Thursday, May 15, 2008

What Does An Edwards’ Endorsement Mean?

The big breaking political news yesterday was that former presidential candidate John Edwards jumped on the Obama Bandwagon and offered his endorsement.

But what does this mean? Nothing really. It means that those who still support Edwards because they like what he stands for, even though he dropped out of the Democratic primary race at the end of January, will go to Sen. Barack Obama.

The Illinois senator’s main rival, Hillary Clinton, was hoping to have the former North Carolina senator’s support. Besides his issues, both Clinton and Obama would gain Edwards’ delegates and former donors. And ironically, North Carolina was the state that Obama won last week.

The need of Edwards has been so great that both of the political rivals courted Edwards in February with individual private meetings to talk about the issues, among other things.

And why did the New York senator want the former Democratic Vice Presidential candidate’s support, besides the delegates? Edwards represents the old Democratic Party in a lot of ways. He’s one of the few candidates that talked about helping the lower class while others in both parties were falling over themselves to mention in every speech how they are going to help the middle class, just to gain their votes.

Certainly, a high-profile former candidate like Edwards, whose soft image has warmed a lot of Americans, is what Hillary needs to show the public how in touch with them she is by having a humble man support her.

But ultimately, because most of Edwards’ policies and beliefs closely resemble Obama’s, he gave his support to the candidate with the most delegates. And because of that, and because they are alike in other ways, there was an alternative reason why Edwards threw his support to the leading Democratic political candidate and it’s because of that title that eluded him in the 2004 presidential election: Vice President.

Yes, it’s very possible and extremely likely that Edwards is setting himself up to become Obama’s right-hand man. After sacrificing his role as senator for the role as president four years ago and the failed Kerry-Edwards ticket in 2004, this may be the only chance he has left of getting into the White House with some dignity, unlike Independent Ralph Nader, who has not won the presidential election in the last 16 years, but keeps running anyway.

Is it hypocritical of Edwards endorsing Obama and seemingly setting himself up as a vice presidential candidate while just a few months ago he criticized the Illinois senator for his inexperience? Sure it is, but that’s the game of politics. But whatever their rivalry was, it is nothing compared to Obama and Clinton’s. They drew a lot of blood and attacked each other. Having an Obama-Clinton ticket would be a little hard to swallow for some Democratic voters after the months of mudslinging between the two.

And Edwards may be a better choice than Clinton. Having a biracial black man may not set too well for many older Democrats and Republicans, who are unhappy with the presumed GOP nominee John McCain. But having a woman like Hillary Clinton, who has been caught doing a few dirty tricks during this campaign and represents the far left of her party, will leave a bad taste in their mouths.

Granted, a ticket like that is what many middle-aged and young voters are hoping for. That would be a true symbol that the races and sexes are now equal. But still, it may be too much for some close-minded voters in both parties, who cannot look past a person’s skin color or reproductive organs.

So, besides sharing the same anatomy, Edwards and Obama do share the same philosophy, such as fighting special interests in Washington. They are very close on the issues and seem to be a far more believable match than Obama and Hillary. And with Hillary vowing to fight to the very end in this race, and may destroy the party in the process, Edwards might be a better choice of uniting the Democrats if Obama gets the nomination.

Let’s not be too surprised that Obama shatters the predictions of many political analysts, who have been saying that Hillary maybe his VP, and chooses Edwards instead. After all, politics is a funny little game. You just never know what will happen sometimes.