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Monday, June 2, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Clinton seeks to go after Obama superdelegates

The former first lady enters this week with an insurgent strategy not only to win over undecided superdelegates but to peel away Obama’s support from those party leaders and elected officials who already have committed to back him for the nomination.

“One thing about superdelegates is that they can change their minds,” she told reporters aboard her campaign plane Sunday night.

Quite true. And as James Joyner correctly notes:

After all, plenty of former Hillary superdelegates are now “committed” to Obama.

Like James, I find it more than unlikely (he uses the word “unfathomable”) that any superdelegates currently pledged to Obama will switch to Clinton. What would be the reason? Clearly the Clinton campaign is still deluding itself into thinking that it has a strong “electability” argument to make.

At the moment, Obama’s “magic number” (based on the AP’s estimates) is 45. There are 31 delegates up for grabs in elections on Tuesday, and he won’t get all of those anyway. Still, he is likely to need only around 20 or so superdelegates to put him over the top. It seems rather likely that he will be able to produce at least that many by Tuesday night and be able to declare himself the winner, and the press will concur.

Further, Obama’s quest will really be for less than 20 superdelegates, as we already know that some of the uncommitteed superdelegates (e.g., Nancy Pelosi and Jimmy Carter) have already publicly stated that they will support the delegate leader when the primaries are done, and that will be Obama). Indeed, there are (according to the Politico) 160 uncommitted superdelegates at the moment, meaning there are plenty for Obama to choose from to find the needed numbers this week.

John Cole may well be spot-on when he predicts that the Clintons will fight to the bitter, ugly end. Regardless of that fact, however, she has no chance of being the nominee.1 Part of me thinks that Cole is right, that the fight will continue past this week, yet part/much of me thinks that the Clintons are smart enough political operatives to know that at some point that they need to quit to salvage their own political power going forward. Indeed, I lean towards the latter as the more likely scenario. At some point it will become clear that it is impossible to get the needed delegate numbers, and they will quit.

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  1. With the caveat that a meteor could hit Obama or somesuch. []
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Filed under: 2008 Campaign, US Politics | |


  • el
  • pt
    1. And there is a really fundamental problem with the “electability” argument. Even if it were true on purely objective criteria that she has the ability to win more electoral votes than he has, would that still be true after she had taken the nomination by reversing the outcome of the public phase of the process? Clearly not.

      (I am not arguing it would be “illegitimate.” Clearly the rules permit such an outcome. But the political context would change dramatically.)

      Comment by MSS — Monday, June 2, 2024 @ 11:00 am

    2. I’m with Cole. I’m betting she fights to the bitter end.

      If she does, I think it’s proof of my skill as an armchair-psyichiatrist when I identifed the Clintons as pathologically narcissisistic.

      I don’t think her ego can support voluntary withdrawal.

      Comment by Captain D — Monday, June 2, 2024 @ 6:16 pm

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