Democrats may try to reach compromise between Clinton and Obama

March 7th, 2008 - 10:37 am ICT by admin  

By Parveen Chopra
New York, March 7 (IANS) Worried that the prolonged, hard fought race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama may jeopardise the eventual Democratic nominee’s chances in the presidential election, party leaders are likely to sit down in April to reach a compromise, according to an Indian American superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention (DNC) that declares the nominee. “It is undesirable to wait for the clear party nominee till the party’s convention in August while the Republicans have theirs decided in John McCain, because then we would not get enough time to have the campaign ready or raise money,” Kamil Hasan told IANS.

Appointed a member-at-large of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) three years ago by DNC chairman Howard Dean, Hasan said another fear was that the Obama-Clinton contest, turning bitter by the day, might divide the party.

With Tuesday’s polls in the two big states of Texas and Ohio reviving Clinton’s campaign, the party now has to wait for the Pennsylvania primary on April 22, with 158 delegates at stake, which may decide the matter.

Failing which, Hasan said the compromise formula proposed may be to declare one who is leading as the presidential nominee and persuade the other to agree to be the running mate.

The New York senator has herself hinted at a Clinton-Obama ticket. Asked on CBS’ “The Early Show” whether she and the Illinois senator should be on the same ticket, Clinton said: “That may be where this is headed, but of course we have to decide who is on the top of ticket. I think the people of Ohio very clearly said that it should be me.”

But if the nomination matter drags on till the convention and the so called 800-odd superdelegates have to weigh in to decide the nominee, Hasan is certain that they will do what is in the best interest of the party, which is to front the candidate best qualified to defeat the Republican opponent.

While allaying fears that the superdelegates may cut a backroom deal negating the will of the voters, he said the view that superdelegates should go by the primary voters’ preference is just one school of thought.

Hasan, 62, a software entrepreneur originally from Uttar Pradesh and now based in Silicon Valley in California, is himself committed to Clinton.

“The opinion shared by almost everyone in our party is that both are very good candidates and once either is nominated, we will have no problem supporting him or her,” he said.

The only other known Indian American superdelegate is Mona Mohib from Washington DC. “I am pledged to Senator Clinton,” she told IANS.

The 37-year-old, whose parents are from Hyderabad, is an at-large member of the DNC, where she has been vice-chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus. Mohib, a native of Stamford in Connecticut, is also director of policy and communications for the Democratic Governors Association.

There are about 10 Indian Americans among the pledged Democrat delegates, Hasan said. One of them is Upendra Chivukula, New Jersey assemblyman, who is pledged to Clinton.

Superdelegates - among them former presidents and vice-presidents, governors, senators and members of the DNC - can vote as they wish at the convention. Clinton is said to have the support of about 40 more superdelegates than Obama. But over 350 remain uncommitted, a large enough block to swing the nomination.

Pledged delegates are those who support a certain candidate and are chosen in approximate ratio to their candidate’s share of the vote. Obama leads Clinton in pledged delegates count: according to one set of figures - he has 1,366 pledged delegates to Clinton’s 1,222.

Which means, according to some number crunchers, that neither may go the convention with the magic figure of 2,025 - out of the total 4,050 delegates - required to secure the democratic nomination. For Clinton it will be very hard to wipe Obama’s lead in the few remaining contests.

Hasan has been active in the Democratic party for the past 10 years. He and his wife Talat Hasan, entrepreneur daughter of India’s former education minister Nurul Hasan, have raised money for democratic candidates, including for Jonn Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004.

The couple has also helped establish the Indo-American Council in the party. They encourage young Indian Americans to run for office with the goal that the community gains a voice in the political process and in policy in the country.

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