In Context

This quick prediction/analysis by Matthew Yglesias hints at what the stakes really are for Hillary Clinton tomorrow if we take our heads out of the spin and put them in context.

As Matt points out, the polls in both races are really tight with Hillary up a skosh in Ohio and Obama up a tad in Texas.  It’s close enough such that either contest could go either way, and Matt gracefully eschews mentioning that thus far Obama has outperformed the polls much more frequently than Hillary has.

But he also puts it on the line right here:

Now under the circumstances, I see no real way for Clinton to make up the lost delegate lead, but at this point it does seem to me that she and her campaign staff are probably egomaniacal enough that if they pull out a narrow “win” they’ll keep running anyway hoping for lightning to strike and seeing the damage it’ll do to the party as a feature, rather than a bug, since a crippled Obama who loses to John McCain could set them up for another run in 2012.

The fact of the matter at this late stage of the game is pretty simple.  Clinton needs both delegates and momentum in large portions in order to take the nomination without resorting to tactics that will result in severely damaging party cohesion in November.

Squeakers in Texas and Ohio might give her flagging campaign a little momentum, but it won’t be nearly enough to overtake Obama’s and chances are she won’t even make up ground in the delegate hunt if the polls remain as they are.

The Clinton campaign has turned Texas and Ohio into some sort of mythic battle, one in which to the victor goes all the spoils.  Unfortunately for them, in context, the bar for true measurable success in Texas and Ohio is notably much higher set than they would have us believe.

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