Here is a quick summary of the past week’s events in the Democratic race for the presidency. Hillary Clinton either has a really bad memory or is a really bad liar when it comes to remembering a trip to Bosnia she took as First Lady. Barack Obama is still friends with a so-called “hate speech” pastor. Also, Obama has released his tax returns, while Clinton is still stalling. The media has played five-to-10-second sound bites of the candidates’ speeches on the economy. This is the news that stood out front-and-center this week in the Democratic race, but what should have stood out?
Well, how about those speeches on the economy and the solutions the candidates have offered for the Iraq War and the healthcare system? If there’s one thing I know for sure, there is something seriously wrong with the way the Democratic race is progressing toward the convention. Instead of focusing on America’s issues, the media has turned this race into a circus of name-calling and smoking guns.
This is frustrating because all people want to talk about is who said this and who said that instead of where Clinton and Obama stand on the issues. The media shoves the same stories in the face of the public on a daily basis, only adding to an already heated fight. Clinton apparently lied about snipers attacking her in Bosnia, and Obama is still a member of the church he’s been attending for 20 years with a pastor who made some fiery speeches. Yes, the candidates’ tax returns are important to a certain extent, but do they deserve a five-minute news exclusive? I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty tired of it.
I’m tired of this ongoing game of cat-and-mouse (and no, I won’t go into who is the cat and who is the mouse) in the Democratic race for the nominee. The media portrays one image over and over, burning it into your mind so that you constantly see it in your peripheral vision. The television news, radio and newspapers play and write about the same images and sound bites of one candidate going after the other trying to make each other look bad, when all they’re doing is making the Democrats look bad as a whole.
All the while, the united Republicans sit back and watch. No one likes a divided front. The Republicans know that, but the Democrats are not getting the message. People are fonder of a more united front. You know the kind. When two people who basically stand for the same beliefs and values in politics put down their red, white and blue machetes and hold hands? The time has come for the Democrats to hold hands, sing a Barney song and go on a play date.
The time is now because if a Democratic candidate doesn’t drop out soon, and the Democrats don’t pull together to fight John McCain, there won’t be any “change” as Obama would say or “solutions” as Clinton would call them. Everything will stay the same. More soldiers will perish in this ongoing war, more struggling families will lose their homes to foreclosures in this dangerous economy and more people will be without healthcare. Nothing will change and nothing will be solved.
Clinton and Obama need to recognize the reality that an even more extended primary race would lessen the chance of either of them winning against McCain in November. In past elections, a close race between candidates during the primaries resulted in a loss for the party. According to a CNN news article, in a 1980 election, candidates Ted Kennedy and Jimmy Carter went head-to-head all the way to the convention, which resulted in a drop of Democratic votes in the November election and Republican Ronald Reagan elected as President.
According to a recent poll by CNN/Opinion and Research Survey, 16 percent of Clinton and Obama supporters said they would not vote in the November election if their preferred candidate dropped out of the race. Losing 16 percent of the Democratic vote in the November election might put McCain in the Oval Office. And that’s a risk the Democrats can’t afford to take.
While the decision about the Democratic nominee hangs in the air, the economy continues to stand on shaky ground, the war in Iraq rages on and more and more people lose confidence in the American government. I doubt that this is what Clinton or Obama envisioned when they decided to run for President, but it’s happening. The negativity of both candidates and the media is only hurting the Democrats and their chances in general election. So what are they going to do about it? Maybe we will get an answer after these next few primaries are over. Only the delegates will tell.
Erica Frazier is a third-year literary journalism major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.