May 30, 2008

Clinton's New Bag of Tricks

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Hillary has to bow out of the race…eventually. While I would initially set a timeline that ends shortly after the last primaries on June 3rd, I must quickly remind myself that this is Clinton. I probably would be better off trying to get Bush to set a withdrawal date for Iraq than trying to get Hillary to set a withdrawal date for her candidacy.

Obama may be oh-so-close to the nomination now, but this may be as close as he will be for a while. Although he does not need many more delegates to clinch the nomination, Clinton probably will change the math (the real math, not the one in her mind) soon. Although nothing is official yet, rumor has it the Democrats are settling on a compromise for Florida and Michigan, two delegate-rich states where Clinton performed very well.

The compromise would only count half of the delegates from each state, giving Clinton a boost but nowhere near enough to take the lead. The new delegates would push the magic number forward, and Clinton’s advantage there would push Obama farther from the nomination. Without those delegates, Obama would still probably fall short of the nomination, but could still round in a few more superdelegates to win. But now, perhaps, Obama will need some more time to grab the nomination. How much remains an open question.

Of course, though, this remains somewhat speculative at this point. While half the delegates would seem fair in Florida, in Michigan Obama was not even on the ballot. Perhaps one could count the uncommitted vote in Michigan (about forty percent) as Obama votes for the purpose of this compromise. Additionally, Obama certainly will have a few words to say on Saturday when the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee meets to settle everything. When a meeting like that sells out faster than Hannah Montana, you know something monumental is about to take place.

We still have to see what exactly Clinton is up to, though. She keeps buying herself more and more time, but a long time ago she lost the lead and never regained it. Additionally, she only can win the popular vote by counting both Florida and Michigan at one hundred percent, not fifty. Perhaps she’s still holding out for the next Jeremiah Wright. Perhaps she will leverage her advantage over Obama in the crucial states needed to win the general election. Who knows what she is up to? But like Bush, she remains committed to her cause against all odds.

Mike Wacker is The Sun’s Assistant Web Editor. He can be reached at mwacker@cornellsun.com.