January 7, 2008

Don't Buy This For A Second

Contrary to what Drudge is reporting, Hillary Clinton will not drop out of the race tomorrow, even if she is decisively beaten. She’ll be in it until February 5. She didn’t raise all that money for nothing, she’s not a quitter, and she’d be very far from out of contention.

Why do I say that? First recall that the primaries are about getting delegates, not just momentum and favorable press stories. Second, remember that these are Democrats we’re talking about, not Republicans. For the Democrats, about three-quarters of the delegates are awarded proportionally by the primaries and caucuses, and the rest (nearly a quarter) are party elites, who tend to favor her over Obama.

She’s already way ahead of Obama in lining up superdelegate commitments. If she can round up more superdelegates than Obama through inside politics and calling in chips that she and President Bill have to cash in, she would only need to get about 40% of the elected delegates to clinch the nomination. That’s just a little bit more than one-third of the vote, which is well within the realm of possibility (especially if Edwards drops out in the next week or so for lack of funding).

That isn’t particularly small-“D” democratic, I know. But this is about politics, not collegiate-level political theory.

UPDATE: Jay Cost at HorseRaceBlog is right with me on this theory. He fleshes it out in much greater detail than I do, although (modestly) I note that I was first.

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