Even with victories on Ohio and Rhode Island (and likely Texas, as of this writing) tonight, Clinton still can't top Obama in pledged delegates.
The only way she gets the nomination is by taking it to the convention and hoping the superdelegates vote her way.
As Newsweek's Jonathan Alter
points out, even under the most optimistic numbers with Clinton winning all remaining states, she can't get a pledged delegate majority without superdelegates.
For all of those who have been trashing me for saying this thing is over, please feel free to do your own math. Give Hillary 75 percent in Kentucky and Indiana. Give her a blowout in Oregon. You will still have a hard time getting her through the process with a pledged-delegate lead.
The Clintonites can spin to their heart's content about how Obama can't carry any large states besides Illinois. How he can't close the deal. How they've got the Big Mo now.
Tell it to Slate's Delegate Calculator.
The next months will be rough. Clinton can't get a "clean" win and the longer she stays in, the harder it will be for Obama to get the amount needed for nomination. He'll still lead, but he may not reach the mark.
Both candidates will then put the nomination in the hands of superdelegates, who will have the choice of ratifying the pledged total for Obama or stepping in on behalf of Clinton.
Tom Brokaw, acting as commentator on MSNBC tonight, said this could be worse than the infamous divided 1968 Chicago convention. He may be right.
The split is very similar, with Clinton representing the establishmnet LBJ/Humphrey wing and Obama carrying the mantle of McCarthy and RFK.Tom Hayden
, one of the leaders of the '68 protests and defendant in the subsequent Chicago 7 trial wrote about this possibility earlier this year.
[...] I would not be surprised to see hundreds of thousands of young Obama supporters silently circling the Denver convention petitioning the party to recognize their historic achievement.
It may not happen that way. But it could.
By June, Obama needs to be ahead in the total popular vote, the total number of states won, and at least be neck-and-neck in the delegate count. He has to show a significant margin of difference over Clinton in match ups with John McCain. He will have to demand that Howard Dean and the DNC hold firm against the contaminated outcomes in Florida and Michigan.
At some point, perhaps, a pact between the candidates will be possible.
If not, the massive and peaceful pressure for transformation heading into Denver may be unique in the history of American social movements. One generation of reformers, exhausted but still fighting, will have to decide whether power is so important that they are willing to roll over young people no different than themselves three decades ago.
Never underestimate the ability of the Democratic establishment to seize defeat from the jaws of victory.
With a massively unpopular Republican president on his way out, a GOP nominee that turns off the base and a reinvigorated Democratic Party under Howard Dean, this election is the Democrats' to lose.
But Clinton's scorched earth strategy and win-at-all costs campaign may eradicate all of those advantages.
The party now faces the option of nominating Clinton in a win seen by many in the grassroots and youth (who overwhelmingly back Obama) as a "steal" or nominating a potentially-damaged Obama candidacy. Either scenario does not play out well.
It hasn't been reported widely, but polls have shown McCain closing the gap on Obama and building on lead over Clinton.
Could the DLC machine be keeping Clinton, who has no chance of a pledged majority, in the race to sabotage an Obama candidacy? The corporatist wing has controlled the party since 1992 and may not be ready to cede power just yet.
The idea of the Clintons putting personal ambition ahead of loyalty to any cause should surprise no one. This is after all the same people who hired rightwing pollster Dick Morris to devise a strategy for Clinton to co-opt the GOP agenda in the 90s, distance himself from the Democratic leaders in Congress and leave the party twisting in the wind, losing House, Senate and governor's offices while he personally coasted to re-election.
After Wyoming and Mississippi, this thing moves on to Pennsylvania. The Clintons warn that they're just getting started and are ready to go "all the way."
That should send a chill down the spine of anyone hoping for a Democratic win in the fall.Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. acknowledges supporters during a primary night rally Tuesday, March 4, 2008, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
--- and the really bad news, regardless of your affiliation, is that Pennsylvania doesn't vote until April 22, so we have to go through this for another month and a half at least.
Labels: Ohio primary