Flip-flopper. Liberal. A step backwards. Reagan sympathizer. Inexperienced. Divisive.
These are a few of the charges that have flown back and forth in the campaigns for the Republican and Democratic nominations in the past month.
But on campus, supporters of the two major Democratic candidates are playing nice, just as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have started to do in recent days. The groups have decided to support whomever wins the Democratic nomination. Tonight, they’ll even gather together to watch the returns from the 22 states holding nominating contests.
LSA senior Kelly Bernero, chair of the University’s chapter of Students for Hillary, said Clinton and Obama have realized that Americans are tired of negative politics and have stopped squabbling. She said the two senators have decided to focus on issues instead.
“At the end of the day, all Democrats have to support our candidate,” Bernero said. “We all want a Democrat in the White House in ’08.”
Although Bernero thinks Clinton’s record and policies are better than her opponent’s, she said Obama is a strong candidate who she would support in the general election.
Tom Duvall, chair of Students for Obama, said he would “happily” support Clinton if she wins the nomination.
Duvall said he prefers Obama’s message of change, but added that he, along with many other Democrats, finds both candidates attractive.
Though they’ll be spending much of today making last-minute phone calls to voters in Super Tuesday states on the West Coast, Students for Obama will join Students for Hillary and the College Democrats to watch tonight’s primary results.
On the Republican side, though, there is no such love to be found.
LSA senior Amy Drumm, chair of the University’s chapter of Students for Romney, said that Republicans who support Romney would have a “tough time” backing McCain.
Drumm said McCain misrepresented some of Romney’s statements regarding policy in Iraq and falsely accused the former governor of Massachusetts of flip-flopping.
“McCain has been lying about a lot of things while claiming to be Mr. Straight Talk,” Drumm said. “Personally, we find it very demoralizing that he would lie about the facts.”
Representatives of the University chapter of Students for McCain could not be reached for comment.
LSA senior Sam Harper, chair of the University’s chapter of College Democrats, said he thinks Republicans will support their party’s nominee, but that they’ll be less inclined to do so if they aren’t completely supportive of the person.
“I think the majority of the right will support a moderate Republican,” Harper said. “Their motivation to turn up at the polls will depend on the Democratic nominee.”
Harper said the Democratic Party has united against the Bush Administration and will continue to work together to take back the White House.
“It can be the case where primaries are divisive within a party, but people need to remember is at the end of the day, the goal is electing a Democrat,” Harper said. “That’s not going to be achieved if people are caught up in the primary decision after it’s been decided.”
Twenty-two states will hold presidential nominating contests today to dole out almost half the delegates to each party’s convention. Democrats living outside the U.S. and in American Samoa will also cast ballots. But the fight for the Democratic and Republican nominations couldn’t be more different.
Sen. John McCain could secure the Republican nomination today. Polls of GOP voters in Super Tuesday many states show the Arizona senator leading Mitt Romney, whose greatest triumph came when he won the Michigan primary just three weeks ago.
The Democratic race, meanwhile, has been tightening over the past few weeks. Sen. Barack Obama surprised most of the nation when he topped Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Iowa caucuses last month. Since then, he’s closed what was once a large Clinton lead.