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Hey, Democrats – nominate faster

The August convention should be moved up to June.

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The Democratic Party should bring the presidential nomination battle to a conclusion as soon as possible. The fairest, most decisive way to do that is to move its convention from the end of August to the end of June.

Why? Although Sen. Barack Obama won impressively in North Carolina and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton just managed to hang on in Indiana, the back and forth between them could last through the final primary on June 3. Unless Senator Obama reaches the 2,025 delegates needed to win outright, the bitter campaign just might continue into the summer, with deleterious results for the eventual nominee. It is far better for the party to end with finality the potential for mischief and dirty tricks in this nominating contest, from both within and outside the party.

Arithmetic is against her, but Senator Clinton so far shows no inclination to bow out. As she said when claiming victory in Indiana Tuesday night, "it's full speed on to the White House." While that may be hyperbole, there is a plausible rationale for her to soldier on. She has strong grass-roots support, isn't that far behind in delegates, and can still try to lay moral and procedural claim to those unseated delegates in Michigan and Florida.

Moving the convention to June 28-July 1 allows each candidate to compete in remaining primaries yet avoids self-destructively extending the battle. It also allows the Democrats to end with a patriotic flourish, as the convention concludes just before July 4.

Instead, some are now urging uncommitted superdelegates to settle the matter. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen has suggested that a conclave of superdelegates convene. However, the best way to heal wounds would be for the party as a whole to decide and force the losing candidate into an early call for unity. This would give the loser's supporters time to recuperate and be brought on board. And it would avoid the appearance that a cabal of party leaders illegitimately decided the issue through backroom deals.

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