According to reports from The Daily, two more Democratic representatives have announced their plans to skip the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina this summer. New York Democratic Representatives Bill Owens and Kathy Hochul are the latest to announce they will not attend after Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Sen. Joe Manchin and Rep. Nick Rahall, a trio of West Virgina Democrats, all decided it would be best to try to keep whatever distance they could from the President.
Although all of these legislators have decided not to attend, none have completely withdrawn support for the President, even though they have disagreed with some of his decisions. The one thing all of these Democrats have in common are constituencies which are mainly caucasian, in less densely populated areas that historically lean conservative.
This has led many to question whether the decision not to attend the convention was a smart move to court independents and moderate conservatives, or a move that is damaging to party unity which creates a negative perception of a candidate's loyalty and the President's ability to unify and lead.
So, is skipping the convention a wise choice for both the candidates and the party as a whole? It's certainly a better decision than going, but the effects will likely be minimal. President Obama has become such a lightning rod for partisan attacks and accusations of socialism, that simply not attending is unlikely to impress many undecided or conservative voters.
Those who have tried to pretend that this is the beginning of the democratic party's descent into division and chaos are simply seeing what they would like to see. No party is helped when members move in lock-step with the party, but have a constituency which is less partisan, because those politicians will not be re-elected. In this current era of hyper-partisan political bickering, sometimes the best way to accomplish your agenda is to allow and encourage more inter-party dissent. It reminds people that the parties are not necessarily two monolithic forces constantly fighting over the same things, even though it frequently seems that way.