The After-Math: Obama Will Be Less Than 100 Delegates from the Nomination

05/25/2011 12:30 pm ET

On June 4, 2008, Barack Obama will be less than 100 delegates from wrapping up the nomination. That assumes he gets 50% of the North Carolina, Indiana and Guam delegates, takes only 45% of the remaining 217, and no other superdelegates (SDs) declare between now and then.

Today's unpledged SD count varies, but approximately 290-295 have yet to declare.

That means that Barack Obama would need ~33% of the unpledged SDs to nail it. Even after Super Tuesday on February 5, and since Hillary's victories in Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania, almost all the superdelegates have supported Obama.

The Clintons, therefore, must overcome 2 major hurdles. The first is that the SDs scrap Party rules to accommodate the Clinton's victory definition de jour. The second is that more than two-thirds of the remaining unpledged SDs buy their argument. Every additional SD that declares for Obama between now and June 4th makes the Clintons' hurdles even higher.

So, as originally suggested on March 14, 2008 ("A Primal Scream to Superdelegates: Don't Fiddle While the Progressive Movement Burns, There Is No Reason to Delay"), what in the name of Franklin Delano Roosevelt are the superdelegates waiting for? The Clintons' major argument to unpledged SDs is that Obama cannot (or will not) win the general election.

But Bill Clinton himself has shot down that argument as a rationale for denying the nomination to the person who has otherwise won it. Trying to assuage concerns that the protracted fight reduces the chances for the nominee to beat McCain, he pointed out that he himself was in third place (behind Bush Sr and Ross Perot) in 1992 at the time of the Democratic Convention.

Did anyone suggest that Governor Bill Clinton should not get the 1992 nomination because of those polls?

Right now, the polls (NBCNews-WSJ) show Obama doing better than Hillary against McCain. But, even if they showed Hillary doing better, as one recently did, Bill Clinton's argument and his victory suggests that such considerations are irrelevant anyhow.

Other than the results of the primaries, then, what is it that the SDs ought to consider in making their choices?

Today, we finally had a voice of reason. Joseph Andrew, former DNC Chairman under Bill Clinton, and former Hillary Clinton superdelegate, switched to Obama.

He recognized the "after-math".