The Clinton Campaign: Living a Greek Tragedy

I wrote this for today's BeyondChron.

Hillary Clinton had reason to celebrate last night for winning the popular vote in Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas - but only because Barack Obama did not deliver the final knock-out punch to end her campaign.  In the fight for the presidential nomination, Obama maintains a 150+ delegate lead - and Clinton did not put a dent in his edge last night that she needed to wage a successful comeback.  For all of the media obsession with the popular vote in Texas, it ignores two cold, hard facts: Obama won more delegates in Texas, and across all four primaries Clinton won a grand total of an estimated two more delegates. And after Saturday's Wyoming caucus and Tuesday's Mississippi primary, Clinton will be further behind than on March 3. Her campaign has just finished Act 2 of a Greek tragedy: after an arduous path full of setbacks and defeats, the heroine suddenly appears on the brink of recovery - only to suffer inevitable loss in Act 3.  Clinton's performance last night makes it even more mathematically difficult for her to win the nomination.  But she can damage Obama's prospects, and hurt the Democratic Party---  Will Party leaders allow this?

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Obama Sitting on 100+ Del. Lead -- Even Counting Superdels.

From First Read:

*** The delegate count: The NBC News Hard Count is Obama 1,192, Clinton 1,036. Obama picked up two more superdelegates last night and this morning bringing the superdelegate total to Clinton 254, Obama 203. (Since Feb. 5, Obama has picked up 33; Clinton has lost a net of six.) That's a grand total of Obama 1,395, Clinton 1,290. So when you include superdelegates into the mix, Obama has a 105-delegate lead.

Three sets of numbers really stand out there. First and second, the delegate counts with and without the superdelegates show Barack Obama leading Hillary Clinton by well over 150 in the former and even 100 in the latter -- marks that are viewed as key thresholds for being able to stake out a genuine position as a prohibitive favorite if attained at the time of the convention (should this contest go that far). Third, Obama has picked up close to a net 40 superdelegates since Super Tuesday at the beginning of the month, helping to pad his lead and undercutting the notion that the party establishment would inexorably move to help Clinton land the nomination even while and if losing among the pledged delegates.

For reference, looking through the delegate tallies of various news organizations (counting superdelegates), Obama's lead ranges from 81.5 in The New York Times to 97 according to CNN to 103 in The Washington Post to 104 from CBS News to 106 from ABC News, so that 105-delegate lead mark from NBC News seems to be within a reasonable estimation of Obama's support relative to Clinton. Our tally here at MyDD puts Obama's lead at 97 delegates, for reference.

Delegate Counts

Has anyone noticed that the admins of this site stopped updating the delegate counter the day after Hillary Clinton had her last win (i.e. on Super Tuesday)?

Here's a compilation of delegate counts I put together from some of the main media outlets.

MyDD's hasn't changed since February 6.

Update: The poll results are interesting:

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Why is HRC ahead only at MyDD?

This is an honest question, not an attempt to flame the site.  I tried to search, but failed to find any sort of methodology post.  Lots of stuff with actual counts, but none explaining this site's "widget" counts on the right sidebars.    

Below a look at the numbers ~

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Clinton Hoping to Be Within 25 Dels. of Obama After 3/4

This doesn't sound like the most ambitious goal for the Clinton campaign, though perhaps it's an attempt to lower expectations...

Clintonista Guy Cecil predicted today that his candidate will be within 25 delegates of rival Barack Obama after the March 4 primaries.

On a conference call with reporters, Cecil said that counting all delegates, supers and not, they expect Clinton to be "in a virtual tie" with Obama, post WI, OH, TX.

For reference as to where things currently stand, Taegan Goddard today surveyed the various news outlets for their counts.

NBC: Obama 1,078, Clinton 969
CBS: Obama 1,242, Clinton 1,175
ABC: Obama 1,232, Clinton 1,205
CNN: Obama 1,215, Clinton 1,190
AP: Obama 1,223, Clinton 1,198

As you can see, ABC, CNN and the AP all already place Obama's delegate lead at roughly 25 (with the latter two pegging it at 25 exactly). Yet the Clinton campaign's ambition is merely to maintain the status quo following the primaries in Ohio and Texas (and Vermont and Rhode Island)? It seems to me if Clinton is unable to score convincing wins in those two big states after having raised expectations for some time and after having lost eight contests in a row following Super Tuesday -- and perhaps even more -- it's going to be very difficult for her to regain the edge she once had. A tie in three weeks is just not going to be good enough for Clinton, I think. With all she has staked in Ohio and Texas, she had better win -- not necessarily by 10+ points, but at least by a few points -- if she wants a chance to win the Democratic nomination.

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