Tuesdays with the Democrats
03-03-2008
It has been almost a month since conventional wisdom held that the many primaries and caucuses on February 5th would be decisive for picking the Democratic nominee. That turned out not to be the case, and we are once again facing a Tuesday showdown, comprised of multiple state contests (OH, RI, TX, and VT) that are said to be pivotal for the candidates, particularly Hillary Clinton. It is entirely reasonable to assume, however, that tomorrow’s results will once again be something less than decisive. With the most probable outcome being a small net gain of delegates for one candidate or the other, both will find sufficient reason in the results to continue on to subsequent states, regardless of any media narrative to the contrary. Clinton has already suggested that she will remain in the race, whatever the outcome in Texas and Ohio, at least until Pennsylvania votes on April 22nd.
 
Obama has often argued that the nomination should go to the candidate with the most pledged delegates (himself), rather than be determined by the party’s appointed super-delegates, who traditionally have been viewed as providing a delegate safety net for Clinton. But, slowly emerging from the Democratic contest’s electoral ambiguity is an intriguing political irony. It may very well be some of these same super-delegates, elected politicians and key figures in the party’s institutional machinery, who begin to pressure Clinton to drop out of the race, should she experience anything short of a stunning electoral turnaround tomorrow. So, in the days immediately following tomorrow’s primaries, I will be closely watching what these Democratic political elites say and do. They may provide the best indication of whether Obama really has the nomination locked up, or if Clinton will fight on into springtime.


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