Looks more and more like nothing will happen. I think Obama would be quite likely to win a real primary in Michigan, but that Clinton would also be competitive, and that Clinton should easily win Florida, but it looks like neither is going to happen. My sense is that the fairest thing would be to have a 50/50 Michigan delegation and to halve the florida delegation to give Clinton +19. That seems to map fairly reasonably on to what polls suggest that result of real contests would be.
But, again, unlikely to be new contests there (unfortunately).
At any rate, Obama is going to win North Carolina, barring an act of God. If winning NC is all he needs to do to secure the nomination, then the chances of Clinton winning are already close to infinitesimal. But I don't think Clinton would drop out on May 6 if she wins Indiana but loses North Carolina. the only realistic prospect of a Clinton drop-out before the end of the primaries that I can see is big Obama victories in both North Carolina and Indiana. But I think even if he loses Indiana he'll probably still be the nominee - the math is too tough for Clinton, unless Obama totally implodes.
Except that these contests are zero sum, whereas your baseball analogy is not. Basically, any reasonable conception of the delegate count as it goes from here, assuming we exclude Michigan and Florida, looks approximately the following. Here's a fairly pro-Clinton prospectus
Current pledged delegate count, per Chuck Todd: Obama +157
Pennsylvania: Clinton +20
Indiana: Clinton +5
North Carolina: Obama +4
Oregon: Obama +2
West Virginia: Clinton +10
Kentucky: Clinton +11
Puerto Rico: Clinton +11
South Dakota: Obama +1
Montana: Obama +2
I think this is unrealistically Clinton friendly, but the upshot is that Clinton gains +48 in the rest of the contests, for a final pledged delegate score of +111 Obama
Per Todd, again, this would result in aproximate pledged delegate totals of the following (I think I made an adding mistake somewhere here, though:
Now, add in the current superdelegate numbers from MSNBC - 253 to 217 (this may be pre-Murtha)
Now, let's add in the unpledged add-on delegates chosen by state conventions, assuming that those posts will go based on who won the state, as is likely. 23 to 7 Obama, for new totals of...
This means that out of the 295 remaining superdelegates and unpledged add-ons chosen by state executive committees, Obama only needs to win 116 (39.3%) to get the nomination. Clinton would need 207 (70.1%). (This might not be quite right, but it gives the basic lay of the land). That's a pretty tall order, although obviously not completely impossible. Of course we also know that several of the undeclared superdelegates, like Pelosi or Donna Brazile, are pretty clearly going to support Obama if he has a pledged delegate lead, so that means that Clinton actually has to win an even higher percentage of the even smaller pie of truly uncommitted superdelegates.
And that's more or less a best case scenario for Clinton, in terms of how the late primaries go. It's quite likely that Clinton will not get 20 delegates out of Pennsylvania, that she will lose Indiana, that Obama will get considerably more than five delegates out of North Carolina, and more than the very small number I gave him in Oregon, Montana, and South Dakota. One could just as easily envision a scenario where Obama, for instance, wins 1700 pledged delegates instead of 1668.
+unpledged add-ons selected at state conventions -
Now Obama is only 85 delegates away from the nomination, while Clinton is 239 delegates away. That's gonna be really hard to swing.
Those are probably close to the outside range of reasonable possibilities for how the rest of the primary contests go. But basically, we go from at worst, a situation where it's virtually impossible to see how Clinton could win; to, at best, a situation where it is very difficult to see how Clinton could win.
She could win, but I have a hard time seeing exactly how it would happen.
Certainly, it's really close, historically, and I don't really begrudge her staying in - campaigns always convince themselves they still have a shot. But that's no reason for those of us not actually in the campaign to convince ourselves of falsehoods. The basic fact is that the math says this is an extremely tough row to hoe for Clinton, and it doesn't seem like there's anything that's likely to change that.
If we must use sports analogies, i suggest the following: we're kind of at that point in the basketball game when there's not really enough time left on the clock for the team that's behind to catch up in the normal way, so they have to keep fouling and hoping their opponent misses their free throws to have any chance to win. It's still technically possible to win, but the chances are getting less and less with each free throw the winning team makes.
What does that even mean? His church is affiliated with the United Church of Christ. The United Church of Christ is a largely white mainline protestant domination, formed from the merger of the Congregationalist Church (i.e., descendants of New England Puritans) with the German Reformed Church.
Now, obviously, the UCC, as the successor to Congregationalism, is a fairly decentralized church, with individual congregations having a great deal of autonomy. But they are, nonetheless, a largely white national organization with which Trinity has voluntarily been associated for decades. And UCC doctrine is pretty standard liberal mainline protestant fare.
Once again - if he's a giant racist whitey-hater, why has he voluntarily affiliated with a mostly white organization for decades?
Have any of you people actually read stuff by King? There's plenty in King that I'm sure you all would find "racist" and "hate-filled," etc., if you were of a mind to.
Second, and slowly now - the guy is affiliated with a mostly white, mainline protestant organization. If he's such an outrageous racist, why has he maintained ties with a mostly white national church for so many years?
I'm not sure I understand - the United Church of Christ is a more mainline, white and liberal organization than the major African-American baptist organizations. The idea that someone was too radical to be a Baptist so they turned to, of all places, the United Church of Christ, is utterly bizarre to me.
So, once again - this supposed radical black nationalist is affiliated with a national church which is vastly white, and very mainstream.
It was a different system before 1972, and it worked in different ways.
So yeah, Martin Van Buren in 1844, Lewis Cass in 1852, George Pendleton in 1868, Richard Bland in 1896, Champ Clark in 1912, and William G. McAdoo in 1920 and 1924 all came in with pluralities (or, in the cases of Van Buren and Clark, majorities) on the first ballot, and yet lost the nomination. I don't see how that's relevant to anything. And McAdoo in 1924 is the last time that happened.
Looking at national popular vote means that you are basically saying states that hold caucuses don't deserve a say in who the nominee is, because caucuses are structured in a way so that there's much less participation. That's why delegate count is a better (but still flawed) way to determine who has "won".
You can go back through the history books, and find many examples of political candidates that have come into a Democratic convention with a plurality lead in delegates, but have not gotten the nomination.
This is true, but only for the pre-modern era when most of the delegates were not chosen in open contests, and the nominee was actually decided at the convention. In the modern era, guess who had the most delegates going into each convention?
1972 - McGovern
1976 - Carter
1980 - Carter
1984 - Mondale
1988 - Dukakis
1992 - Clinton
1996 - Clinton
2000 - Gore
2004 - Kerry
Even going backwards, it's still basically true. Humphrey had the most delegates going into the 68 convention; Kennedy had the most in 60; Stevenson had the most in 52 and 56; FDR had the most in 32; Smith had the most in 28. The last dark horse candidate to emerge from a nomination was John W. Davis in the convention of 1924, when there was still a 2/3 rule, and when "Dry" William McAdoo and "Wet" Al Smith battled it out for 100 ballots before the Dark Horse emerged. But I'm not sure how that can possibly be compared to present events.
His church is affiliated with a national organization which is mostly white. Why the fuck would a radical black nationalist church be associated with the United Church of Christ, of all denominations? It's not as though the Nation of Islam is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.