Party Unity and the role of primaries
The New York Times has a rather interesting piece on Harrison and McMahon. The guise of the article is disunity in the party at a time when the party theoretically should be behind one candidate to maximize their chances of winning;
While the Republicans have endured a highly visible era of disunity, the Democrats in the district, which includes Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, are not exactly in lock step. In fact, they are now preparing for a hotly contested primary between two candidates cut from decidedly different cloth.
One candidate, Michael E. McMahon, a city councilman who represents the North Shore of Staten Island, is a self-described moderate who says he has a record of winning elections in a moderate-to-conservative part of New York.
The other, Stephen A. Harrison, a Brooklyn lawyer who ran against Mr. Fossella two years ago, refers to himself as a progressive who did better against Mr. Fossella — he won 43 percent of the vote in 2006 — than any other Democrat in previous elections.
The article goes on to compare several policy issues of the two candidates but it is the very end of the article that cuts to the real story.
The tensions between the two Democrats do not approach the challenges faced by the Republicans.
The disunity is among the Republicans not the Democrats. We are in the middle of a Democratic primary to see who will go on to the general election and hopefully DC. The Republicans are in the middle of a philosophical debate and actual infighting that is tearing their local party apart. While the Democrats will likely unify around the primary winner, several elected Republican leaders have promised not to campaign for their current front runner under any circumstances.