but there is nothing they can do to convince the morons in either party that think—and I use that term VERY, loosely—the way Hartle and Johnson do.
Overall, the slow turn and alignment of many former Clinton supporters is good news for Obama. And given that it’s only been about a month since Clinton officially conceded, this is a welcome turn of events for the Obama campaign. More time, and a couple of happy summer BBQs, a nice, relaxing, week-long vacation by some lake later, most of the bitter taste in the mouths of former Clinton supporters will wash away and they will come around to Obama.
With the exception of the few who are truly ignorant and/or retarded, Obama should get most Democrats by Labor Day, especially if he has a strong showing during the Democratic National Convention in late August. This election is both historic and vital to the future of this nation. The differences between the two parties, as well as the two nominees couldn’t be bigger and wider. The choice for Democrats, and sane Republicans, should be an easy one.