Democratic Nominee Will Not Be Decided Tonight, Maybe Not Ever

03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

We hate to be the ones to suggest that the "Super"-ness of this Tuesday may be exaggerated, but as you probably already know, the Democratic nominee will not be crowned tonight. Also: maybe not ever! Which means the media's diabolical plans for more debates could come to fruition. And all of this is backed up by the most powerful and inscrutable force in the universe: math. Allow Chris Bowers from Open Left to explain:

...quick math shows that after Super Tuesday, only 1,428 pledged delegates will still be available. Now, here is where the problem shows up. According to current polling averages, the largest possible victory for either candidate on Super Tuesday will be Clinton 889 pledged delegates, to 799 pledged delegates for Obama. (In all likelihood, the winning margin will be lower than this, but using these numbers helps emphasize the seriousness of the situation.) As such, the largest possible pledged delegate margin Clinton can have after Super Tuesday is 937 to 862. (While it is possible Obama will lead in pledged delegates after Super Tuesday, it does not currently seem possible for Obama to have a larger lead than 75). That leaves Clinton 1,088 pledged delegates from clinching the nomination, with only 1,428 pledged delegates remaining.

That means Clinton, in this example, would have to pull in 76.2% of the remaining delegates to secure the nomination outright, and with more and more people Knowing Hope and deciding that Yes They Can, that would seem to be a near impossible task.

What does that mean? Well if both candidates fail to secure the necessary number delegates, the nominee will be decided by the superdelegates. And while Clinton currently leads in the superdelegate race, she doesn't currently have enough of them to win the nomination, either, and even those that are currently committed to her could be begged, borrowed, or cajoled to the other camp. And vice versa. So, VOTE ALL YOU WANT, AMERICA, because it probably won't count. By contrast, if we take Candy Crowley at her word when she describes the Obama strategy as one in which he'll attempt to "suck off enough delegates," it looks like this is going to be a good year to be a superdelegate.

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