Tuesday, March 4, 2008

It's Time for the Feats of Strength

As we await results from Ohio and Texas, the mood among the "Gang of 500" is that the Clinton Machine has found its footing. She has held an "Airing of the Grievances" against the press, and now it's time for her to win the feats of strengths (a.k.a. the Texas Primary (not the Texas Caucus) and Ohio Primary.)

If Clinton can win both states, preferably impressively, the new MSM line has it, she can turn this race around and restore order in the universe.

The reality is that Hillary will wake up tomorrow either (i) facing calls for her to get out of the race (in the worse case, if the polls turn against her), or (ii) facing a virtually insurmountable deficit of 125-150 pledged delegates. Assuming that ratio holds, Hillary will end the primary contests with about 1,552 pledged delegates to Obama's 1,702.(*)

Her only realistic chance to the nomination is to swing close to 500 of the 795 super delegates (or 59.4%) to her side.

How can she do it? Not by competing in every state.

Like in 1960, the remainder of this primary battle (if it goes past tonight) will be fought on 'battleground' states where the Clintons will perform, as the saying goes, additional 'Feats of Strength.'

(In the 1960 primaries, Kennedy was not challenged in every state, but rather a select few, like Wisconsin and West Virginia. By winning those specific battles, JFK was able to convince the other appointed (i.e., super) delegates that he would be the strongest national candidate. In the years since 1960, the Democratic nomination has approached a marathon of states, culminating in 1992 when Bill Clinton bled Paul Tsongas dry over the spring primaries. In 2000 and 2004, the party effectively short-circuited the lengthy primary process by declaring the winner of the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary, effectively, the nominee.)

The balance of this calendar this month is Wyoming (caucuses on March 8th) and Mississippi (primary on March 11th), with nothing thereafter until April 22nd (Pennsylvania).

With such a sparse calendar, and with Obama having historical advantages in caucuses and primaries in the South, Hillary will likely 'shut down' if she survives tonight, picking Pennsylvania as her next battleground.

Happy Festivus.

(*)- Delegate estimates calculated as follows:
(1) 4,049 total delegates minus 795 superdelegates = 3,254 pledged delegates.
(2) Splitting the balance of the 3,254 pledged delegates (based on proportional apportionment) such that Obama maintains his 150 delegate lead would result in 1702 pledged delegates for Obama, and 1,552 pledged delegates for Hillary.
(3) In order to get to 2,025, Hillary would need 473 of the 795 supers, or 59.4%.

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