Today is Super Tuesday, I'm sure you know this by now, and the political world is in hyper-overdrive creating newer and bigger words to describe today.
There's only one problem. Well, actually, quite a few problems.
Tomorrow morning, barring an unforeseen but slightly possible Obama landslide, our top two candidates will, more than likely, wake up essentially tied. As I was working on this, my friend Chris Bowers wrote this -- it is a long copy block to borrow, but it was my point too and Chris wrote it first:
From this point, quick math shows that after Super Tuesday, only 1,428 pledged delegates will still be available. Now, here is where the problem shows up. According to current polling averages, the largest possible victory for either candidate on Super Tuesday will be Clinton 889 pledged delegates, to 799 pledged delegates for Obama. (In all likelihood, the winning margin will be lower than this, but using these numbers helps emphasize the seriousness of the situation.)
As such, the largest possible pledged delegate margin Clinton can have after Super Tuesday is 937 to 862. (While it is possible Obama will lead in pledged delegates after Super Tuesday, it does not currently seem possible for Obama to have a larger lead than 75). That leaves Clinton 1,088 pledged delegates from clinching the nomination, with only 1,428 pledged delegates remaining.
Thus, in order to win the nomination without the aid of super delegates, in her best-case scenario after Super Tuesday, Clinton would need to win 76.2% of all remaining pledged delegates. Given our proportional delegate system, there is simply no way that is going to happen unless Obama drops out.
Let's start with that last line -- "unless Obama drops out." Well, he just raised $32+million in January for goodness sakes, he has tens of millions out there to raise, he has Oprah as his wingwoman, he's not dropping out of anything.
Hillary raised considerably less, but what are the chances of her walking away if there still is the slightest chance? Zero. Less than zero. Hell would have to freeze over. Twice.
Does anyone see a case where either drops out if they still have a chance?
No, we can't.
So this leaves us in a curious state pending today's outcome. I think, to be honest, it will come as a bit of shock to some Obama supporters to wake up tomorrow morning and discover that a) the race must go on and potentially b) that Hillary still has the delegate lead.
As I write this on Monday night, I am struck that today, as far as I could see, like the Monday before New Hampshire that the Obama campaign did not play the expectations game today, they remain the underdog, with great momentum yes, but shouldn't they have tapped down the expectations game a bit?
I think so.
Here's what Matt Stoller wrote about what the Clinton Campaign was doing yesterday:
I'm on a conference call with Mark Penn and Howard Wolfson of the Clinton campaign, and they are emphasizing how this contest is going to go beyond Tuesday, and may go until the convention. Wolfson is discussing party rules and proportional representation, and says that these rules have trumped the intended front-loading of the primaries to pick a nominee early on.
They are preparing the media and their side for a long protracted fight at the same time the Obama Campaign is blissfully allowing the media to carry forth the 'Obamamania' narrative; it may feel good and look good but if we wake up tomorrow tied, the Clinton Campaign, again, will have smothered the Obama Campaign in the 'expectations' game.
Mercifully, unlike New Hampshire when Obama insiders were dismayed as the campaign pulled staff on Monday before the Tuesday primary, this time, there's no place to pull staffers to -- so that mistake can't be repeated.
As Chris pointed out above, it seems virtually impossible that the campaign will end until the last superdelegate is counted. And they're not counted until the convention, but before we go there, consider the other possible problems looming.
In Nevada, and other states I presume, the state convention can impact and alter the final delegates to the National Convention.
We still have the Michigan and Florida problem (Note to Obama supporters, you better have enough delegates to win with those counting for Hillary, trust me on this. In fact, lawyer up now.)
Some superdelegates seem to think they should vote as their state voted, others could care less. A few superdelegates could be replaced at state conventions that happen between now and the convention.
Speaking of which.
Here's where I will flashback to 2004 when the convention in Boston, like 2000 and 1996 and 1992, was essentially run by John Kerry. In fact, in early March 2004, I had the opportunity to sit in with Cam Kerry (John's brother) when he met with Terry McAuliffe at the DNC (Rodney Margol and Peter Maroney were there as well.) From that moment forward, the DNC was to a great extent an extension of the campaign.
The convention was not really the DNC's convention, it was the nominee's convention to a great extent, run by a Kerry guy, populated by Kerry people, we had the seats, the sky boxes, and we picked the speakers. Barack Obama's great speech? It happened because of John Kerry.
So who runs Denver if a nominee is not decided? The DNC? Howard Dean? Who picks the speakers? Who gets the seats? And plans the program? Who? I have no idea.
A few more convention problems.
The convention is at the end of August.
The healing and getting behind the candidate process started in March in 2004. And it took a while, especially those Deaniacs, bless them all, they had their Howard Dean signs up for months -- some may still have a couple of them hiding in the closest.
But eventually, the Kerry Campaign benefited greatly from bringing the best of the best from the other campaigns in; Miles Lackey from the Edwards Campaign, Karen Hicks from the Dean Campaign (on staff at the DNC I might add) Steve Elmendorf from the Gephardt Campaign and on and on and on. It is a necessary process in order to staff up and ramp up to a national level.
Ramping up, like the healing process, doesn't happen overnight. It takes months, too.
So if on September 1, we just have a nominee, and no vice president selected, it will be 90 days of hell and the losing campaign will have to be shutting down in September as the race heats up -- heck, it will be less than three weeks to the first General Election debate.
So what happens?
One candidate must get closer faster and the candidate with the lesser chance at the convention must be willing to accept the VP role. Honestly, it's as simple as that.
Will that happen? I have no idea, but then again, I had no idea the South Dakota primary in June was going to count either.
P.S. - If there ever was an primary where every vote counted, it's this one - please remember to vote today.