Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Democratic Primary: How should Barack and Hillary finish it?

Whilst Barack and Hillary split the last two primaries, Obama's better than expected thumping in North Carolina and Clinton's close victory in Indiana have many speculating she will suspend her campaign sooner rather than later. After a turbulent few months for Obama - dogged by his association with controversial former pastor Jeremiah Wright and doubts raised by his inability to close out Clinton, it finally looks like things are winding down. Only one question remains; How will the two end it?

After a rancorous Democratic Primary, it is crucial that things be resolved in a way that strengthens the party. The loser must be allowed to exit graciously. Wounds that were opened must be addressed and healed. The party needs to unite around the winner to generate as much momentum to take into the general election.

In a previous post I spoke about Aura. In wrestling, a wrestler's value hinges on how they gain and preserve their Aura. As there can only be one winner, the trick is in managing defeat in a way that allows a wrestler to preserve their aura. In this way both contenders regardless of how they fared can come out of the match strong.

In the May 7 edition of PBS Newshour, Mark Shields and David Brooks offer their suggestions for how the Democrats should end their feud:

Mark Shields
...understand this. What Hillary Clinton is going through right now is reality setting in. It's painfully public and publicly painful. It's the implosion of all her aspirations, all her ambitions.

And this is a time for the Aretha Franklin approach, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, on the part -- respect on the part of the Obama people. They shouldn't be taking victory laps. They shouldn't be gloating. They should give her time.
David Brooks
Well, I guess, from the Hillary Clinton camp, I would say harvest a few wins -- presumably, she will do quite well in West Virginia and Kentucky -- but not attack Barack Obama and just begin to have the conversations across the campaigns...

And, really, it's -- that's the way to do it. Just have a gracious campaign. Take a few victory laps, make the points you want to make, and thank the people who have been supporting you -- and she's run an incredibly resilient campaign -- but never attack.

And, if you do that, I think you will see a lot of the psychology -- and I personally believe there has been a lot of harm done to the Democratic Party. I think the polling reveals that in spades. But if you have a gracious few weeks of -- take a few victories, I think you will begin to heal that.
Read the entire transcript of PBS Newshour's Shields and Brooks.
Listen and Download the discussion

Barack VS Hillary is the meeting of two formidable and popular competitors, both with loyal supporters. It was never going to be easy deciding between two worthy and equally matched candidates. A matchup of epic proportions, not unlike the legendary clash between The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan. For the sake of their Party, Democrats must hope that the fight between Hillary and Obama ends the same way the wrestlers ended theirs.

VIDEO: The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan finish
with the "respect angle" at WrestleMania VI
(skip to 2m40s if you're not interested in the wrestling)

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