End Game

Ever since the Obama campaign decided to walk back its intention to "declare victory" on May 20 having won the majority -- according to the metric of the moment at least -- of pledged delegates, they've been remarkably measured in their tone regarding the nomination fight and Hillary Clinton's candidacy. Sure there may have been a slight shift in tense when discussing Clinton's campaign, from present to past, but both Obama and David Axelrod, when asked about prospective VP choices or about Clinton's staying in the race, have been very respectful, refusing to suggest that she should drop out and even refusing to lay claim to presumptive nominee title.

Expect that to change dramatically next week.

Obama's aides said Monday the freshman senator is "now just 49 delegates away" from clinching the nomination and making history as the first African-American Democratic nominee for President.

"We're very close now," David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist, told the Daily News. "When the primaries end, I think, we'll be where we need to be. ... We'll be at the number we need to claim the nomination."

According to DemConWatch, the current delegate tallies are Obama: 1977, Clinton: 1779 and the current threshold to win is 2025. After Puerto Rico votes on Sunday and then Montana and South Dakota vote on Tuesday, the candidates' delegate tallies, using the Obama projected delegate spreadsheet to estimate, will rise to around Obama: 2019, Clinton: 1823. But this tally ignores Florida and Michigan, whose delegations may be seated in some form as a result of Saturday's DNC RBC meeting. In that case, both the number of delegates each candidate has won as well as the threshold each needs to clinch the nomination will rise even higher. It's clear that no matter how Saturday goes, the Obama campaign is confident -- or at least they're projecting confidence -- that they will be ready to declare victory after Tuesday's votes thanks to that famous cache of supers who, up til now, have been reluctant to declare publicly their preference.

From Marc Ambinder.

Neither the Clinton nor the Obama campaign is clear what the DNC's rules and bylaws committee will do on May 31; depending upon how or whether they re-allocate delegates, Obama could wind up within to 20 to 30 votes of the nomination -- a situation rectifiable by a piddling performance in Puerto RIco, South Dakota and Montana -- or more than 100 delegates short, requiring solid performances in those states plus a few dozen superdelegate endorsements to put him over the top.

To prepare for that eventuality, the Obama campaign has, for the first time, really, begun to bank delegates. Sources close to the campaign estimate that as many as three dozen Democratic superdelegates have privately pledged to announce their support for Obama on June 4 or 5. The campaign is determined that Obama not end the first week in June without securing the support of delegates numbering 2026 -- or 2210, as the case may be.

In other words, it looks as though the popular vote appeals of the Clinton campaign that are likely to ramp up in earnest during the final two days of the campaign in the wake of the Rules & Bylaws Committee's ruling and a likely strong finish for Clinton in Puerto Rico, may largely wind up falling on deaf ears. The question is, will the popular vote argument end up having been the rationale for Clintons' staying in the race until the final vote has been cast -- something all proponents of counting every vote AND the 50-state strategy should be supportive of -- or will it be used to launch a larger fight beyond the first week of June, destination: Denver? Once Barack Obama passes the FL & MI-inclusive threshold of delegates and declares victory, as it will then be his right to do, it's my hope and expectation that Hillary Clinton will concede graciously. The last thing any of us should want is for one candidate to declare victory while the other insists it's not over. So far, we have been spared such a scenario and I really hope we won't be confronted with one like it. I suspect Hillary Clinton's VP chances and her post-2008 primary reputation depend on it.

Update [2008-5-27 20:14:24 by Todd Beeton]:Let me reiterate my feeling that Hillary Clinton's advancing a popular vote argument is a perfectly valid strategy since this thing is being decided by superdelegates; to the extent that she can convince them that she has in fact earned more votes and would be the better nominee against McCain in the fall, she should try to do so with all her might. But in the event that superdelegates, having seen the final vote tally and having heard Clinton's appeals, still decide in Barack's favor, we, and Clinton herself, it seems to me, should respect their decision, not defy it.

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The Lying, Cheating Wing of the Democratic party

Update [2008-5-27 16:25:2 by catchaz]: this diary is NOT aimed at the fair-minded supporters of Hillary Clinton. it is NOT a call for her to drop out. it IS an indictment of the dishonest nature of almost all arguments about dlegates and popular vote.

The Lying, Cheating wing of the Democratic party is still out there, in full swing. Lanny Davis is out there, lying openly about what's "fair" in Florida and Michigan.  To him, what fair is to give Clinton almost all the delegates, and the nomination.

The lying cheating math-abusing wing is also out there. they are the ones who say there are several different "metrics" in counting popular votes. again, what they basically want is to count the votes of those who voted for Clinton, but not those who voted for Obama.

Most disgusting is that these liars and cheaters, along with their racist friends, are now "threatening" to leave the party if their lying cheating candidate, Hillary Clinton, is not GIVEN the nomination she failed to win despite all the advantages an establishment insider could ever dream of.

Leave already! the damage these DLC types have done to our party, and thus our nation, over the last decades is monumental. Yes, in the 90's Bill Clinton gave us good court appointments. and the courts are to me the most important branch of the government, so that's no small thing. but because of their hideous policies and politics we have now lost what gains we made on the courts, and lost everything else.
Finally, after the Clinton-led party lost the Congress it had held for 40 years, and lost 2 straight presidential elections, Democrats won in 2006 by being proud Democrats.

So it's way past time we stop "courting" these DLC sellouts and their lying cheating candidates, from Lieberman to Clinton, and turn this party back into a party that cares about the people, not the power.

Hillary Clinton has done everything she could do to thwart the will of the Democratic voters. She's done it OPENLY, with not even a hint of shame at the dishonesty and cheating she is openly espousing. she does not deserve our support, she damn sure doesn't need our money to pay her debts, and she damn sure doesn't belong anywhere NEAR the Democratic ticket in 2008.

CHANGE is what we need. Change from the Bush ReThugs, and change from the Clinton DLC Dems.

PLEASE call or write or e-mail Senator Obama's campaign and tell him to say NO, THANKS, to the ridiculous idea of putting Clinton on the ticket. she could only help the ReThugs, as she's doing now.

It is time to get our party past the ReThug-lite era of Clintonism, and on to a PROGRESSIVE future. the Clintonites are NOT EVER going to be on board for that. so let's quit wasting our time and MOVE ON to those Americans who still care about building a progressive future for their country and our party.

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Want To Attend The DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee Meeting?

The DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee will be meeting this Saturday, May 31st, at 9:30am at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC to address the matter of the seating of the Florida and Michigan delegations. The meeting is open to the public and pre-registration is highly recommended. To reserve your spot, you can pre-register at the DNC website beginning Tuesday, May 27, at 10am EDT.

Some details:

  • Guest credentials are limited to one (1) per person.
  • A confirmation message will be sent to the e-mail address indicated on the registration form. You must bring this confirmation e-mail, along with a photo ID, in order to pick up your guest credential.
  • Credentials must be picked up at registration tables located outside the meeting room between 8:00-9:30AM on May 31st in order to guarantee a seat.
  • If you are unable to pre-register, limited same day registration will be available.
  • Banners, posters, signs, handouts, and noisemakers of any kind are strictly prohibited.
  • The agenda for the meeting does not include time for questions from the general public.

Talk Left has a list of all the members of the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee and whom they support. Jeralyn's summary:

The tally: Hillary has 13 supporters, Obama 8; and 7, in addition to the 2 co-chairs, have not yet endorsed. The member from Florida is an Obama supporter. One of the co-chairs, Alexis Herman, was one of Bill Clinton's cabinet members.

In spite of this, I don't know anyone who expects Hillary Clinton to get everything she wants out of Saturday's meeting, although it's been widely suggested that some compromise will come out of it.

Anyone intending to go?

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Along the Oregon Trail

*a little late, since the OR primary was last week - but still wanted to write about it*

"I wish everyone saw her like I did - I Love Hillary" - comment from Jen, young woman in Portland Starbucks*

My day started out very early on Saturday, May 17th when I caught a 6:30am flight to Portland with my fellow Hillstar supporter, Chris.

At the Portland baggage claim area, we ran into Dolores Huertas, the sister of Ceasar Chavez and past leader of the united migrant farm workers union, a huge Hillary Supporter. She was there working on Hillary's campaign. As we were talking to her, who should walk by but Chelsea Clinton!!

Chris said "Chelsea?" She turned to us and came over and said "Hi  - I like your outfit" (we both had on our Hillary T-shirts).  I gave her a hug and kiss, we asked her "What are you doing?" She replied "I'm not sure, I'm suppose to go to Planned Parenthood and then to a triathalon to greet them as the come through the finish line." She looked a little tired, her shirt was rumpled, hair a bit messy and she had a large starbucks coffee in her hand. "So, what are you doing?" she asked us and we told her we weren't sure either, but we were heading into the Portland office to see what needed to be done. "Oh, that's great" she said and we said our good-byes and that we would probably all see each other later.

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Bill Clinton on Disrespect Towards Hillary

Finally.  I am relieved and grateful that one of the Clintons is vocally fighting back against the widespread hostility and disrespect aimed at Hillary Clinton, the presidential candidate for whom more people have voted than any other presidential primary candidate in history.

As reported by ABC News:

Former President Bill Clinton in South Dakota today delivered a harsh critique of how his wife has been treated during her presidential bid, telling the crowd that he has "never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running," and that, "she will win the general election if you nominate her. They're just trying to make sure you don't."

Clinton spent more than six minutes calmly discussing what he called a "frantic effort to push her out" of this race, saying that no one asked Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson or Gary Hart to end their presidential campaigns early.

Well, what about that?

Why are Obama and his backers and the mainstream media so afraid?  Why are they acting terrified of Hillary Clinton?  Maybe because she leads in the popular vote, the electoral math, and the national polls?  Even though the mass media are trying desperately to make her invisible?

The rest of the story from ABC is valuable reading:

President Clinton also spoke against bullying superdelegates to make up their minds, saying, "I cant believe it. It is just frantic the way they are trying to push and pressure and bully all these superdelegates to come out. 'Oh, this is so terrible: The people they want her. Oh, this is so terrible: She is winning the general election, and he is not. Oh my goodness, we have to cover this up.'"

Speaking to a crowd of about 200 in Fort Thompson, S.D., Clinton seemed slightly subdued during his 30-minute speech, which largely focused on the issues important to the Native American community.  As he wrapped up his remarks, a woman in the audience asked him a question about voting for Hillary Clinton.  

"If you vote for her and she does well in Montana and she does well in Puerto Rico, when this is over she will be ahead in the popular vote," Clinton said. "And they're trying to get her to cry uncle before the Democratic Party has to decide what to do in Florida and Michigan because they are claiming that it only takes 2029 votes on the first ballot to win, and it takes a lot more than that if you put Florida and Michigan back in. Well, they will have to unless we want to lose the election. I mean, look, so there is that that is going on."

The former president was strong in his assertion that his wife has the best chance to win against Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, arguing that many electoral map predictions have his wife winning more electoral votes than Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., the Democratic frontrunner, in a general election.

"She is winning the general election today and he is not, according to all the evidence," Clinton said. "And I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running. Her only position was, "Look, if I lose I'll be a good team player. We will all try to win but let's let everybody vote and count every vote.'"

Clinton also strongly criticized the media, saying that ever since Iowa they have been against his wife, making him feel as though he was living in a "fun house." As he concluded his thoughts on how this election has been handled, he again went back to the media's choice of coverage.  

"If you notice, there hasn't been a lot of publicity on these polls I just told you about," Clinton said. "It is the first time you've heard it? Why do you think that is? Why do you think?  Don't you think if the polls were the reverse and he was winning the electoral college against Sen. McCain and Hillary was losing it, it would be blasted on every television station? You would know it wouldn't you? It wouldn't be a little secret. And there is another Electoral College poll that I saw yesterday had her over 300 electoral votes, yeah. She will win the general election if you nominate her. They're just trying to make sure you don't."

Bill Clinton is correct, and it sounds to me like we're going to the convention.  And why not?  Neither candidate will reach the  number of pledged delegates required before then to secure the nomination, and Hillary Clinton has the mandate of the people behind her.  By at least two metrics, she is leading in the popular vote, and GE polls consistently indicate that she is the stronger candidate against John McCain.

As for party unity, the disrespect aimed at Hillary Clinton only worsens the backlash effect already underway among Hillary Democrats. When she's attacked, her supporters feel attacked, and it's a horrible mistake to assume that Hillary Democrats will rally 'round Obama once she's been kicked aside.  Not going to happen, not in a million years.

Note:  emphasis added in blockquotes.

Cross posted at TexasDarlin

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