A Turning Point for Clinton?
I have argued before that the Democratic nomination contest should be allowed to run its course through the remaining states, and Hillary Clinton’s impressive win in Pennsylvania yesterday should ensure that all remaining Democratic primary voters get a chance to register their candidate preference. That said I am not convinced that the victory represents a significant turning point in the race. If the win had come more closely on the heels of Ohio and Texas, then perhaps Senator Clinton could have generated some fresh momentum from a string of strong performances. But last night’s victory, coming after a grinding six weeks of campaigning, will mainly push the choice of a Democratic nominee further down the road. The expectations game has been played so exhaustively by both campaigns, that the resultant spin just won’t pack the punch that it might have a month or so ago. While all of the usual nomination metrics – pledged delegates, states won, popular vote received – will continue to favor Barack Obama, his ongoing inability to shake Clinton’s core bases of support means that he can do little more than run out the clock on her.
Many of Clinton’s supporters will no doubt rally around Obama, should he become the party’s nominee. The stark differences between John McCain and Obama on virtually every dimension of federal policy will be too much for many of these good Democrats to ignore. But, as I have previously noted, Obama will have his work cut out for him, in trying to win over the women, seniors, and working class voters who have provided the foundation for Clinton’s resiliency as a candidate. The results from Pennsylvania suggest to me that many of these voters have become increasingly hardened against an Obama candidacy. He will need a significant portion of them on his side going into the crucial battleground states this fall.

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