The End and the BeginningIt has been moved back a day-now we're being told it will happen Saturday- but Hillary Clinton will finally concede the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama:
Clinton, in an e-mail to supporters, said she "will be speaking on Saturday
about how together we can rally the party behind Senator Obama. The stakes are
too high and the task before us too important to do otherwise."
Aides told NBC News that there would be a private staff event
Friday in Washington, followed by the public event on Saturday. They said that
she would not waive her right to have her name placed in nomination and that she
had not negotiated for anything from Obama, such as debt relief for her
Clinton's move to formally declare that she is backing the Illinois senator
came after Democratic congressional colleagues made clear they had no stomach
for a protracted intraparty battle.
The Democrats are already damaged by the primary battle between these two, and many Clinton primary voters will not vote for Obama in the fall even if Hillary is his running mate (though having Clinton as a running mate may be Obama's only hope for a State-by-State electoral victory). It is understandable from a Democratic point of view why some of Clinton's most ardent supporters now want the battle to end.
The Democratic brass know that they are going to have a much more difficult time selling Barack Obama to the larger and more skeptical American electorate than he had in winning Democratic primaries. In addition to the primary voters who may swear him off, Obama must now reach out to a whole new group of voters; those who will vote in November for the first time. Some of these folks don't participate in the process at any time except in November of every fourth year.
Note, however, that it is apparent that Hillary Clinton is going to retain her right to be placed into nomination at the convention and could keep all of her pledged delegates. That could make for a very interesting roll call on Wednesday night of the convention-and one major Obama gaffe could give Clinton new bargaining power and clout with her delegate lode. The nomination fight in the party opposite may be over, but the consequences of it have only begun to be felt.