Wednesday :: Mar 12, 2008

The road ahead

by Turkana

Barack Obama's huge win in Mississippi eliminated the popular vote gain Hillary Clinton made in Texas. He again leads by some 700,000 votes. He again proved capable of a huge win in a smaller state that swamped Clinton's victory margin in a larger state. Had the Clinton team had the money and strategic smarts to hold their defeats in the Potomac Primaries to margins of even 15%, this would be an entirely different campaign. But when Obama wins states, Clinton also often loses them. Should Obama win this nomination, the Potomac Primaries will be remembered as the turning point.

The question, now, is whether or not Clinton can make up that 700,000 popular vote deficit, in order to have any credible claim to the nomination. The polls in Pennsylvania continue to give her a wide lead, and the state is even more demographically favorable to her than was Ohio; and given that her ten point win in Ohio was worth a popular vote gain of nearly 230,000 votes, a similar win in Pennsylvania would be worth even more. A margin of 300,000 seems very possible. Her only chance of overcoming that final 400,000 would seem to reside in her breaking roughly even in the remaining scheduled states, while winning big in Florida and Michigan revotes. As has been clear for some time, her only chance to take a credible popular vote lead depends on Florida and Michigan. The previous votes in those states will never be considered credible. Revotes are the only answer.

The Obama camp is hedging on revotes. In fact, they're now resorting to legal arguments, and very understandably would prefer that the delegate slates be simply split between the two candidates. The latter will not happen. The Clinton camp would prefer the previous elections be validated, but they are open to revotes, as an alternative. The former will not happen. So, the only fair resolution being revotes, we now see the campaigns articulating clear stances: Clinton would prefer that there be no revotes, but is open to the idea; Obama would prefer that there be no revotes, and seems willing to try to block them. As Big Tent Democrat makes clear, that position will be hard to defend. Were I as manipulative as some big name bloggers on some big name sites, I would claim that Obama doesn't think Florida and Michigan voters are relevant; but of course, he does think they're relevant, he's just worried about the results of their votes. This is nothing more than politics-as-usual, and it shouldn't be spun as anything else.

Should Florida revote, it is likely that Clinton will match or beat her previous victory margin, thus slicing Obama's popular vote lead to roughly 100,000 votes. The question would then be whether or not she could win Michigan by that much. Her huge margin in the previous vote cannot be taken as measure, and the only recent poll, by Rasmussen, shows Clinton and Obama tied. Many, however, feel the demographics would favor Clinton. But would they favor her enough to give her a margin that would put her over the top, in total popular votes? There's only one way to find out.

Of course, none of this may matter. Clinton may win by such large margins in Pennsylvania and Florida that all she'll need is a slight win in Michigan. Obama may close in those two states, and make it impossible for the Michigan margin to matter. He might clean up in Indiana and some of the other remaining states, also making his popular vote lead unassailable. Or she might do well in the remaining states. But what is still clear and obvious is the necessity of resolving Florida and Michigan. Clinton's not going to get the current delegate slates. Obama can't block revotes without blowing his chances of winning in November. A revote plan is being developed, and it should be implemented.

Turkana :: 1:48 PM :: Comments (50) :: Digg It!