US Senators Clinton and Obama Could Change the Whole Game – Together, March 2008

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For InterPress Service
© Hazel Henderson, 2008
(word count 415)

Hazel Henderson

Running neck and neck in the adversarial win-lose competition for the US Presidency, Senators Clinton and Obama now are risking an ugly fight over their essentially similar positions on most issues. They are wasting millions of dollars and time that could be better spent unifying the Democratic Party. Instead, they could change its electoral game to a win-win.

How? Remember at the height of the Cold War, how Mikhail Gorbachev changed the game on the US Pentagon and President Ronald Reagan? Gorbachev began to play the familiar diplomatic “tit for tat” game in a new way: he kept offering to co-operate! Baffled US negotiators and President Reagan began to respond – and the rest is history.

Today, with Senators Clinton and Obama neck and neck, most Democratic voters like and admire them both equally – as the polls and results so far show. Many long for a “dream ticket” with both – caring little whose name heads the ticket. Most say they will happily vote for whomever is the nominee.

So both Clinton and Obama can make history. Each could publicly state again that they will support whichever one is the nominee. Further, each can try generosity, magnanimousness and cooperation by reiterating, as Senator Clinton has done, that they will fully support the other. What if they went even further and each offered simultaneously to the other to step aside for the sake of party unity ( as Governor Romney did on the Republican side )? Senator Clinton has already stated that she loves her role representing New Yorkers in the US Senate and would be happy to resume it for the good of the party and the country. Likewise, Senator Obama has a generous, magnanimous spirit and might well be happy to serve a few more years in the Senate.

The result would be electrifying! It would baffle the pundits and the media – now feasting on the conflict by exacerbating their trivial differences. Supporters of both candidates would approve of this win-win approach to really bringing the country together. And, all of us would be saved the tedious, drawn-out squabbling that now otherwise dominates and preempt other news until the convention in July.

Internationally, this news would be welcome, since in many other democracies , the spectacle of political campaigns funded by billions of dollars of campaign contributions is itself seen as undemocratic. Many in the USA find it equally abhorrent , as well as all the TV and radio ads selling the candidates like toothpaste.

What would be the harm in this win-win strategy? The harm would only be to the pocketbooks of political contributors hoping for future favors, pollsters’ incomes, pundits’ and consultants’ fees and all those betting on the continued in-fighting. The good news is that such a win-win strategy might do much to change the game of US politics which most citizens deplore.

Why not give it a try?


Hazel Henderson, futurist, author of Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy and other books, co-created the Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators and was a Co-Organizer of the BEYOND GDP conference in the European Parliament, Nov, 2007(