Does Hillary Clinton have an endgame?
by kmwray, Mon May 05, 2008 at 10:53:17 AM EDT
On June 4, 2008, the primaries and caucuses will have ended.
If HRC gets 55% of the remaining 404 delegates, she will have 1562 pledged delegates. Barack Obama will have 1672 pledged delegates.
269 Superdelegates have pledged to support Clinton; 249 have pledged to support Obama.
If no other Superdelegates commit, Obama has 1921 delegates and Clinton has 1831.
Put another way, Obama will need 103.5 delegates to seal the nomination and Clinton will need 193.5.
HRC has three options on June 5
First, she can press the remaining Superdelegates to give her the nod. Its a hard sell but not impossible. What is she up against here? Well, she's been bleeding these delegates for months now and Obama has been succesful in closing the gap. Furthermoe, she will need an argument that will beat more democratically elected delegates, more states and more votes for Obama. (While its possible she could get more votes, its impossible for her to overcome the first two).
My guess is a combination of demographics, polling, states put in play by her nomination and what states become strongly Democratic as a result will be the crux of her argument.
Second, she can take the fight to the convention. To make this strategy work, she needs to keep Superdelegates from committing. While we are all aware that Superdelegates have not voted and will not vote until after the pledged delegates have, it is worth noting that while Obama needs 41% of uncommitted Supers, Clinton needs 78% --- thus stopping Supers from announcing becomes critical between June 4 and the end of August. In addition, Clinton needs to find pledged Obama delegates that could be swayed to switch sides after the first vote. And, she will need to spin this to the media and the public as something other than an anti-democratic move and power grab. In her favor, she can argue neither candidate has a majority of elected delegates so this is essentially a run-off.
In the first two options, Clinton will need to keep Florida and Michigan out of play. If you go by the results of Florida (where Clinton won handily), the delegate breakdown would give Clinton a 38 vote edge or 112 delegates to 73 delegates for Obama. Michigan creates more problems, which if you just go by the vote tally would give Clinton 73 delegates and Obama 55 delegates. If Obama is going to be short 103 delegates, give or take, Florida puts him 30 delgates short and Michigan puts him over the top. You may have noticed Clinton stopped talking about Florida and Michigan's delegates. Why? They are death to her, until after a first round of voting at the convention.
The first option is the equivaklent of herding cats; the second is like juggling chainsaws on a tightrope over a pit of molten lava.
The third option is to concede and cut herself a deal. A few cabinet posts, heads of key agencies, etc filled by Clinton loyalists, get the judges you want in NY and on the Courts of Appeal. Ambassadorships.
Before I am flamed, attacked, vilified, burned in effigy; be the political scientists and activists you all are. How does she get it done tactically. Whats her gameplan? I say this because, I am convinced her plan was to win the whole thing within a day or two of February 5, 2008 (the fundraising fiasco on her campaign's part kind of makes this likely. She expected it to be done in early Feb, so raising money was back-burnered for other priorities) and little or no thought was given to what happens if Clinton not close the deal. For the record, neither candiate can close the deal at this point (Actually, its been mathematically improbable since late February)
Anyway, if I were Clinton, here would be my strategy. I strongly encourage those with opinions to respond with a plan or strategy rather than attacking the math or me. (I've got two ex-wives so you won't be original)
1. Pick a VP on June 3 and challenge Obama to do the same. This helps the argument that neither candidate has enough pledged delegates and that all the Superdelegates should consider the potential tickets before committing.
2. Get a head to head poll done for all the swing states versus McCain.
3. Meet with Dean. Florida and Michigan delegates should be seated as uncommitted and without voting privileges for the first vote.
4. Play the party uniter. Chastise the blogs and the vitriol of over-enthusiastic supporters. Attack the attackers. Play the "If you can't support Obama don't support me" card (Obama will respond in kind)
5. Start in on McCain. Dovetail into number 4. "Senator Obama and I oppose the Bush McCain plan to..."
Please, I'd like your input. How can she close this? I think picking a VP makes this doable. Yes, I support Obama. (Voted for him, vulteered for him and gave him money) Do I support Clinton as the nominee, if she gets it. F--- Yeah!