70% of voters in MoveOn.org’s membership poll backed Barack Obama. This clears the 2/3 threshold needed in order for the group to issue its first primary campaign endorsement ever. “A few weeks ago,” MoveOn writes, “MoveOn members we surveyed were split. But with John Edwards bowing out, progressives are coming together. Obama won over 70% of the vote yesterday, and he’s moving up in polls nationwide.”
MoveOn was founded in the Clinton years as an effort to find a middle ground in the impeachment imbroglio. They called on Congress to drop the impeachment, to censure the President, and then to “move on.”
Since that moderate start, they have been portrayed as ultraliberal for their advocacy against the war in Iraq and against the excesses of the Bush administration. Those positions are shared by a majority of Americans, Republicans and Democrats alike, so they could only be understood as “liberal” positions if we are prepared to accept that racist loon Ron Paul is more liberal than erstwhile freedom rider Joe Lieberman (to choose an example at random).
Nevertheless, this is significant for several reasons. First, it suggests that John Edwards’s activists are largely breaking for Obama. A recent poll found that, nationally, “When asked for whom they would vote if their first choice dropped out, slightly more Edwards voters leaned toward Clinton than toward Obama.” But the people who are on MoveOn’s list are more likely to be out canvassing, putting up yard signs and convincing other Edwards voters to move towards Obama. By Tuesday, those opinion-makers could change a lot of minds.
Here’s hoping. Obama is a lot closer to Edwards on key issues than Hillary ever was.