Monday, June 02, 2008

No Way By The Numbers

The analyses of the past two days explaining how the math is impossible for Hillary Clinton and nearly assures an Obama nomination is accurate, and completely misleading. The Illinois senator is now only 40+ delegates away from gaining a majority of delegates and, hence, the nomination.

But it has been that way for weeks. If not, surely Senator Clinton's recent lopsided victories in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Puerto Rico (as expected, Obama won Oregon easily) would have posed a serious obstacle to Obama's jog across the finish line.

The numbers haven't been there for awhile for Mrs. Clinton. That was again made obvious when, as MSNBC noted this morning, two more superdelegates have declared for Mr. Obama. Here are the circumstances in which Obama has picked up superdelegates the past few months: 1) when he has a good day on a primary/caucus date; and 2) when he has a bad day on a primary/caucus date.

Counter-intuitive? Yes. Illogical? No. Obviously, when a candidate does well in a primary, he's going to pick up support. And this candidate, understandably, picks up support when he does poorly. When Hillary Clinton smashes Barack Obama in a primary, superdelegates notice. And shudder. Numbers rise nationally for the individual once the candidate of the Democratic party establishment and now a detested outsider, while electoral college math suggests that Barack Obama may snatch defeat from the jaws of Democratic victory in November. Stop her now- or else at the convention decide between a)potentially the first black president of the United States (whose nomination and election they will have shared in) and b)an individual they truly don't like, whose ascension to the presidency would, they fear, leave most of the Democratic establishment outside while ushering inside the Clinton establishment.

So there is only one way to the nomination for Hillary Clinton, and it's not pretty.

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