The Impact of Tuesday’s Primaries

With the strange ways that delegates are distributed, looking at various estimates from the media, bloggers, and the campaigns it looks like Clinton will probably net between four and ten delegates more than Obama in yesterday’s vote. This would be the only day in which there has been a vote that Clinton received more delegates than Obama.

Various estimates of the impact on the campaign, such as this by Marc Ambinder, show that Clinton will need to receive about sixty percent of the vote in the remaining contests to catch up with Obama in terms of pledged delegates. As some of the upcoming states favor Obama, this means that Clinton will need substantially more that sixty percent in the states that she does win, barring a change in the dynamics of the race which allows Clinton to win big in states where she is note expected to win.

While Obama has an almost insurmountable lead, having failed to deliver the knock out blow this week means that he is also unlikely to pick up enough delegates to clinch the nomination without receiving more support from super delegates. This means that the nomination can come down to political deals among the super delegates. Taegan Goddard argues that the politics, and not the delegate math, will ultimately determine the nomination.

Based upon party rules super delegates are free to vote as they choose, and it would be perfectly legal for Clinton to win the nomination by lobbying support from the super delegates. What party officials must decide is how this will play with the independent voters who have supported Obama, and how much they matter to the future of the party.

The Democratic Party is at a real cross roads here. They can accept the argument that the nominee should be based upon the views of long time Democrats and give the nomination to Clinton. To do so would mean rejecting the support of all the independents and former Republicans who recently began supporting Democrats. Most likely this would return the Democrats to the status of a minority party for yet another generation. Democrats cannot count on winning with their old coalition alone once they no longer have George Bush to run against.

The super delegates can give the nomination to Clinton and risk the consequences. The other alternative is to embrace the support of new Democratic voters and give the nomination to Obama. Certainly there are some Republicans who are voting in the Democratic primaries simply to cause trouble. The bulk of them are voting for Clinton in order to provide McCain with a weaker general election opponent, but some might see this differently and be voting for Obama.

Such trouble makers probably represent a small percentage of independents and former Republicans who are voting in the Democratic primaries and caucuses. Based upon the changes in voting trends we have seen since 2006, my bet is that the bulk of the Republicans voting for Obama, and certainly the independents, are doing so because they support Obama and they will vote for Obama in the general election if he is the Democratic nominee. This also means an increased chance that independents will vote for Democrats down ticket, and will vote for Democrats in future elections.

With this nomination battle being so important in determining the future of the Democratic Party, and with there already being questions about the ethics of Clinton’s campaign, it is surprising that Harold Ickes would fall into the trap of discussing the possibility that even pledged delegates are up for grabs in a conference call. This does not mean that he has admitted that the Clinton campaign intends to do this, but is yet another example of their spokespeople saying things which don’t help their campaign. It also didn’t help their campaign when Ickes took a jab at Mark Penn during the conference call. Such signs of disarray in the Clinton camp campaign will only fuel questions as to whether they are any more prepared to fight a general election campaign than they were to fight a primary battle.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    Angelene says:

    I am an independent and I will never vote for the likes of Hillary Clinton, this is the epitomy of satan himself. Anyone that attacks their own party members with the kinds of attacks and disorganization that I have witnessed in her campaign should be kicked out of the race.

    She seems to be of the opinion if she can’t win it, make sure McCain does, because it is not about the party but about the Clintons winning. They should not be happy about the republicans she picked up during the last primaries because it is all about keeping her alive to take the pressure off McCain while she gives him more fighting messages and time to pull his party together to kick the democrates butt.

    Now she wants to fight over delegates in FLorida and Michigan where she would be the only person to win because of name recognition when Obama has never had an opportunity to let the people of Florida or Micigan get to know him. I live in Florida and had never seen the ad they said he ran here.

    If she wants the delegates to count, they need to come to Florida to campaign, because I will be out there knocking on doors, talking to people, and helping Obama to give her the knock out punch she deserves.

    She wants to be the Commander in Chief and run the country, there are a few things I think eveyone needs to think about:

    She cannot run her own campaign, no excutive experience has helped with that issues. (all her years of experience)

    She does not handle the funds the people invested into her campaign initially, but she has this executive experience.

    She is nasty, devisive, coniving, self centered, egostictical, and has no shame or pride about herself. She will play on the intelligence of every uneducated (no harm intened)person because they do not read, but listen to what she has to say, only because her husband was the former president, a disgusting one I might add. All we need is another sex scandal in the White House to help build the morals and values of this country, give me a break!!!

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