The New Math

While Mississippi is the only state holding a primary today, it is not the only state where there is important delegate news going on.

Let’s take a look at the new math that will ultimately alter the dynamics of the race as it turns its focus to Pennsylvania.

With 92% reporting in Mississippi, Obama leads Hillary Clinton by six delegates.  There are still six free delegates, and I suppose it’s reasonable to assume that this could go anywhere, but let’s make the assumption that with only 8% left to report, she’s not going to pick up all six of the remaining delegates.

Being incredibly generous, let’s say that she manages a miracle in those few remaining votes and pulls off a two to one delegate haul of the remaining six.  That would result in about a net delegate gain of four for Obama.

Now to Texas where CNN has finally called the caucuses for Obama.  While only 41% is all that is being reported at this point, Obama picks up 9 delegates.  There must be some data that we’re not seeing, and let’s assume that 9 holds true because if she is looking to close that delegate gap later on, I think it unlikely that CNN would call it at this point.

The last point of interest is California where revised estimates suggest Obama picks up another net gain of eight delegates.

So if we are generous in Mississippi, and hold faith on the two states that have already had their turn, that would put Obama’s net pick up for the day at 21 delegates.

Now, that may not seem like a terribly large number, but we must remember that Clinton is in a particularly perilous situation.  It’s not just that she’s down in the delegate count, but also that the field of open delegates out there is shrinking.

Had Hillary been suffering from a 100+ deficit earlier in the contest, that wouldn’t have been easily overcome.  But spending a little time with Slate’s delegate counter, we see just how steep of a climb Hillary has before her.

I had done some calculations earlier this evening when I had a stretch of free time, and I only applied the delegate pick up from Mississippi today.  Now, running through Mississippi, and if we cede to Hillary Clinton a 60-40 split of all states running after Pennsylvania, in order for Clinton to overtake Obama in pledged delegates, she would then have to win over seventy percent of the popular vote in Pennsylvania.

She could not allow Obama to get to thirty percent in the popular vote in Pennsylvania.  That is how dire this whole thing is for Clinton.  If we are more realistic with the delegate count in Mississippi at the end of this thing and factor in gains in California and Texas, now we’re looking at a situation where Clinton must win three quarters of the delegates in Pennsylvania, while at the same time maintaining a 60-40 split in all other remaining contests.

So, in answer to the question I posed to you folks earlier this evening, yes, this is the time to start asking for her to drop out.  Yes, I know that there’s all this talk about Pennsylvania, but let’s face it, it’s an imaginary fire wall at best.  Not that Texas and Ohio were all that realistic either, but at least in the March 4th primaries she only had to win 57% of the vote to stay on track to catch up to Obama with strong performances in all following states.

But in Pennsylvania, in order for it to be a true firewall, the margin of victory that Clinton has to put up approaches forty points.  Six weeks out, her margin over Obama is only about half of that.  And this is not taking into account in virtually every state that Obama campaigned in, he has narrowed the gap considerably.

So, with no feasible path to the nomination, the only effect of having Hillary remain in the race is to further damage the presumptive nominee.  As I always say, there is still a path or two left to the nomination on Hillary’s behalf, but those paths are either statistically unlikely to the point of absurdity, or so damaging to the cohesion of the party so as to virtually guarantee a loss in November.

Forget the Pennsylvania fire wall, it doesn’t exist.  This contest ended a while ago, someone just seemed to forget to tell Mrs. Clinton of this fact.

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