Obama resurgent


Obama's impressive sweep of the latest primaries and caucuses renews and strengthens the momentum he had in the days before Super Tuesday. His support seems to be be deepening and broadening; and Hillary's lead among women and lower-income households (two of her three most loyal constituencies: the third is Hispanics) seems to be wavering. But in case you're thinking that Hillary is finished--as I am inclined to--see this interesting corrective from Jay Cost at RealClearPolitics.  Demographics rather than momentum can explain the new results, according to this analysis. The race might still go all the way to the convention.

And though he would say this, wouldn't he, Mark Penn, Hillary's chief strategist, thinks that she still has a path to the nomination.

Plainly Hillary needs to win, and win big, in delegate-laden Texas and Ohio on March 4th. Even if she succeeds there, her campaign will need to lean on the party's "superdelegates" (party officials and other grandees, whose votes are worth thousands of the ordinary kind) to support her. Would they be willing to do that, if she was behind both in the popular vote within the party and in the share of pledged delegates? If I were a superdelegate, and even if I were convinced that Hillary was the better choice, I would not be willing: it is just too blatantly undemocratic.

And what about the delegates from Michigan and Florida, which the party disqualified when the states defied the ruling over the timing of their primaries? Both voted for Hillary, but nobody campaigned in either place and in Michigan Obama wasn't even on the ballot. Asked on CNN whether the Clinton campaign would call for some kind of rerun of those elections, one of Hillary's helpers blandly said that there was no need: those results were in, and it was just a question of un-disenfranchising the voters. If Hillary did get the nomination thanks to the party's uber-voters and to some kind of legal stunt involving Michigan and Florida, I would expect to hear fewer complaints from Democrats in future about Bush-Gore 2000. But I cannot see the Democratic party electorate standing for this--and, in any case, what would such squalid manoeuvrings do for the candidate's chances in the general election?

If Hillary's campaign collapses with defeat in Texas or Ohio, that will be the moment to concede gracefully. She could move on from this defeat with something of her reputation intact. I bet her truest friends are starting to wish for this outcome. But if those states leave her with a meaningful chance of the nomination--so long as she bends every rule  and exerts every kind of pressure to get the result--we will find out just how much of her own reputation and her party's prospects she is prepared to stake on this venture.   

Jump to comments
Presented by

Clive Crook is a senior editor of The Atlantic and a columnist for Bloomberg View. He was the Washington columnist for the Financial Times, and before that worked at The Economist for more than 20 years, including 11 years as deputy editor. Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics. More

Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus


Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.


Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.


Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.


The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air



More in Business

Just In