The main message I wanted to convey in my last post about polls was that I don’t think it’s reasonable to defect. If you’re really a democrat–that is someone who is anti-war, concerned about healthcare, etc., there is no reason to vote for John McCain. I hope you got that.
I’m rather pissed off that the Clintons seem to disagree. I’m more than a little pissed off that Hillary Clinton sees fit to lie about being shot at by snipers in foreign countries in order to enhance her experience. If it comes to it, I will vote for her with a great deal of resentment.
I still don’t see that as a reason to switch parties. Unless you’re more concerned about the personality of the candidates than anything else, a deeply flawed candidate who is interested in a lot of your issues is still better than a deeply flawed one who isn’t. Even if you are concerned about personality, McCain really is an ordinary politician. He’s better than Bush in a lot of ways, but he’s unprincipled, he’s appallingly ignorant, and he’s willing to play fast and loose with the truth. There’s no reason to go to bat for him based on his personal qualities.
Another question is what the results might show about the party. Democratic Obama supporters are more loyal to the party than Hillary voters by a lot. I’m open to persuasion, but I don’t think we should read too much into that loyalty. It does make me be more seriously worried by her praise for McCain–she is hurting the probable Democratic nominee. Beyond that, I don’t think it’s an important fact. Obama’s Democratic supporters tend to be more active in the party and probably more liberal–he gets the support of the netroots, etc. Hillary tends to attract late deciders, people who may not be as focused on the primary campaign. (I don’t mean either of these things as a covert attempt to say we’re better). Many of Hillary’s supporters are white working class folks who are an important Democratic constituency, but also voters open to crossing party lines (unlike Obama’s supporters in the African American communities). The difference in whose supporters would be willing to vote for a Republican may be a product of different demographics, rather than any more important factor.
As a side note, the optimistic news is that tons of people are registering as Democrats. If the long primary is polarizing people, it’s also making it so that there are just more registered Democrats out there to vote for the eventual nominee.