Tuesday, April 22, 2008

No shocker, the process continues

So Hilary Clinton has won Pennsylvania by what looks like about a 10% margin. She's still pretty much in line to lose the nomination unless there's a dramatic shift in momentum and she starts winning every state from here on out by 20% or more or the superdelegates decide en masse to throw in with the Clinton camp, but that's a plenty big margin of victory to justify staying in the race.

Certainly it's hard to argue that the momentum has shifted. Clinton is winning races and taking shots, Obama is starting to seem tired of the whole thing, and making sloppy mistakes that don't do him any good (like the "bitter" comments). He's also clearly the front-runner, and that's a much different position to run in. It seems like the Obama machine is having some trouble correcting for that new status quo.

As to whether or not Clinton *should* stay in the race, or drop out for the good of the party? Or whether Obama should, even though he's in the lead? At this point, they might as well fight it out to the convention. The damage has been done. A few months back, polls indicated that either candidate had a good lead (Obama had a bigger one) on presumptive Republican nominee John McCain. Now they're about even.

Now this isn't really all that telling, the polls aren't wholly accurate and even when they are, so much is in flux right now that it's impossible to get an accurate reading on what's going to happen in the general election. But it's hard to argue that this bitter fight between two rival candidates has *not* been a benefit to the Democratic party. It has instead given the Republican candidate a fighting chance in the next election.

This fact is going to only heighten the bitterness in the two camps, as each will blame the other candidate for dragging things out.

I don't really have any solutions to offer. I will say that the process has dragged me from "fired up, ready to go" to "Jesus, can we please have a fucking candidate already?" I mean, I'm still hoping to vote for Obama, hoping he'll be our President, but it's starting to feel more like naive optimism in the face of an increasingly bitter fight that looks pretty much like politics as usual.


Dylan said...

I imagine this scenario where she's in such a deep state of denial that for the next eight years she makes everyone around her refer to her as "Madame President", renames her living room "The Oval Office" and calls coffee klatches "cabinet meetings."

Seriously, she's banking on the Superdelegates to swing her way, but right now, she's down 150+ delegates and only leads by what, 25 Superdelegates? Not exactly a sure foundation.

I'd love to think that if Obama takes Indiana and S. Carolina, it will be over, but, well, I don't think it's going to happen that way. Even if he takes them by a surprising margin (which seems less likely every day), she'll hang in there until it's abundantly clear she's lost, despite the damage she will have done to the Democratic Party.

I'm pretty sure if you look up "Doggedly Determined" in the dictionary, there's Hillary's face.

Manton said...

I'm more optimistic than you are. Yes, when the media only covers whatever trivial back-and-forth negative comments of the day are, that drags the party down and people tune out. But there is still the opportunity to use this lengthy primary season for good by talking about the Democratic agenda.

Despite the recent wins, we know Obama will still likely be the nominee, and everything Hillary has said publicly tells me that when she throws her support behind Obama that it will be total. I still think a joint ticket is the best way to discourage supporters from abandoning the Dems for McCain, but I think we will see a positive shift before/during the convention regardless to rally around the nominee.

It's all about the timing, leading up to the convention, reintroducing the nominee to the people, then ramping up against McCain before November. I think the shorter general election timetable actually helps minimize the chance of fizzling out or withering under attacks like Kerry did.