Monday, May 12, 2008

Clinton returns to 'popular-vote' rationale for stealing nomination

Anybody entertaining the delusion that Hillary Clinton plans to withdraw from the presidential race - ever - needs to wise up. She has no intention of ceasing her efforts to steal the prize that she could not win.

With her anticipated win in Tuesday's West Virginia primary, Clinton is reaching back to one of her old new rationales for trying to convince superdelegates to take the nomination from Barack Obama and give it to her.

Über Clinton flack Terry McAuliffe says victories in WV and in Kentucky will put her "within striking distance" of a popular-vote lead over Obama, and that it is "a key part of our plan to win the nomination."

"That means we need every last vote we can get in West Virginia on Tuesday and in the races to follow."

Her campaign is trying to turn out the vote in the remaining six contests, hoping the popular vote argument will persuade superdelegates to endorse her instead of Obama.
This argument does not make any kind of sense. The Democratic Party does not keep score in the nomination contest by popular vote. It does so by delegate count. Obama has won more delegates, more states, and so far more votes than Clinton has. But even if she overtakes him in the popular vote, he will still be ahead by the only measure that counts - delegates.

Clinton's position that a popular vote lead should cause superdelegates to hand her the nomination makes no sense in the context of the primary campaign, or in the general election. If the presidential election were decided by popular vote, we would be near the end of Al Gore's second term in the White House. But it isn't.

The presidential election is decided by electoral votes, of which every state has a certain amount based on its population. This was the crux of one of Clinton's other non-sensical rationales for a superdelegate coup - that if Obama couldn't win the "big states" in the primaries, he couldn't win them in the general election, and would lose to McCain in November.

But does anybody think that because Obama lost California to Clinton in the primaries, that he will necessarily lose it to McCain in the general election? That does not follow.

Nor does it follow that winning Democratic primaries in West Virginia and Kentucky means that Hillary Clinton will beat McCain in those states in November.

Clinton's entire rationale for her candidacy has dissolved into a morass of contradictory non sequiturs.

And all of it is in the pursuit of a coup by superdelegates whom she hopes will, ironically, overturn the will of the voters to give the nomination to her instead of to the candidate who won it.

This is getting embarrassing.

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