The Political Landscape
As I wrote yesterday, the superdelegates will, ultimately, decide the Democratic nomination. A couple weeks ago, Nancy Pelosi said they shouldn't overrule the voters. Many took that to mean that she wanted the superdelegates to shut down Hillary Clinton's campaign. Many in the shrillosphere are still calling for Clinton to shut it down, because her victories Tuesday might extend it for months. How horrible of her! And, no doubt, it will be even more horrible if she actually wins! And I guess if she'd lost, on Tuesday, these same voices would be saying she can continue campaigning? Yes, logic is lacking among the Hillary-haters. But many more reasoned voices understand that Tuesday changed the political landscape. Even Nancy Pelosi seems to agree.
There was a bit of a buzz, before Tuesday, that a large group of superdelegates was about to announce for Barack Obama, adding a super blow to Clinton's chances- party insiders pulling the plug on a doomed campaign. The story was first reported by Tom Brokaw, then the Columbia Missourian had Obama Missouri co-chair Rep. Lacy Clay claiming those superdelegates would effectively end Clinton's candidacy. But even as the story was zipping around the tubes, the National Journal's Hotline had an Obama spokesman saying it wasn't true. Today, Bloomberg has this:
Hillary Clinton scored more than just three presidential primary victories this week. She also helped freeze a movement of top Democrats set to call on her to concede to rival Barack Obama.
A group of uncommitted "superdelegates" were ready to make a show of support for Obama by trying to pressure Clinton to give up, said Tim Roemer, a former congressman who's rounding up backers for Obama. Now, after her wins in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island, many will still back Obama without calling on Clinton to quit, he said.
Obama, an Illinois senator, aimed to knock Clinton out of the race by capitalizing on an 11-contest winning streak to claim the mantle of undisputed front-runner. The 795 superdelegates -- party officials and lawmakers who aren't bound by primary results -- are critical as neither candidate is positioned to gain enough delegates through elections to win the nomination.
"Instead of being a slam dunk for Obama, it's a horse race again," said South Carolina Representative John Spratt. Spratt said he's undecided after Clinton's success this week, even though Obama is his "presumptive choice" because his constituents backed him in the state's Jan. 26 primary.
And that from someone who is presumptively leaning Obama. And as for the Speaker? According to The Hill:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) expressed confidence Wednesday that Democratic primary and caucus voters will settle on a presidential nominee before the Democratic convention in August, with no need for party leaders to weigh in.
“The electoral process has to work its way,” Pelosi said in a session with reporters Wednesday morning. “I was never among those who thought this would be resolved by now.”
Superdelegates, she said, should weigh a number of factors, including whether Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) or Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) won whatever district the delegates represent, as well as “their own belief.”
But it sounds like the Speaker would prefer that the superdelegates back off, for now, so the voters can first make their own voices heard. And contrary to the wishes of the Hillary-haters, many voters have yet to do so. And the political landscape that will emerge as they do is yet to be seen.