A little after 1AM last night, the networks that weren’t CBS called Indiana for Hillary. It was a dramatic evening for those interested in putting states in one column or another, but the real news (or lack of it) was just how close it was. As Chuck Todd started to remind viewers when yesterday became today, “We’re doing all this for one delegate.”
And that one delegate could have gone either way — the larger math problem would still be almost impossible for Clinton to solve, even using the imaginary numbers out of Michigan and Florida.
Todd points out this morning that Obama now leads Clinton in the popular vote by 700,000 without those states, with them, his lead is cut to 90,947. A conservative estimate of how the remaining contests could give Clinton a narrow popular vote victory (97,500), but considering the enormous turn-out this cycle has generated, “it’s just as likely with a bigger than expected win for Obama in Oregon that he can actually win the popular vote even with netting ZERO votes out of Michigan.”
The delegate math is even more grim for those in Hillaryland: Okay, seat Florida and Michigan and give Obama Michigan’s uncommitted delegates. Hillary nets 50. Figure that into the pledged delegate total and Obama still leads by over 100 delegates. Todd again: “For Clinton to overtake him in the pledged delegate lead using THEIR math on Florida and Michigan, she’d need to win 75% of all remaining delegates. That’s an impossible task.” (What’s more, it seems unlikely that Florida and Michigan will get seated.)
And yet it’s difficult to imagine Hillary dropping out any time soon. AP reports that she has loaned herself another chunk of money — $6.4M — which, if nothing else, suggests that she needs to stay in for the cash infusion that usually follow victories… of which she will likely have two more in the coming weeks. Though Kentucky and West Virginia are already expected to go for Hillary, the mere fact of these victories seems to rule out a graceful exit before they happen.
SHOULD she get out? Over the past few weeks, I’ve become increasingly annoyed with the pundits who have been all but pulling her physically off the stage. She is not Huckabee, she’s not straggling behind with some kind of symbolic support. Almost half the Democrats in primary states want to vote for her, and I at least think that the excitement that the race is generating is good for the party. Those enormous turn-out numbers are good for the party. I don’t understand why she’s continuing to run (veep? really? really???), but she’s clearly the first choice for many Americans and they deserve to have their voices represented for as long as Clinton feels like spending her own money to do it.