Political Purgatory

Charlie Cook:

If this contest were still at the point where momentum, symbolism, and reading tea leaves mattered, Clinton would be in pretty good shape. Everything she has needed to happen is happening now. Obama is getting tougher press coverage and critical examination. He’s also getting rattled a bit, and he didn’t perform well in the recent debate in Philadelphia. Clinton is winning in big, important places, but it’s happening about three months too late.[...]

As long as Clinton is winning, she can’t quit. But even in victory, she isn’t getting any closer to securing the nomination. This political purgatory will continue if she manages to win Indiana but loses North Carolinahard to drop out but harder to see winning the nomination. If she loses in both states, then her campaign’s donors and creditors, as well as superdelegates and party leaders, are likely to intervene. But that can’t happen as long as she continues to win.

Increasingly, I think this is going to the convention. The Clintons will use Michigan and Florida to argue that they have won the popular vote, that Obama cannot win the general, and that if he is the nominee, they will switch their support (unofficially, of course) to McCain and prepare for 2012. That's who they are. They will never willingly relinquish their power.