We generally shy away from discussing politics here - to paraphrase Michael Jordan, Republicans read blogs too - but I wanted to briefly discuss today's Democratic primary in Pennsylvania, which may well be a turning point in this year's presidential election. Senator Clinton is expected to win the raw vote totals (I've seen as high as a ten-point advantage for her in late polls), but because of the way the delegates are proportionally awarded, Clinton is unlikely to notch a marginal gain of much more than ten delegates.
But Obama's lead in pledged delegates is 160, so even a solid win by Clinton would leave him with a 150-delegate lead, with only a handful of states to go. The bottom line is that Clinton is enormously unlikely to make up the difference in pledged delegates. She would need a whopping victory among the so-called superdelegates - mostly Democratic officeholders - to even have a chance at the nomination.
It's an awfully long shot. I have seen the estimates for a Clinton victory pegged at anywhere from 10 to 30 percent; let us say for the sake of argument that she has a 15 percent chance to win the nomination. For that to happen, more than likely, Obama will have won the Democratic popular vote, only to have the people's decision overturned by party bosses. And at that point, Senator Clinton will have spent several months attacking Obama (and by extension his supporters). Democratic turnout has been huge, you know, and I have to think that most of the first-timers - whether they're young people newly given the franchise or folks who were heretofore apolitical - break overwhelmingly for Obama.
If Senator Clinton is going to have any chance against Senator McCain in the general election, she's going to need all those Obama supporters in her column. Downing shots of Crown Royal (wasn't there anyone on her staff who could tell her to go with the Ten High?) isn't going to be enough to win them back.
Because of these things, my sense is that Senator Clinton would be a decided underdog in the general election. If she has a 15 percent chance to win the nomination, that would drop to a 5 percent chance to actually become president. And for that one in twenty shot, she's doing untold harm to the Democratic party, and its ability to win what really should be a gimme presidential election after eight years of Republican misrule.
There's a time to fight the good fight. There's also a time to recognize that the good fight is different from the fight you're actually fighting. That time is now, Senator Clinton.