Cross-posted at The October Protocol.
Clinton, tonight, that is. Her camp's been sending out mixed signals all day, and the campaigns's message discipline has faltered as of late. (Which makes perfect sense. When the campaign ends, Ed Rendell will still be governor of Pennsylvania and Terry McAuliffe will still be Terry McAuliffe. Harold Ickes and Howard Wolfson are losing prime shots at sick White House status points. It's not hard to guess why they're sending the signals they are.)
Way I see it, she's got a couple of options.
1) She concedes and endorses. Most likely to happen if his supposed cache of superdelegates collectively informs her campaign this afternoon or evening. Against the advice of the most loyal, she congratulates Obama and ends the campaign. This last detail is important--she has the Nixonesque need to believe she's making the decision alone, in the best interests of something larger, and against the advice of those who are helplessly loyal.
2) More realistically, she "acknowledges" his lead in the pledged delegate race, but holds up the fallacious parallel of her (disputed) lead in that non-metrical metric, the popular vote. "He's leading in one metric, I am in the other." This will allow her to justify suspending, instead of ending, her campaign, and her non-endorsement of Obama. Sadly, this will mean that she needs an excuse to keep going--fundraising and paying off debt and all that--so she'll probably trot out her appeal of the MI/FL decision to the Credentials Committee and suggest that she's waiting for superdelegates to stab Obama by switching to her at the last minute. (Which, of course, they are technically free to do.)
3) She ignores Obama's passing the threshold, delcares Paul "General Bethlehem" Villarreal (my nickname, not his) her new campaign manager, and declares Stage III of the campaign: All Out War. On to Denver! You'll pry this nomination from my cold dead hands! Did you know Obama is a muslim crackhead who got head from a male hooker in the back of a limousine?
Throwing the coins in accordance with Protocol guidance reveals Option 2 as most likely. It's tough to give up the dream. She'll use any argument she has, no matter how tenuous. It seems obvious to most observers that, should she continue, her chances of wresting the nomination from Obama are tiny while those of torpedoing the party are huge. But ambition and isolation work strange effects on highly public figures whose power plays work out across vast canvasses. To succeed at the level Clinton has succeeded at requires a kind of doublethink, a comfort with cognitive dissonance: you've got to convince yourself first, even if all external indications point against you. I will be the nominee.
Before Clinton concedes to Obama, she'll have to concede to herself.