May 17, 2008

Clinch Within Reach?

Sufficient numbers of superdelegates, and sufficient stopgap proportional results from other states trickling in, and maybe even the Edwards endorsement, places the idea of BHO clinching the Democratic nomination before going in to the convention within the realm of realistic possibilities.

As I count the delegates -- bootstrapping from Democratic Convention Watch, which has a name-by-name list of superdelegate endorsements, unmatched for accuracy or thoroughness anywhere else -- BHO is 112 delegates short of the magic number, 2,025. There are still 188 delegates up for grabs in the few remaining primaries and caucuses. That means BHO needs to get about 60% of them. If he can, that's a lock -- assuming Michigan and Florida are not seated at all.

While I don't think he can win Kentucky, he should be doing well in Oregon, by a margin that would about offset HRC's anticipated win Tuesday in the Bluegrass State. That would basically leave it to Puerto Rico (a caucus, where he does well) and Montana and South Dakota (sparsely-populated western states, where he also does well).

What's more, while the elections and caucuses are the highest-profile delegate pickups, there are also state party conventions. Additional delegates are being allocated this weekend in Kansas, Colorado, Washington, Nevada, and California, and more will be allocated in Alaska and Wyoming next weekend, and still more from Maine the weekend after that. BHO needs 112 delegates, period, whether they are superdelegates, delegates pledged out of state conventions, delegates who talk their way out of caucuses, or earning slates at the polls. If the eight conventions over the next fifteen days throw enough support his way, BHO may only need to eke out a bare win over HRC in the remaining primaries.

And align his interests with the DNC to enforce the Super Tuesday rule by keeping Michigan and Florida's delegates unrecognized. If he can do that, he's got he nomination clinched and the Democrats will be spared the first-in-a-generation spectacle of a brokered convention.

It's still a fight for him and he'll have to earn it. But for the first time since the Iowa caucus, it's starting to look like the Democrats can get things locked up in time to have a coronation -- it's just not the coronation I thought they'd be doing when I branded the Democratic primary "uninteresting" six months ago. Well, that's why they call it "politics" instead of "a sure thing."

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