For the past several days, the Clinton campaign has been clamoring for a re-vote in the delegate-rich states of Florida and Michigan. The poor judgment of the leadership in these states to move their primaries before February 5th and be stripped of their delegates, the argument goes, should not be held against the people. Their voices should be heard and their votes counted.
Of course, the Clintons haven't been quite as keen on democracy when it comes to pledged versus superdelegates. But trailing now by over 150 pledged delegates and 100 total delegates with just over 600 left to divvy up, this strategy, on the surface, seems to make sense for Hillary Clinton. After all, Florida and Michigan are big states, she "won" them both originally, and would be favored in a do-over.
However, looking a little closer, there is actually a compelling case for the Obama campaign to agree to the Clintons' request. If Michigan and Florida are put back in play, it turns out, it will actually speed up Barack Obama's victory. Instead of going all the way to the Democratic Convention in August (where it could get ugly and complicated), Barack Obama could secure the nomination by May 20th. Here's how:
According to RealClearPolitics, Barack Obama currently has 1,573 total delegates to 1,464 for Hillary Clinton. Add in Michigan (128) and Florida (185) and suddenly 313 more delegates are up for grabs. Let's say Hillary wins both of these states by 12-point margins, 56-44. This will give her approximately 165 delegates to 148 for Barack Obama, a net gain of 17.
That puts Barack Obama at 1,721 to 1,629 for Hillary Clinton.
Now, word is circulating in the press that 50 pledged delegates are going to come out for Barack Obama by the end of this week so if we add those in that puts him at approximately 1,771.
That's when the remaining states come in. Here are my modest approximations for the states holding primaries and caucuses up to May 20th:
Wyoming: 12 delegates (8 for Obama, 4 for Clinton)
Mississippi: 33 delegates (20 for Obama, 13 for Clinton)
Pennsylvania: 158 delegates (74 for Obama, 84 for Clinton)
Guam: 4 delegates (3 for Obama, 1 for Clinton)
Indiana: 72 delegates (36 for Obama, 36 for Clinton)
North Carolina: 115 delegates (65 for Obama, 50 for Clinton)
West Virginia: 28 delegates (13 for Obama, 15 for Clinton)
Kentucky: 51 delegates (24 for Obama, 27 for Clinton)
Oregon: 52 delegates (30 for Obama, 22 for Clinton)
And the grand total is...
Barack Obama: 2,034 (reaches the 2,025 threshold and wins the nomination)
Hillary Clinton: 1,881
Of course, the more superdelegates start jumping to Obama (which has been the trend since February 5th), the sooner he can wrap up the nomination. It is not farfetched at all to believe he could be the presumptive nominee by May 6th.
So send the memo to the Obama campaign: Give in to Hillary's demand. Let Florida and Michigan re-vote. It only speeds up the path to the magic number.
Well, apparently my analysis is somewhat flawed. The 2,025 threshold, according to some sources, would increase to 2,208 with Michigan and Florida, though this hasn't been officially confirmed by the DNC and likely won't be until they set the new ground rules with the re-votes for these states.
Bottom line: I think this will be over by May one way or the other, particularly if Obama is able to do better than expected in Michigan, Florida and/or Pennsylvania.
Bottom line 2: If Hillary Clinton had any regard for the party above herself, she would drop out when the math becomes impossible to overcome (ie if she doesn't win Pennsylvania 85-15).
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