Thursday, May 22, 2008

Even With Michigan And Florida Counted, Obama Has A Comfortable Margin

Honestly, the Hillary supporters need to give it up and move on.

Under any reasonable scenario, Obama has at least a hundred delegate lead over Hillary with the contest winding down.

For a neutral account of all the potential scenarios involving Michigan and Florida, take a look at Democratic Convention Watch.

The salient points are these:

If you exclude Michigan and Florida, per the DNC rules, then Obama needs just 61 votes to clinch the Democratic nomination, and he leads by 185. This is the scenario the mainstream media will most likely follow--for now. Accordingly, it won't be too long before he is "officially" declared the victor.

But, you say, Democrats ultimately won't entirely exclude Michigan and Florida, so that scenario may be wrong. True, but it won't make a difference.

There are a lot of options for dealing with Michigan and Florida. They range from seating half the delegates from both states, to seating half the pledged delegates and all the superdelegates, to seating the delegations "as is" under the votes that occurred to various other options in between. Under all but one of those options (nicely laid out by the folks at Democratic Convention Watch) Obama has a lead over Hillary of at least 120 delegates. Under all but that same outlier option, Obama needs no more than 122 delegates to clinch the nomination.

That one outlier scenario is the one under which Hillary and Obama both get delegates from the Florida and Michigan elections exactly as they voted. That would mean NO delegates from Michigan for Obama, because his name was not on the ballot. It would, however, add 55 uncommitted delegates to the Michigan delegation.

Now, if you don't count any of those 55 uncommitted delegates for Obama, then his lead is down to 70 delegates and he needs 166 more delegates (out of a total of 381 not yet allocated) to win.

Of course, the bulk of those 55 uncommitted delegates would go for Obama. Let's say he gets just 40 of them. Well, then his lead is back up to 110, and he needs only 126 delegates to clinch.

In short, the delegate math heavily favors Obama UNDER ANY SCENARIO.

The same is largely true with respect to the "popular vote." We've seen a few Clintonites still out there arguing that she leads in the popular vote. Yet, the only way you get to that conclusion is to include all of Hillary's Michigan votes and give Obama NO votes for Michigan. Talk about stacking the deck.

In short, even with Hillary's recent lopsided wins in West Virginia and Kentucky, and even if you include Florida, Hillary is still behind in the popular vote--and that's excluding all the voters who overwhelmingly favored Obama in the caucus states.

Little will be served by having the Clinton campaign engage in a "fight to the last man (and woman)" strategy all the way to the convention. We think Hillary knows this. We'll see a concession speech around June 3. We hope it will be in conjunction with a satisfactory solution to the Michigan and Florida problems as well.

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