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Does the Long Primary Help the Democrats?

Like many others, I have wondered whether this long and unpleasant primary means that Democrats have a death wish. By attacking each other, Democrats would somehow find a way to let the political capital provided by George W. Bush and overall citizen dissatisfaction slip through their fingers. But, recently I started changing my thinking.

An unprecedented number of people are showing up to vote in the Democratic primaries. Both campaigns are developing ground teams and campaign infrastructures in the late-voting states that are being neglected by the Republicans. Whoever wins will have a message which has withstood significant assault. Plus — huge upsets by Democratic House candidates in Louisiana and Mississippi special elections signal that the Democratic message is resonating with Americans.

Of course, whether or not this protracted internecine battle has actually been a net plus for the Democrats remains to be seen. Do you think Democratic voters are still excited about their prospects in the fall, or has too bright a light been shown on the nominee's flaws? Do you buy the polls that say Democrats will defect to McCain if their candidate loses?

Will the Democrats benefit from a contentious primary campaign come November?

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