Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The 64% Question

Somebody needs to sit Hillary Clinton down and have a Very Serious Discussion on a Big Question: Why is she staying in the race?

She is 161 delegates behind. The delegate math indicates she has to win 64% of remaining delegates to close this gap. She has won exactly one state by 64% or better -- Arkansas, one of her home states -- and there is, thankfully, only one Arkansas.

The 64% figure will increase after Obama gets expected wins in North Carolina, Kentucky, Oregon, Montana, and South Dakota. And Obama stands a very good chance of winning Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Indiana; certainly there's nothing to suggest Clinton will win more than 64% of the delegates in those states. If she wins in any state from here on out, it will be by a narrow margin. If there are re-votes in Florida and Michigan, the reasonable expectation is a narrow victory for one candidate or the other. (She got 50% in the non-counted Florida primary when Obama didn't even campaign there; she got 55% in the non-counted Michigan primary when Obama wasn't even on the ballot.)

Hillary Clinton needs to give one of two answers: (1) provide a credible, specific account of how she can overcome Obama's lead in delegates, or at very least, popular votes -- she is already mathematically eliminated from winning more states than Obama (source and source); or (2) state how she is advancing any worthy cause by staying in a race she will not win. This requires naming the specific cause thus advanced and explaining how the good of that cause outweighs the foreseeable draining of resources and fomenting of ill-will associated with continuing her doomed 2008 presidential campaign.

I don't claim to be original in raising this question -- far from it. But there's no such thing as making this demand too many times.


mikesdak said...

The various reports I've read say that neither Hillary nor Barack can get the required number of delegates by popular votes alone; they need "superdelegate" help. I'm guessing she hopes she and Bill can arm-twist their way to the nomination, regardless of what it would do to the image of the party to have popular votes overridden by backroom shenanigans.
It's not the kind of thing she'd want to admit.

Dale said...

You have it right, Mike, although it's so ugly I hate to acknowledge it. She can't win on the numbers -- not on the basis of either voter-driven delegates or popular vote. So she hangs on and continues throwing mud in hopes of being *tolerably* close at the end; and hoping that enough of the mud has stuck to Obama that he'll look weak or damaged enough to enough super delegates.

I think this will fail, and I'm glad it will. Meanwhile she'll sew a lot of ill-will and feed the Wide Stance a lot of "talking points" and memes.

Obama should continue honing his ability to respond to garbage. There's much more to come.

mikesdak said...

I think it will fail,too. The primaries seem to be going Obama's way more and more. I don't think a superdelegate will want to explain why he went against the popular grain.
As for Obama honing his counterpunching, Hillary will certainly help him by giving him plenty of material. She just can't help it. Who knows,maybe by trotting it out now they can set up the "Old News" effect for the general election.