Competitive Primary Is Healthy—Look at Obama's in 2008
Democrats united behind Obama after long, messy primary—Republicans can do the same
February 1, 2012
Throughout this process, many have argued that Republican voters do not like their candidates and that the fight for the GOP nomination will leave a tattered, divided party.
This is silly.
Let's look at recent history. In the 2008 Iowa caucuses, a majority of Democrats supported candidates Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and others over their eventual nominee. Clinton supporters did not like Barack Obama, a feeling that was, and remains, mutual. That Hillary Clinton then won in New Hampshire was not a sign of a schizophrenic party, merely that the process was continuing as it always had.
In 2008, the Democrats were engaged in a long, divisive, expensive, and, let's not forget, personal battle. Who can forget Rep. James Clyburn and former President Bill Clinton arguing over who played the "race card" on whom, or leading Clinton surrogate, now Democratic National Committee chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz echoing Republican talking points over Barack Obama's lack of experience? This fight went all the way to the DNC's rules committee, where Clinton supporters chanted "Denver! Denver!" in hopes of taking the fight to the national convention. Yes, we've conveniently forgotten that many Democrats we're willing, if not eager, to take from Barack Obama the nomination he earned.
What happened? Despite all of this, Democrats united and won the White House. Similarly, Republicans will unite behind our nominee because nothing unites the party more than the prospect of defeating Barack Obama so we can repeal ObamaCare, end annual trillion-dollar deficits, both desperately needed to fix our economy, and put America back on the right track.
The 2008 Democratic primary demonstrated that long, competitive primaries can be a good thing. This should be no surprise for Republicans. After all, we believe competition is healthy.