As Democrats we often disagree over candidates, issues, and policy solutions. But we must work through our differences and keep our eyes on the prize: electing Democrats to the White House, Congress, and our state and local governments. (More)

Last week I wrote in Morning Feature Who are the real DINOs? that I was frustrated and concerned by balkanization in the Democratic Party between Bernie and Hillary supporters. I showed a series of text messages from a hard core Bernie supporter that showed an unwillingness to support the Democratic ticket if it wasn’t Bernie. These passions on both sides are real.

They have been, in a way, festering for quite a while. Late last year I attended a leadership meeting with my local party affiliate in which tensions quickly rose when it came out who some people supported for the candidacy. Sides quickly formed, and the emotion in the room rose. That friction was so intense that I thought there’d be shouting.

I expressed then the same concerns that I wrote about last week, that this division could cost us dearly in the general election, and the prize was what mattered. I have had to defend myself to my fellow Democrats who looked at me and demanded to know my position. I answered then as I said last week: “I support whichever Democrat gets the nomination.”

But the tension is real, and I worry that it is getting heightened, because others have also expressed to me their feelings, and the attitudes I discussed last week are only intensifying. I don’t know what can be done to bring healing to the party when the decision is made, because there’s going to be a side that feels it’s lost. Either way, there will be hard feelings.

We have to get past those feelings and unite, or we lose the prize. Perhaps now is the time to begin that healing? Before the outcome is known? If the candidates themselves feel the need to continue differentiating themselves on whichever point they can because they each want the nomination, they themselves aren’t in a position to lead that unity. Not yet.

So it falls to us to begin that process. Now.

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Photo Credit: AP