A former aide to President Barack Obama is warning Democrats better build a primary field that's not just a "coronation."
In a commentary for CNN,
Dan Pfeiffer, Obama's former senior adviser and communications director, quotes an essay on Medium
by former George W. Bush strategist Karl Rove that maintains a "competitive primary is not just not a disadvantage… it will actually be an advantage" for the crowded Republican field.
The Republicans have nine announced presidential contenders, and another eight, including Jeb Bush, waiting in the wings for a likely run – and Rove suggests poll data shows GOP voters like what they see.
"This is something I don't find myself saying very often: I agree with Karl Rove," Pfeiffer writes. "A fight for the Democratic nomination is good for the [Democratic] party and will help us, not hurt us, next year in November."
"Reporters, pundits and people who own television stations in places such as Iowa are rooting for a fight for the Democratic nomination, and Democrats should be, too," he argues. "A competition, not a coronation, is what's best for our chances in 2016."
The longtime Obama aide now works as a CNN contributor.
"Competitive primaries make better general election candidates," Pfeiffer notes. "As divisive, heated and long as the 2008 Democratic primary was, there is no question that Barack Obama was a much stronger nominee because of [Hillary] Clinton."
And now with the addition of Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders
and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley
into the 2016 Democratic White House field, Clinton, if she becomes the party's standard-bearer, "will be better prepared to take on Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or whoever else the Republicans nominate because Sanders and O'Malley made her that way."
There's another point on which Rove was right, Pfeiffer adds.
"Competitive, hard-fought primaries are good until they aren't," he writes. "There is a moment where they can go from competitive to irreparably divisive. The Obama-Clinton race came close to crossing that line a couple of times, but never did because both candidates worked hard to repair the breach."
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