Patterico's Pontifications

3/5/2008

Hillary’s Prospects: Dim, But Not Dead

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 8:45 pm

One day after her big victory, Hillary’s prospects are looking dim, as her only chance at seating delegations from Michigan and Florida appears to rest on an unlikely do-over in one or both states.

Howard Dean will not bend the party rules to grandfather in the disputed delegates from Michigan and Florida, the Democratic party chairman said in a statement today.

Instead, he put the state parties on notice: either they can wait and allow the credentials committee to decide whether to seat their delegates, or submit to a re-vote sanctioned under DNC rules. “We look forward to receiving their proposals should they decide to submit new delegate selection plans and will review those plans at that time,” he said in the statement.

“Everyone seems to be asking what the DNC will do,” a Democrat close to Dean said. “But the question is: what will the state parties do.”

Dean’s statement implies that he has no intention of changing the rules to accommodate any solution proposed by the candidates or the state parties. There has been some suggestion that the two remaining presidential candidates might try to broker a deal among themselves. His line in the sand narrows the options for Hillary Clinton’s campaign because it is unlikely that a credentials committee would endorse a delegation congenial to her mathematical interests.

So Hillary’s only realistic chance to seat Michigan and/or Florida delegations is a do-over in those states. And the prospect of a do-over in Florida looks rather dim:

Karen Thurman, the chair of the Florida Democratic Party, issued a statement late Wednesday that seemed to discount the possibility of a second primary.

Ouch.

Without the Florida or Michigan delegations, Hillary’s best bet is convincing superdelegates that she is the most electable candidate. It’s a tough argument to make; after all, a lot of us out here are slavering for a Hillary victory precisely because we think she’d be easier to beat. And the possibility of superdelegates erasing an Obama lead is ripe for long-lasting resentment — a prospect that makes us conservatives drool with anticipation.

For my money, the best argument she has is expressed here by Demosophist at Winds of Change:

Just for the sake of argument, if we . . . looked at only those states that award their delegates on the basis of a popular vote primary (ignoring caucus states for the moment) and employ a winner-take-all rule, such as the number of electoral college delegates that represent those states in a general election, Clinton has won over three times as many electors as Obama! This is the case even though Obama actually has more votes. . . . By my count, and excluding MI and FL, that’s 71 electors for Obama and 224 for Clinton!

If Hillary can convince superdelegates that she has an edge, given the winner-take-all rules that will apply in a general election, she could just pull this off.

But the uphill battle she faces on the Florida and Michigan delegations is a hard blow.

Don’t Forget Ron Paul

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 8:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Austin American-Statesman notes that John McCain has clinched the GOP nomination and all the other GOP hopefuls have dropped out … except Ron Paul:

“President Bush welcomed John McCain to the White House today and hailed him as “the nominee of the Republican Party.”

But while that Rose Garden victory celebration was going on, Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul — who issued a statement Tuesday night saying he will return to the U.S. House next year — continued a presidential race he now seems to be conceding he cannot win.

“There were 11. Now there are two,” says a posting on Paul’s Web site that shows the crossed-out faces of nine Republican contenders who have dropped out of the presidential race.

In the Tuesday night statement after he won renomination for his U.S. House seat, Paul said, “I have no Democrat opponent in November and will serve another term in Congress where I will continue my battle on behalf of taxpayers.”

He’s not getting much press anymore but Paul’s spokesman vows that Paul will “remain in the (presidential) race and will do so as long as his supporters wish it.” At least one Paul supporter has hope:

“There is a very good chance that John McCain could drop out of the race when enough negative information hits the masses,” a Paul backer said in a Wednesday e-mail. “Ron Paul and his supporters are counting on this. Whether this is realistic or not, only time will tell.”

That’s positive thinking.

— DRJ

Ain’t It A Beautiful Day? When You Can Visit A Political Website and Find A Passage As Reassuring As This:

Filed under: 2008 Election,Current Events,General,Politics — WLS @ 2:56 pm

[Posted by WLS] 

From Politico’s top dudes, Harris, Vande Hei, and Allen:

Obama’s failure to win Ohio and Texas and lock down the nomination — combined with Clinton’s newly defensible decision to press on despite a deficit in delegates — virtually guarantees Democrats a draining contest that will give Republicans a months-long head-start on the general election.

It will heighten racial, ethnic, gender, and class divisions already on stark display, raise awkward questions about the legitimacy of the nominating process, and inflict potentially lasting wounds on the eventual winner.

And forget about any chance that this looming brawl will be quieted by claims from Obama and commentators that Clinton has no reasonable path to victory.

Yes, Obama’s math is impressive — more delegates, more popular vote support, more states won. But Clinton aides argue reasonably that a race this close can be altered by a virtually limitless number of tactical maneuvers, unexpected events, or shifts in public perception.

For now, Clinton’s victories validated a last-ditch strategy that aides acknowledge rests overwhelmingly on persuading Democrats that the most credible black presidential contender in American history — despite his lead — is too untested to be awarded the nomination.
Simply put, there is now no way Clinton can win without inviting not only disappointment but a powerful sense of grievance among the Democratic party’s most loyal constituency, Obama’s fellow African-Americans.

The preparedness argument will be coupled, her advisers say, with two additional objectives that also are custom-made to produce months of chaos and ill will.

The first is an in-the-trenches fight to persuade unelected super-delegates to nominate Clinton as the stronger general election candidate even though Obama almost certainly will be leading among regular delegates.

The second is an effort to seat delegations from Florida and Michigan — where Clinton won — even though both pledged not to campaign there and Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan. Democratic rules currently do not recognize those states because they acted unilaterally to schedule their primaries.

But if Clinton wins Pennsylvania — where she is for the moment the favorite — there is no reason to suppose that the nominating contest will be any more settled than it is today.

It will no longer be possible for Democratic National Committee chairmen and other party leaders to avert their gaze from the stand-off, as they have for all practical purposes been doing for several months.

Some Clinton aides Tuesday night indicated the campaign might be open to a re-vote in these states, as the best chance to get these delegations seated and backing her. 

Ahhhh — the sound of a coalition party in action.
 

Hillary and Barack, Sittin’ in a Tree?

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 6:53 am

Last night in our live-blog/chat/discussion thing, most people ridiculed the idea that Hillary and Barack might be on the same ticket.

Not so fast, kemo sabe:

The morning after reviving her candidacy with two big primary wins, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) hinted Wednesday that she and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) may wind up as ticket mates.

“That may, you know, be where this is headed, but of course we have to decide who’s on the top of ticket,” Clinton said with a laugh on the CBS’s “The Early Show.” “I think that the people of Ohio very clearly said that it should be me.”

Could it happen?


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