Hillary Clinton supporters are facing the prospect of having to decide whether to vote for Barack Obama, vote for John McCain or not vote at all. They're about to be wooed like never before - a stark contrast to what they experienced during the nomination process from the media and a significant portion of Obama supporters.
Yet if you look at the math, as they've been told to do, the general election is not winnable by Barack Obama without party unity - something we're told will happen when people who support Hillary Clinton finally see the light - or wisely peer into the darkness that a McCain presidency proffers.
Why would a Hillary Clinton supporter vote for McCain? It does seem ludicrous. After all, he represents four to eight more years of George W. Bush. The country can't afford that. What would prompt a Hillary supporter, especially a Democrat, to even consider backing such a despicable outcome? Revenge? Not good enough. That feeling in the pit of the stomach women get when they know they've been dismissed, diminished or patronized? That's a tough one, but it still doesn't trump the future of the country. Being told it will only take a few months to convince them and most Hillary supporters to flip -- something in persuasion you never telegraph if you really plan to be persuasive? Still, can McCain be the answer? Hardly.
Yet why not turn the question around? If keeping McCain out of the White House is vital to America, why, despite what's touted as Hillary Clinton's "baggage," would Barack Obama not want her as the vice presidential candidate any less than she, as the nominee, would want him in that spot if it made a McCain win unlikely? Revenge? Not good enough. Disdain for a woman who criticized him as not ready to be president? Still, you have to wonder.
How about long-term hatred for "the Clintons"? But, the country is at stake in so many ways. Believing that unity is possible without her? Risky.
So the question cuts both ways. Why should Barack Obama let McCain win if that's exactly what Clinton and her supporters should not do? Wouldn't he be diminishing hope in favor of hubris?
To win Hillary Clinton voters, if that's indeed how all plays out, it will take knowing in their heart of hearts that Barack Obama would not be one iota more willing to relinquish the country to John McCain than the woman and her supporters he expects to take the same stand.