Tuesday, May 06, 2008

OK, it's all over but the shouting...

...and the 'shouting' in this case will be the shouts of support at the convention when Barack Obama strides to the podium to give his speech accepting the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party.

Not only did Obama win big in North Carolina (15 percentage points, >230,000 popular votes), he closed the pre-election gap in Indiana, leaving Clinton a victory margin that fell short of expectations and far short of what was needed for her campaign to maintain viability (2 percentage points, <23,000 votes).

He should net a gain of approximately 13 or more pledged delegates after everything is said and done, offsetting the 12 that Clinton gained with her win in the Pennsylvania primary.

There are a few remaining primaries left (Oregon, Kentucky, Montana, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, West Virginia), but the math just isn't there for her. There are just 217 pledged delegates available in those states (DNCC delegate map here).

After tonight, Hillary Clinton needs 334 delegates to secure the nomination, Obama needs 189. (CNN Election Center here). The race will come down to superdelegates, and right now, they are trending toward Obama (right along with the popular vote).

The last best hope for the Clinton campaign is now reseating the Florida and Michigan delegations in a way that helps her; any neutral way of handling that situation hurts her at a time when she needs to make strong gains. The DNCC's Rules Committee is scheduled to meet on May 31 to discuss many delegate-related issues, including Florida and Michigan; however, any chicanery there will fracture the Democratic Party.

That probably won't happen - while the contenders may desire the nomination with every fiber of their beings, they aren't stupid.

Right now, the Obama/Clinton battle for the nomination has energized the Party in a way that it hasn't been for decades, but that could change in a heartbeat if one of the candidates goes overboard with insider games. Any result from that meeting that even hints of unfairness will totally undercut the gains made by the Party in outreach to new and independent voters, turning them off to the Democratic Party for years, perhaps even a generation.

And in four years, the grassroots of the Party will be certain to remember the campaign (and campaigners) whose blind devotion to personal ambition and cynical 'business as usual' politics condemned the country to four more years of a Bush-era government (aka - a McCain presidency).

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