And, it’s going to be easier than that, because there are about 100 delegates still to be elected (including 15 in OR, where the counting goes on to determine CD allocations). So, that means Obama needs only about 25% of all the unspoken for delegates.
Puerto Rico 55
South Dakota 15
There is also, btw, a “beauty contest” (non-binding Primary) in Idaho on May 27.
The elephant (you should pardon the expression!) in the room, of course, is the fate of the Florida and Michigan delegations. Obama is working to find a compromise that will give these states a voice at the Convention, without upsetting his applecart. Even here, the arithmetic does not work in Clinton’s favor, but the worry is that by dragging this out, the Party will be distracted from the real task at hand, which is to win the White House, not to settle all these internal disputes. In Florida, Clinton took about 50% of the (now discredited) vote, but Obama and Edwards combined took about 47%, so it’s hard to see how Clinton could pick up much of a pledged delegate margin there. My own guess is that the Party will award the Florida delegation a partial vote — there has to be some penalty for violating Party rules! but that the net result in any case will be little, if any, change in the delegate margin. At the most, Clinton might pick up 4 delegates here. There were also 25 superdelegates stripped of their voting rights.
Michigan is a bit more problematic, but not much. There, Clinton took about 55% of the vote, and “uncommitted” took 40% — this was
presumably the lever pulled by Obama and Edwards supporters, who were not on the ballot. Of course, what is not known is how many Democrats who might have voted for Obama or Edwards decided to vote in the Republican Primary instead. In any case, even giving Clinton 55% of the 128 delegates and Obama 40% would mean that she would pick up only 19 pledged delegates. There were originally supposed to be 28 superdelegates as well.
Bottom line: When the Primaries are done, Obama will probably hold a lead (combining “pledged” or elected delegates with “unpledged” or
superdelegates) of close to 200 delegates. Even if Clinton picks up 23 pledged delegates (according to my calculations above) and even in
the highly unlikely event she got ALL of the superdelegates (another 53), she would still fall short of a majority. I have to believe that
her campaign can do this arithmetic (and all of this is assuming FL and MI delegations are given FULL weight, which I consider highly unlikely!), so their only hope is that some of the superdelegates already announced for Obama will switch, and/or that she will somehow
win 75% of all the remaining unpledged delegates.
This is such a longshot (and the writing is on the wall, even if the top Clinton aides are looking the other way) that prediction markets,
such as Inkling, for example, are giving Clinton almost no chance of winning. According to that website’s “investors” (this is all paper money), Bob Barr has a better chance of becoming President than does Hillary Clinton:
Barack Obama 56.77%
John McCain 39.60%
Bob Barr 2.70%
Hillary Clinton 0.82%
Ralph Nader 0.09%
So, to all of you who have written me in distress over all of this, hang in there! Have patience! (Something I’m certainly not good at!).
We will have a winner soon, and his name will be Barack Obama. Then, we can get on with the task of uniting the Party and focusing on November 4 (still 166 days away!). Even if all of this drags on into the Convention (and we all hope it doesn’t), there will still be plenty of time to bring Democrats together in common cause. Take heart!
Also, with thanks to Bob Lichter for pointing this out: McCain has lost at least 6 key aides in the past few days, and there’s a lot of pressure on him to fire his campaign manager. Not that he is to be underestimated — he came back from the brink of extinction in the Primary process, and I’m sure he’ll regain his footing after this fiasco, but it does provide a stark contrast to the way Obama is running his campaign.
Berkshire County Coordinator, Obama for America