Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Cause

The "Disgruntled Hillary Clinton Supporter" is back in the news, this time in the context that Senator Clinton is having difficulty getting her die-hard supporters to throw their support behind Senator Obama's campaign. There is an interesting point that seems to be missing from this revived coverage: Many of these people appear NOT to actually be supporters of Senator Clinton - they are supporters of a CAUSE, for which Senator Clinton was not the leader, but a figurehead. Hence, the idea that die-hard Clintonistas "don't find [Senator Clinton] as persuasive as they once did because they think she's supporting Obama only to keep her political future alive." In other words, Senator Clinton was useful to this segment of her "supporters" only as long as she was on board with the Cause. Now, that she has seemingly abandoned it, in the name of political pragmatism, she has become merely a high-visibility apostate.

This, more than anything else, seems to be at the root of the problem. I suspect that there is a segment like this in the die-hard core constituency of any popular politician. There are likely some Mitt Romney "supporters" that have decided that Senator McCain isn't their man, either, and regard Romney as somehow treacherous for suggesting that he should be. The unique aspect of the Hillary Clinton campaign is the remarkable percentage of her overall voter base who support what they decided she stood for, rather than the candidate herself, or the party that she belongs to, and are now willing to ignore both in the name of being true to the Cause.

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