Pushing Clinton From The Race

Article comes from DailyKOS written by KOS himself.

The Obama campaign may be planning ahead (something the Clinton campaign never thought of, apparently), but it's clear that they're also paving the way for a serious push to knock Clinton out of the race this week.

First off is the developing CW, from the very astute Charlie Cook:

NBC political analyst Charlie Cook writes in his CongressDaily column, "[W]inning by slight percentages in Texas and Ohio aren’t real wins for Clinton. A ‘win’ would be anything that significantly closes the gap in delegates. Symbolic victories mean nothing at this point, other than encouraging her to plow ahead in this campaign, amassing a greater campaign debt than already exists and delaying her ability to get on with the next phase of her life."...

The Clinton campaign will obviously do what she can to work the refs, but it's hard to overcome the math:
So -- under these most rosy of scenarios -- since March 4, she'll have earned 520 delegates to Barack Obama's 461, having reduced his earned delegate total by about 80 -- or -- by about 60 percent -- but he'll still have a lead of approximately 100 delegates in total... and be that much closer to 2025.

That "most rosy of scenarios" is well beyond the realm of possibilities (like Clinton winning 80 percent of the vote in Puerto Rico). And by the end of tonight, Obama will likely have extended his lead in pledged delegates or, at worst, lost a handful -- keeping him well ahead in the count.

So if the math is so unfavorable to Clinton, why is she still in? Because she's still hoping that a late surge will tip super delegates to her, while at the same time she forces the DNC to accept the tainted Michigan and Florida delegates. And since Obama can't reach an outright majority either, it really comes down to those supers. (Michigan and Florida won't matter unless they have revotes, and a competitive contest in each will split delegates and provide neither with the necessary boost to reach that majority.)

So what now?

If Clinton wins the popular vote in Texas and Ohio, she'll declare massive victory and claim it's a mandate to continue on.

But watch the delegate count. If Clinton doesn't make substantive gains on the race that matters -- the delegate race (remember, the Clinton campaign said it was all about delegates after Iowa) -- then there will be a major push from Obama and the party to shut this thing down.

Bill Richardson has already said the delegate leader after today should be the nominee (which by default is Obama, since Clinton couldn't possibly overtake him today). There's the Tom Brokaw announcement that Obama has 50 super delegates in his pocket, ready to announce post-election. And aren't you wondering why Obama's campaign hasn't announced its February fundraising numbers yet?

Expect Clinton to get the early media spin victory, but soon expect the hammer to fall -- 50 supers, a gazillion raised in February, and high-profile converts like Richardson will create intense pressure for Clinton to call it a day.

If she doesn't, she can continue running. It's a free country, and I like the thought of both campaigns building infrastructure in Pennsylvania. This primary season has done wonders for party building, and I'm under no hurry to shut it down. And Hillary's campaign can continue to play "Karl Rove" to Obama's effort. It's good practice for the shit Republicans will fling at Obama this fall. And if Obama can't handle the Clinton crap, how's he going to handle the McCain crap? So I'm cool with that as well.

But realistically, Hillary Clinton would be little more than our version of Mike Huckabee, nominally in the race, but everyone else having moved on.

Leaving the race after a long losing streak is tough and a bit humiliating. But if she leaves after winning a couple states, she leaves on a high note, magnanimously ceding the race to the better candidate running the far better campaign. She can claim the high ground, knowing she could've kept going, but suspending her effort in the interest of party unity.

I'm cool with either option. But only one allows Clinton to exit with her dignity fully intact.

Update:  I highly suggest you read this as well: "Hillary Has A Math Problem"