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Open Letter to John Edwards

by Michael Carmichael

Your endorsement of Barack Obama will unite all of us seeking positive, meaningful and necessary change. When we are united, we will be too strong to fail, and you will be hailed as the architect of change.
Dear John,

In the wake of the Iowa caucuses you managed to pinpoint the sentiments of the American people better than any TV pundit. Together with Senator Obama, you were able to beat the entrenched Clinton machine and send the signal that change was on the way. As you said that night, "the status quo lost, and change won."

Later your remarks were even more astute when you were asked if you were surprised by the results in Iowa:

I actually am not that surprised. People were looking for something different—looking for change. I mean, Senator Clinton in many is the status quo, and people are tired of the status quo. And, as is well known, she was and has much organization and money—[but] she still finished third! I think what that is—is a very powerful indication of a wave for change in this country, and I think what happens now is we go to New Hampshire and other states where the voters are going to have to decide who—between myself and Senator Obama—can best bring about change.

You were right then, and you have been vindicated by the results of all the democratic contests to date. In Iowa, you and Senator Obama received 68% of the vote to only 29% for Senator Clinton. In New Hampshire, you and Senator Obama received 54% of the vote compared to only 39% for Senator Clinton. Only in Nevada could Clinton eke out a narrow victory with 51% of the vote compared to the 49% who supported either you or Senator Obama. The message is clear. The American people are demanding change.

However, a strange and troubling development is taking place. While the American people's cries for change could not be clearer, the current dynamics of the race for the Democratic Nomination are now biased for Senator Clinton. The simple truth is that you and Senator Obama are splitting the votes of the vast majority of Democrats and thereby allowing Senator Clinton to claim a small plurality. Her plurality means that while the majority of people are clamoring for change, their hopes and dreams appear doomed to failure. Thus, Senator Clinton will use her thin plurality to win the Democratic nomination—and once again the American people will be deprived of the opportunity to vote for real change.

Faced with that prospect, we implore you to reconsider your decision to continue your bold fight for the Democratic nomination. While your fight has been noble, we all must face reality: John, it is a simple fact that you will not be the Democratic nominee for President this year.

Traditionally, the Democratic National Convention provides the platform where competing Democratic candidates lay aside their differences and unite behind the nominee. But, this year waiting until the Denver convention will not work. The forces for change must unite before the Denver convention in order to guarantee that the status quo does not remain entrenched.

Therefore, it has become crystal clear by the results of the primaries —Senator Obama has bested you on every occasion—that the time has come for you to suspend your presidential campaign and endorse him.

Your endorsement of Barack Obama will unite all of us seeking positive, meaningful and necessary change. When we are united, we will be too strong to fail, and you will be hailed as the architect of change.

Michael Carmichael

Michael Carmichael, a historian and author, is the founder and chief executive officer of This open letter is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.

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This story was published on January 30, 2008.