Obama To Clinch Nomination

History is being made today.

Nothing is official until the convention meets, but for all practical purposes Barack Obama will clinch the Democratic nomination today in a sensational upset over Hillary Clinton, whose nomination at one point was considered inevitable by many. In the absence of an official victory point until the convention, the closest we might come is the pronouncements of the news media. AP now reports:

Barack Obama effectively clinched the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, based on an Associated Press tally of convention delegates, becoming the first black candidate ever to lead his party into a fall campaign for the White House.Campaigning on an insistent call for change, Obama outlasted former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in a historic race that sparked record turnout in primary after primary, yet exposed deep racial divisions within the party.

The AP tally was based on public commitments from delegates as well as more than a dozen private commitments. It also included a minimum number of delegates Obama was guaranteed even if he lost the final two primaries in South Dakota and Montana later in the day.

The 46-year-old first-term senator will face Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the fall campaign to become the 44th president.

This came after a morning with multiple announcements of superdelegates endorsing Obama, with several others planning to back him today or tomorrow morning.

An even better indication of victory than being proclaimed the nominee by the media would be the concession of Hillary Clinton. There have been contradictory news report so far today. Terry McAuliffe gave the impression on The Today Show that Clinton would concede should Obama  reach 2,118 delegates. Earlier today AP also reported that Clinton will concede but her campaign has later denied this report. I would not be at all surprised if even Hillary Clinton is uncertain as to what course she will take over the next day.

There have been some signs that Clinton plans to continue. The Washington Post reports:

Clinton sent mixed signals about her plans throughout the day Monday. As her campaign recalled field staffers to New York, one adviser indicated that she would suspend, but not end, her campaign within days. But the candidate herself said she will continue to argue to the group of party insiders who will hold sway over the final outcome that her strong showing in recent contests demonstrates that she would be the more electable candidate in November.

“Tomorrow is the last day of the primaries and the beginning of a new phase in the campaign,” Clinton said in Yankton, S.D., before she prepared to depart for a Tuesday-night rally in New York. “After South Dakota and Montana vote, I will lead in the popular vote and Senator Obama will lead in the delegate count. The voters will have voted, and so the decision will fall to the delegates empowered to vote at the Democratic convention. I will be spending the coming days making my case to those delegates.”

She could continue to try to get superdelegates to change their minds, but so far her weak claims of being more electable and false claim that she has won the popular vote are not convincing very many people. The superdelegates include people who have been active in politics for a long time. While Clinton’s rhetoric might convince a handful of bloggers and her low-information supporters that she is more electable or that she is leading in the popular vote, the superdelegates are not going to be fooled by such lines. We have seen the vast majority of superdelegates to commit since Super Tuesday back Obama, and that trend will continue with those who have waited until the end of the primaries. It’s over, regardless of whether the shady lady sings.

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