I just made my first contribution to Barack Obama, and I did it though the Blue Majority page on Act Blue. Now, I am asking you to do the same, since Barack Obama is the latest candidate to be added to the Blue Majority page.
Ever since the Blue Majority page was launched nearly one year ago, we at Blue Majority knew that we would add the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to the page. In my opinion, Barack Obama has now emerged as the presumptive nominee. With a pledged delegate lead of 162, a popular vote lead of more than 800,000, barring a spectacular collapse and / or a highly unlikely thwarting of the popular vote, Barack Obama will become the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. When he reaches 2,024 delegates, which at this point requires only 42.7% of the remaining delegates to be decided, he will control both the credentials committee and the majority of the non-disputed delegates at the floor of the convention. At that point, the only way that Barack Obama loses the nomination is if he decides that Hillary Clinton should be the nominee instead. In other words, Barack Obama has become the presumptive Democratic nominee, and it is time to start supporting him.
Importantly, my rationale for endorsing Barack Obama goes beyond his status as the overwhelming favorite to win the nomination. As a progressive, there are two key ideological markers that I believe make Barack Obama a better choice than Hillary Clinton: the Iraq war and the DLC. First, Barack Obama opposed the invasion of Iraq from the start, and rejected the neoconservative principle of pre-emptive warfare as one of his main reasons for opposing the war. Being able to identify the invasion of Iraq as a colossal mistake makes Barack Obama far more qualified to lead our country than candidates who both were, and still are, unable to recognize why the war was such a bad idea. Comparing Obama's and Clinton's statements on the death of 4,000 American soldiers in Iraq, it seems clear that Hillary Clinton still believes in the neoconservative vision for Iraq, while Barack Obama does not. The second ideological marker is the Democratic Leadership Council, an organization formed to push the Democratic Party and the national political debate to the right on a variety of issues. While Hillary Clinton is a member of the DLC's leadership, Barack Obama has repeated refuses to be associated with the group.
There are numerous other reasons, too. Here are the four that mean the most to me:
- First, many people have said that there are few policy differences between Obama and Clinton, but the truth is that their telecom policies could hardly be further apart from each other. Obama proposes exactly the sort of transformative, open telecommunications policy that we need to transform the media landscape in America, while Hillary Clinton's telecom proposals are nothing more than heinous corporate welfare. Without a transformed telecommunications landscape, we are going to have an extremely difficult time building a progressive America or passing any of our other legislation.
- Second, in terms of electability, in order to win the general election a candidate must first become the nominee. Simply put, I don't see many ways for Hillary Clinton to pull that off. Further, in order to win the general election, Democrats will need time to define McCain, and time to heal the party once the nomination contest is over. However, Hillary Clinton's only path to the nomination is through the convention in late August, and also through a intra-partisan civil war. In other words, Clinton's path to the nomination renders her unelectable in the general. There simply won't be enough time to heal the party and define John McCain.
- Third, how a candidate campaigns is a strong reflection on how that candidate governs. For example, we could tell from the 2000 election that George Bush would govern through a series of power grabs, Orwellian language, and with a total disregard for popular opinion. Barack Obama, by contrast, is campaigning through unprecedented national grassroots organizing, speeches that are becoming the stuff of legend, and the manifestation of a new political coalition that moves us away from the political alignment of 1968-2004. Too often, I have heard from the Clinton campaign and its surrogates about states and demographic groups that don't matter. Such statements are a stark reminder of a recent version of the Democratic Party that takes its base for granted, and only campaigns in a select few swing districts. We need a Democratic Party that organizes and governs based on Barack Obama and Howard Dean's campaign styles, rather than one that is based on Hillary Clinton's and Terry McAuliffe's.
- Fourth, coattails and movement building matter. In both of Blue Majority's victories so far in 2008, Donna Edwards in MD-04 and Bill Foster in IL-14, the energy and activism brought to bear by Barack Obama were key. The activism in support of Barack Obama has the potential to greatly enhance the political reach of the progressive movement, and also to provide Democrats with sweeping downticket victories. I once called this progressive movement symbiosis, and I still believe it is the most promising path to a truly progressive governing majority that I have seen in my lifetime.
It is for all of these reasons that I am happy and proud to endorse Barack Obama for President of the United States. I gave my first donation to his campaign today, and I urge you to do the same. Thrown in some money for the downticket campaigns, too, since we need more and better Democrats around the country and since the first quarter filing deadline is on Monday. Let's change America, and move closer toward fulfilling the promise of our new political movements: a progressive governing majority in America. Contribute to Barack Obama today.