Of superdelegates and respectI have to hand it to my friend and fellow blogger Fabian Story, who called the races in Texas and Ohio last night nearly a week before the vote. Fabian went on to predict that Barack Obama would win the Texas Democratic Caucus, but not by the large numbers that we've seen in the other caucuses where he has managed to organize so successfully. Only 37% of precincts are reporting caucus results-but of those that have reported, Barack Obama only leads by four percentage points (52-48). That kind of result won't give Obama the large delegate haul from the Caucus that would be needed to thwart Hillary Clinton's newfound Texas momentum.
There are other ways for Obama to bridge the momentum gap, and the first would be a win in Wyoming in three days, followed by a victory in the Mississippi Primary next Tuesday. If Obama can win these primaries and maintain the delegate lead that he still holds (if only slightly) he will likely drive the nomination process to the Democratic National Convention in Denver. If there is no clear leader, however, the superdelegates will then become a legitimate factor, and it may be very hard for those people to justify swinging the nomination to Barack Obama if Hillary Clinton has won every large State that has voted. I don't think that either Clinton or Obama will win the Democratic nomination on the first ballot at this point, unless Hillary wins a few States where she is currently not projected to do well.
It is quite possible that the superdelegates may actually prove to be necessary in the convention process for the Democrats if neither candidate can win enough pledged delegates to clinch the nomination. If that proves to be the case, history will likely record that it was the State of Pennsylvania that decided the Democratic nomination in 2008. If Hillary Clinton wins in Pennsylvania, and other States between now and the Democratic Convention in Denver play out as predicted, the superdelegates may very well throw the nomination to Hillary. If Barack Obama can pull off a surprise victory in Pennsylvania (something he has plenty of time to do) and hold all of the remaining States where he is either favored or is expected to win, he may be able to win the nomination. Unless Clinton pulls off some unexpected victories-certainly not impossible for the Clintons-the Democrats will likely have a brokered convention.
John McCain clinched the Republican nomination yesterday, a source of disappointment and exasperation for many conservatives, including yours truly. I will say that McCain's victory speech was both magnanimous and well-spoken. I wish I felt that our nominee could be trusted to do the things he so proudly proclaims when he speaks.
The highlight of the night in my mind was not a victory speech, but one of the most moving concession speeches by a candidate that I have ever heard.
Mike Huckabee stayed in this race until the very last-he did not bow out until he was certain that he had lost, and he didn't give up when others told him that all was lost, he fought all the way until there was no fight left. Governor Huckabee did not begin this campaign with my admiration or my respect. Through the course of this race, he managed to do what few political candidates that I decide I don't care for have ever done-he earned my admiration and respect, and he did so in spades. I was unsure when I went to the polls on February 5th what to do, but now I am proud of the vote that I cast, and I would do it all over again-and perhaps one of these days, I will have that opportunity.
Labels: Presidential Election