As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

New Thread

Clinton really spanked Obama in Rhode Island, and the exit polls have now been re-weighted to reflect that. Look out for that re-weighting, it's sneaky!

So basically Rhode Island and Vermont were a wash, and we're waiting to see what transpires in Ohio and Texas. I know the late votes in Cleveland and the surrounding areas will break for Obama, but I can't see that overturning a big Clinton lead. Meanwhile Texas is really tight, but again, Dallas and Houston and Austin have yet to report. There's also this.

Some precincts in Texas are still voting. According to rules, people in line at 7 p.m. when polls were supposed to close still get to vote. And since caucuses started right after the polls close, it looks like tons of people tried to vote late so they would only have to make one trip.

Now add all the caucusers showing up to caucus, and it's mayhem at places. This thing will go late.

If Ohio and Texas end up a wash, and Rhode Island and Vermont end up a wash, and there's no discernible delegate shift, and those 50 superdelegates Obama's been holding in his back pocket come out of the woodwork... what's Clinton's path to the nomination? I'm OK with her staying in the race, but what's the plan?

Now, the Slate calculator is imperfect, of course, and the vagaries of caucuses and delegate rules and so forth mean this analysis is inexact. And this does not include Florida and Michigan, whose delegates were ruled ineligible by the Democratic National Committee because those states held primaries earlier than allowed under party rules -- delegates Clinton would like to seat since she won those states. But you get the point. And this is why the Obama camp remains confident that he will finish the primary season with a lead among pledged delegates no matter what happens today.

Of course, there are nearly 800 superdelegates, and the Clinton camp hopes victories today would give it enough momentum to keep those party elders from flocking to Obama at least until Pennsylvania. If Clinton could prove in the interim that Obama is a paper tiger and not up to the scrutiny a front-runner invariably attracts, her strategists think the superdelegates will decide they have to go with her for the sake of the party.

It's a big gamble, and few at Clinton's headquarters in Arlington are fooling themselves about the odds. But this year has shown that anything can happen and that politics are not so neat and predictable as we might think. Or at least not as neat and predictable as Slate's delegate counter.

That's really a scorched-earth strategy, especially considering that it will play out while John McCain is anointed the nominee and gets to go around to swing states bashing both of them. The effect will be to hurt BOTH Democrats' chances in November. I hope that message is sent.

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