How Does She Plan To Win Again?

I know I’ve focused an awful lot on delegate math the last few days, however; it’s an integral part of the dynamics moving throughout this Democratic primary and they are worth going over at least once more.

Probably a whole lot more than once more.

Jonathan Alter provides a solid summation of the post March 4th landscape, and the end result runs contrary to the spin.  Regarding pledged delegates, Alter says, “That’s 10 down, 134 to go. Good luck.”  He then goes into exactly how much luck Hillary will need in order to catch Obama in the pledged delegate hunt.

He delivers to Hillary a very generous play out of the rest of the states left in the primaries, giving her as much as ten point victories even in states she is not expected to win.  The end result?  She still comes out the other end lacking 30 some odd pledged delegates.  Further, reseating or at least providing do-overs for Florida and Michigan makes both the pledged delegate hunt and the popular vote contest easier for her, but they still fail to drag her past Obama in both hunts.

Granted, Alter wasn’t nearly as generous as I was in my own calculations, where I gave Hillary Clinton twenty point leads in all remaining states with Pennsylvania the only exception.  There I gave her a massive 28 point victory necessary to win the nomination.  Putting all of the remaining states, without exception (except Guam which I just gave straight out to Hillary), still puts her behind Obama in the pledged delegate count by about ten delegates.  But, Alter’s breakdown is more realistic than mine.

Neither one of our breakdowns, however, are even close to realistic.

Alter’s unrealistic calculation means that for Hillary Clinton to win, she will need to get pushed over the finish line by Super Delegates, but then comes this little bit of information that is handy to digest:

Superdelegates won’t help Clinton if she cannot erase Obama’s lead among pledged delegates, which now stands at roughly 134. Caucus results from Texas aren’t complete, but Clinton will probably net about 10 delegates out of March 4. That’s 10 down, 134 to go. Good luck.

I’ve asked several prominent uncommitted superdelegates if there’s any chance they would reverse the will of Democratic voters. They all say no. It would shatter young people and destroy the party.

Yet that is only part of the story.  Not only is this a tale of who picks up the most total delegates, it’s also a function, as Alter makes clear, of who is closer to the finish line.  Assuming Alter’s heavily skewed breakdown comes to pass, Obama is still closer to the finish line and would only need 200 of the remaining 500 Super Delegates to get him where he needs to be.

But again, this is an unrealistic take on how the rest of the primary will play out.  Once we make the concession that, yes, Obama will win more states, and yes, he’ll keep from getting blown out in others, that requisite number of Super Delegates comes closer to 50 or 100.

That’s going to be a much easier lobby effort to make on his behalf than the amount of Supers Hillary will need to pull to first push herself past Obama and then over the finish line.

All of which begs the question; How does she plan on winning this thing again?

Already folks are attempting to discount the significance of Obama’s win streak, but when we look at how this thing is going to play out, that win streak really is a clincher, a very long and slow knockout punch.  It allowed him to collect a solid lead in pledged delegates, as well as a strong lead in the popular vote.  It also gave him the claim to winning more states than Clinton, but perhaps more important than anything else is that it is highly unlikely to be repeated again.

Despite all of the very favorable calculations that we put out for Hillary, it is all simply to show how unrealistic it is for her to win this thing by what most would call reasonable and fair means.  That includes assuming that she will run the table between now and June.

That’s not going to happen.

So I know there are an awful lot of bloggers out there saying there’s no fair reason to ask Hillary to quite, but to me this is it.  No path to the nomination that is possible in this universe for Hillary Clinton exists without severely detrimental effects to the party and the chances of beating John McCain in the fall.  So how is Hillary’s continued presence in this race in any way a good thing?

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