Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Howard Fineman on delegates

I think he's right. The problem for Hillary Clinton is that, although she's killing Obama in superdelegate count, she cannot rely on them to win the nomination, because she'll be perceived to have "stolen" the nomination from Obama. The party will not allow this to happen.

The second problem for Hillary is that it's looking less and less plausible that she'll finish with more pledged delegates than Barack. Of course, there is still the possibility of her kicking ass in Texas and Ohio, 2 states not renowned for their taste in presidential candidates (though perhaps less likely than Florida to get voted out of the union by the other 49 states), but she has yet to pull 60% in any state but Arkansas. And 60% is likely the minimum percentage she'll need.

Personally, I'm a little more skeptical than Fineman is of the party's willingness to let Hillary win the nomination on superdelegates even if she comes within 20 or 30 of Obama in pledged delegates. Obama's support is as intense as it is widespread; if this nomination thing doesn't appear completely aboveboard, the party will risk alienating independents and red state dems just in time to go toe to toe with John McCain.

It's funny to me that the press is just now starting to figure out how massive of a strategic loss Super Tuesday was for the Clinton campaign. They needed to score a dramatic victory to KO Obama early or at least to counterbalance the following month, and they failed even to match Obama's pledged delegate count. As Kos said that night after Obama reeled in the 8th state by 60% or more (paraphrasing): "I can't believe it. Barack Obama did it. He made California irrelevant." I guess it's like they say: reading blogs is like reading the paper a week before it's printed.

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