In the beginning there was inevitability. This was the guiding narrative that was to push Hillary Clinton into the White House, and assisting that narrative would be the apparent clinch that Clinton had on the superdelegate vote. Long before the first primary, many in the punditocracy had suspected that Clinton would stifle any competition using the strong showing of support from the upper echelon of the Democratic party apparatus.

Unfortunately for her, the first Clinton firewall fell some time ago.

Indeed, the original superdelegate firewall has turned into something of a floodgate, one that has been damming up an increased apprehension that Clinton’s continued presence in the race will ultimately deprive the Democrats of the White House this fall. In recent weeks, we’ve seen that floodgate spring a leak or two.

First it was Bill Richardson, the man to whom high-level Clinton surrogate James Carville referred as Judas Iscariot for endorsing Obama instead of Clinton. Last week, Bob Casey stepped up to the plate and delivered a key endorsement from the current focus of the primary battle in the Keystone State.

Today it will be Amy Klobuchar, the freshman Democratic US senator from Minnesota. In even better news for Obama and worse news for Clinton, the WSJ reports that seven members of the House from North Carolina are planning on endorsing Obama as a group before the NC primaries on May 6th.

The typical disclaimer should of course be applied here: endorsements have thus far not had an appreciable effect on voter performance at the polls. But they will become more damaging to the Clinton campaign as the focus of this race shifts more to the superdelegates, since they are the ones who will ultimately have to push the nominee over the finish line, and indeed the Clinton campaign was depending on superdelegates to turn the tide in their favor only a few weeks ago.

This dam is on the verge of breaking. The presidential election has now become a story about how broken the Democratic Party seems to be, and that is not going to do anyone any good come November. The only people who can put this to an end before it becomes a big fat cyanide pill are the superdelegates, and it is looking as though they are beginning a slow but firm break for Obama.

One should also keep polling numbers in mind. Obama already has a ten point lead over Clinton in the Gallup Daily Tracker, and the positive media attention garnered from two high profile superdelegate endorsements is a key reason why. Look for poll numbers to continue to favor Obama as long as the media continues to have endorsement stories like this to run.

Ultimately, this narrows the path to the nomination for Clinton even further, which is an impressive statement given that she was already walking a tightrope as far back as the beginning of March. Barring a cataclysmic event that would dwarf the Wright controversy by comparison, I think we can expect this trend to continue.

2 Responses to “Floodgates”

  1. Susan M. Kovalinsky says:

    Bravo. I hold great hope for Obama, our rightful candidate. But it is the last sentence which terrifies me. I fear that something will be made to SEEM like a great scandal, and by the time everyone realizes that is was a mere ruse of the Clinton campaign, the damage will be done. I tend to be a worrier and a pessimist, though, and I am hoping that I am wrong.

  2. Well, for that, Susan, I think the biggest thing to look at is how each candidate handled incoming fire. Take a look at the way that Obama handled the Wright controversy, and the way that Clinton handled the Bosnia controversy. It’s a day and night situation, and I don’t think Super Delegates weren’t paying attention.

    Yes, Hillary’s a fighter, but Obama took his hardship to a whole new level, and that’s the kind of guy that is going to be hard to face in the general election.

    Another good thing to look at is, remember, Hillary came into this the hands down presumptive nominee. Six months into actual campaigning and she led Barack Obama by about twenty points in the more generous states. She was the grizzled veteran, and the grizzled veteran couldn’t put a stop to him, period.

    Is there still cause for worry? Of course. But by most indicators, this should be Obama’s for the winning. If Hillary thinks she can pull a 2012 strategy, that’s not going to work either for the simple fact that if Obama loses, I think she’s going to get blamed for it.

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