Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Triple Clinton blow-outs needed to avoid Obama Clinch

Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings is running some numbers and the basic conclusion is that Clinton needs blow-out delegate wins in Ohio (plausible), Rhode Island (probable) and Texas (implausible) to have a reasonable chance of winning the pledged delegate battle with Obama.

Average: Obama 1180, Clinton 1031.125. Difference between the two: 148.875 delegates.

There are 981 pledged delegates yet to be assigned. Of these, by my count, Clinton must win 565, or just under 58%, in order to be tied in the pledged delegate count coming into the convention.

What all this means is that I don't see how Clinton can manage to win the nomination absent either truly astonishing wins in the delegate counts, or some sort of massive Obama flameout. That being the case, I think that while Clinton obviously has the right to stay in the race as long as she wants, if she doesn't pick up over, say, 40 delegates tonight, she should consider withdrawing. 40 delegates would still raise, not lower, the percentage of the remaining pledged delegates that she needs in order to tie Obama before the convention. Anything less would leave the odds of her winning the nomination very, very small.

Hillary Clinton needs blow outs in a campaign season that has seen her win no blow-outs in heavily contested states. The only significant blow-outs have been in caucuses where she did not deign to compete, or the Wisconsin and Potomac primaries. And those blow-outs went to Obama. I can understand 'suspending' her campaign if she thinks Obama will flame out but if she does not net 60+ delegates, the math requires a massive flame-out to work.

BJ at Northman's Fury is understandable getting frustrated that unless Clinton wins massively tonight, we'll be shooting ourselves in the foot:

If Hillary doesn’t win both contests, and by significant margins, the chances of her catching up to Obama in delegates are very slim indeed. At that point, the only thing her staying in the race does is diminish the chances of a Democrat winning in November....

Whatever else, I don’t want to see the Democrats wasting their resources beating each other down for the next several months, because I really, really don’t want to listen to failed Beach Boy President McCain tell us all how great his “bomb, bomb Iran” strategy really is.

IF Hillary Clinton comes out of tonight (actually sometime this weekend with the Texas caucuses reporting late) with sixty or more net pledge delegates, then I welcome a sustained and on-going primary. I am a bit worried about seeing more yellow and red cardable attacks that validate right wing frames, but I think the Democratic Party has two very popular, widely accepted candidates who have strong but different bases of support. If both candidates still have plausible pathways to the nomination, then a continued contest is beneficial. However if one candidate has a plausible pathway and the other is looking for a heart attack or the Samson Option, all institutional means should be used to preserve the party's core strength.

Tonight should be interesting.

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