Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Is It Over For Hillary?

I think so, although on the bus home today I ran into a friend from my Dean campaign days who pointed out we shouldn't count Hillary out yet. At one point in the primaries in 2003 (early December, I think), Kerry was broke and had been mostly written off.

Still, playing out all the scenarios, her chances are slim. The Intrade prediction markets are currently showing her with just a 41% chance at the nomination, and I think this is too high. Here's why I think she's toast:

1) Her campaign's broke. Obama's campaign killed her on the fundraising in January--almost all through small-dollar money over the Internet. What's more, many of her donors have already given the maximum $2300 and can't give it any more, while all those people who chipped in $50 for the Obama campaign can be hit up for another $50. It came out today that she has already chipped in $5 million of her and Bill's money to the campaign, and the rumor is that she's going to dump in another $20 million. She and Bill aren't megarich--according to her financial reports they have between $10 and $50 million--so their money can only go so far. Plus, paying for her own campaign with their money makes her look desperate and plays into the line that she and Bill are running for a co-presidency. I think she realized this but decided she had no choice. They need the money for the expensive campaign they'll have to keep going through the last primary in June. Ads, staff, and travel in a whole slew of states costs money, and with a huge dollar advantage, Obama will crush her in every form of campaigning.

2) Obama will probably win all three states this Saturday. There are two caucus states--Washington and Nebraska--where Obama has a big advantage (he has won 7 out of 8 caucuses thus far). The only primary is in Louisiana, where voter demographics favor him. Ditto for the DC, Virginia, and Maryland primaries on Tuesday.

3) Superdelegates won't save her. Her hope now is that even if Obama wins a majority of pledged delegates (the ones picked in primaries and caucuses), she may still be able to win if she can pick up a large share of the superdelegates, who make up 20% of the total. However, it's extremely unlikely the superdelegates are going to go against the pledged delegates and pick Hillary. There would be a huge outcry among Obama supporters if they did so, which could split the party and spell disaster for November. Many of the superdelegates are elected officials themselves, and they wouldn't want to garner the wrath of Obama supporters for their own upcoming re-election bids.

4) Florida and Michigan won't save her either. On this point, I need to do some further analysis to confirm my initial conclusions. But I think based on how the mechanics of how this would have to happen, she will probably not be able to get the Florida and Michigan delegates seated at the convention. I'll explain more tomorrow.

If it's close on the total delegates, Clinton might be able to bargain for the VP spot, or maybe for a Cabinet position, but I don't think she'd want one of those jobs. Again, a lot could still happen, but right now the forecast is definitely an Obama victory!

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