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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Last Friday, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Richardson's announcement of his support for Obama is important for no less than four reasons.

First, Richardson is Hispanic. Racial polarization has been an important issue in the Democratic race, and Latinos have typically been voting for Hillary Clinton more than for Obama. While Richardson's ability to lead Hispanic voters to Obama's camp is dubious, it is a start.

Second, he is a superdelegate. As a Democratic governor, he gets a vote at the upcoming Democratic National Convention to determine the party's nominee for president.

Third, Richardson was long thought to be a staunch Clinton ally. During former President Bill Clinton's term, Richardson served in Clinton's cabinet as Secretary of Energy and served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. His decision to back Obama was a major coup for Obama's campaign.

These first three reasons alone are enough to make his endorsement significant. The fourth, however, is where the real importance is.

When speaking to a crowd during his endorsement speech, Richardson called for an end to the Democratic primary race. He lavished praise on both Clinton and Obama, adding, "it is time, however, for Democrats to stop fighting amongst ourselves and prepare for the tough fight ahead against John McCain in the fall."

Richardson could not be more right.

If the Democrats want any chance of winning the general election, Clinton needs to concede the election immediately.

Fears of a rift in the Democratic Party are mounting.

By ending the race now, Democrats will stop the hemorrhaging of potentially useful attacks against either candidate by McCain, as well as give the party time to overcome its divisiveness and unite behind the nominee.

Every day the race continues is a small victory for John McCain. For Democrats, time is of the essence.

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Daniel Tippin is a student at the University of Oklahoma.

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